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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

#RHSD3 Teacher a Finalist for State Teacher of the Year

Displaying Jeannie Durham.JPG
Congratulations to Jeannie Durham, Rock Hill Schools Teacher of the Year, who was named this morning as one of five finalists for the South Carolina Teacher of the Year during a surprise visit by State Superintendent Molly Spearman and Rock Hill Superintendent Kelly Pew. This is the second consecutive year that a Rawlinson Road teacher has been named as a state finalist and the sixth year in the past seven years that a district teacher has been named a finalist. (Two teachers became the State Teacher of the Year.)

Jeannie is an 8th grade science teacher who’s in her 15th year of teaching. She’s been at Rawlinson Road for the past eight years. In her nomination for the state, Principal Jean Dickson stated: “It takes a special person to teach middle-school-age students, and yet Jeannie does it with such grace, style and finesse that she makes it look easy. Her students leave her classroom not only having learned the science curriculum but also knowing that she genuinely cares for and loves them.”

The State Teacher of the Year will be announced at a banquet in Columbia on April 22.

Friday, February 6, 2015

#RockHill s Senator Wes Hayes to Hold Town Hall Meeting #rhsd3

Rock Hill Senator Wes Hayes will hold a town hall meeting on Monday, February 16, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. at Glennon Community Center, 1508 Molokai Drive, Tega Cay, SC 29708.

Below are some issues you may have an interest in:

Highway Funding

  • How much comes in from the gas tax each year? About $450 million.
  • How much revenue is generated per penny of tax? The motor fuel tax generates about $30 million per year, per penny.
  • How much does South Carolina tax each gallon of fuel? It is 16.8 cents, which is 47th in the nation.
  • How does South Carolina compare to other states around the Southeast?

o Georgia: 28.5 cents
o North Carolina: 37.8 cents
o Florida: 35.5 cents
o Virginia: 19.9 cents
o Tennessee: 21.4 cents

  • How has inflation impacted the gas tax? If the tax had been adjusted for inflation since 1989, it would be 30 cents per gallon.
  • How much goes to highway funds from the car tax? Approximately $41 million per year. Act 98 (2013) redirected 50% of the General Fund portion of the sales tax on motor vehicles to the State Non-Federal Aid Highway Fund. (Used exclusively for highway, road, and bridge maintenance, construction, and repair)
  • What is the sales tax on vehicles? It is 5%, with a cap of $300. This means that once the cost of the car reaches $6,000, the purchaser will pay no additional sales tax.
  • Do we use General Fund revenue to pay for roads? If so, how much? In Fiscal Year 2012-13, the state appropriated only $57,270 to the SCDOT. Because of Act 98 (passed in 2013), $50 million is now appropriated annually to SCDOT. The DOT then transfers the $50 million in quarterly payments to the State Infrastructure Bank to be used to finance bridge replacement, rehabilitation projects, and expansion and improvements to existing interstates.
  • Does revenue from the motor fuel tax go into the General Fund? No--these funds are kept separate from the General Fund. 
  • Overall, how much is the state spending of its own money per year on roads? SCDOT uses the motor fuel revenue it collects (FY 2013-14: $453,920,812). Federal-Aid Eligible projects typically have an 80/20 match.
  • How much do we get from the federal government for roads each year, on average?
o FY2010-11 (Actual) $676,112,642;
o FY2011-12 (Actual) $845,540,985;
o FY2012-13 (Actual) $615,764,553;
o FY2013-14 (Estimate) $640,000,000.
  • This amount varies depending on the mix of projects that are done and whether they are eligible for the federal match.

**For detailed analysis of several funding options that have been discussed, please see
“Transportation Funding Issues 11-18-14” at:

K-12 Education
Based on the seventeen bills that deal with K-12 education that were prefiled in
December, the Senate will be looking at a wide range of topics this year, including
school calendars, further expansion of K-4, school transportation, special education
diplomas, and school district geographic boundaries.
Some of the other key K-12 initiatives and issues anticipated this session include:

  • Collaborating with the new Superintendent of Education, Molly Spearman, and new House Education and Public Works leadership.
  • Addressing the K-12 school funding (Abbeville) lawsuit.
  • Continuing the momentum for comprehensive, systemic approaches for improving student performance and outcomes (as was done with Read to Succeed in 2014).
  • Monitoring progress of the cyclical review of Math and ELA standards, mandated by Act 200 of 2014. Last year we replaced the Common Core with state standards.
  • Addressing recommendations from three special committees that began meeting after the end of the 2014 session:

  1. The Select Committee on Teachers, which I chaired, met five times and heard from a number of educators. It concluded with recommendations to address and improve teacher employment and dismissal, as well as the teacher pipeline and teacher pay. The S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office presentation on South Carolina teacher pay is available online at Select “South Carolina and Southeastern Average Teacher Salary 10-14-14.”
  2. The School Safety Task Force: I was honored to serve as Vice Chair of this committee, which met six times during the summer and fall. Its final report, along with a number of other documents that the committee received, is posted on the SC State House website. Of special note, NAMI was a very important partner and resource, and the committee was very grateful for the support of Joel Wier (Buddy) and Bill Lindsey.
  3. The First Steps Study Committee, which is in the process of reviewing this initiative, is looking at the governance and structure of First Steps. The Committee expects to make its recommendations by mid-March.

Friday, January 9, 2015

$100 Million Needed For Rock Hill Schools #rhschoolboard

The Rock Hill School Board Work Session this Monday will be long. You can find the information package for  employee climate, board communications, capital needs, and a first draft for next year's school calendar by clicking here. (   To find the recommendation to go to 1 to 1 computing at the high school level click here. (
Meeting agenda

Results from the November employee school climate report are also available in the meeting information package.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Prefiled SC Education Legislation #rhschoolboard

From Dr. Frank Morgan's Blog:

Prefiled Education Legislation

The 2015 Session of the South Carolina General Assembly begins next week.  Following is a summary of prefiled education legislation that will be considered:
S.45 – Would provide more flexibility for school district on the number of school days, subject to approval by the State Board of Education.
S.46 – Would permit local school boards to pay lump-sum bonuses to teachers for excellent performance. Bonuses would be capped at 20% of base salary and not be included in retirement benefit calculations.
S.49/S.50 – Would expand funding for 4K programs to more districts.
S.69 – Would permit the Governor to appoint the State Superintendent and establish qualifications for the office.
S.82 – Would require schools to have one hour of instruction on Veteran’s Day about the history and meaning of the holiday.
S.94 – Would prohibit school districts from issuing general obligation bonds for general operating expenses.
S.138 – Would provide legal immunity for a school employee or volunteer who intervenes on behalf of a student who is being bullied or harassed.
S.147 – Would require that a Special Education student who completes an IEP program to be awarded a diploma versus a certificate of attendance.
S.164/H3265 – Would require high school students to receive instruction in CPR.
S.224 – Would prohibit more than one school district within a county.
S.239 – Would require teachers and administrators to be paid at the Southeastern average.
H.3023 – Would require schools to provide instruction on the Second Amendment in December of each year.
H.3030 – Would require that an electrocardiogram test be part of the required athletic physical examination.
H.3075 – Would decrease the residence to school distance for required school bus transportation.
H.3094 – Would permit school employees to bring a civil action against a student who commits a criminal offense against the employee on school property.
H.3110 – Proposed an amendment to the SC Constitution that would add language requiring the General Assembly to provide a “high quality education for all children in the state.”
H.3205 – Would extend the deadline one year for the state to develop its own college and career ready standards.
H.3209/H.3240 – Would provide additional funding for K-12 from the lottery.
H.3221 – Would require Veteran’s Day to be a school holiday.
H.3222 – Would require the Department of Education to develop a model dating violence policy for districts to use to develop their own policy and also require the Department of Education to provide resources for training staff in this area.
H.3245 – Would create a “Public School Flexibility and Study Committee” that would study educational innovations that are promoting parity in educational opportunities.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rock Hill School News For December 17, 2014 #rhsd3

Congratulations to . . .
  • Cindy Koon, English teacher and newspaper advisor at South Pointe High School, whose print newspaper (SPiN, on twitter) students recently earned three first-place and two third-place awards (out of 10 categories) in the state-wide fall competition sponsored by the S. C. Scholastic Press Association.  
  • Alice Hinton, in Facilities Services Work Control, who has been invited by Schooldude to assist the Product Management Team with new Schooldude designs for the Maintenance Direct System.
  • Rock Hill High’s mascot, Rocky the Bearcat, who has been invited to perform in pre-game festivities at the 2015 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl in Orlando on January 1Jacob Strickland, who’s Rocky, is a senior who earned All-American status through the Universal Cheerleaders Assn. summer camp in Auburn, Alabama, this past July. He is also the son of Rebecca (Becky) Strickland, instructional coach at Castle Heights.

 Breakfast with Santa
The PTO at Sunset Park Elementary School will host “Breakfast with Santa” this Saturday, Dec. 20, between 8:00-10:00 at Fatz CafĂ© on Herlong Avenue. The cost will be $7/adults and $4/child. There’s a rumor that Santa may bring Mrs. Claus this year, so this would also be a great photo opportunity!  

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