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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rock Hill School Board October Work Session Notes

These are my notes of a most unusual school board work session held at Saluda Trail Middle School on Monday, October 10, 2011. I have some comments on items presented which I'll post later in the week.

  • Saluda Trail Middle School made a presentation on the process for converting their school to a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) from a Middle Years IB school. They also had parents tell of their experience in the process and their participation with the school on two programs of mentoring.
  • Dr. Paul Krohne, Executive Director of the South Carolina School Board Association, and Scott Price, General Counsel of the Association, talked to the board in response to a letter the board sent complaining of our perceived performance of the board. These points were made by Dr. Krohne; the SCSBA is more than meetings. It does training, policy development, legislative support and has the liability insurance for most of the school districts. Meetings are held at the coast for two reasons; board members overwhelmingly request either Charleston, Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head as the favored location and hotels in those areas give the SCSBA a better and cheaper package. When they moved a meeting from the beach to Greenville, they lost half the participants - and at the end of the day, it is important to reach the most people. They are moving a lot of the training online and will do training in the area. It was suggested that the area school boards should work together on this. (The Rock Hill School Board has not attended meetings/conferences on the coast since revenue has been a concern)
  • The administration Presented two versions for additional compensation:
Option One: Recommended by Administration
A. 1.5% Increase to all support and Administrative Personnel Below the Highest Pay Band
B. $500 Bonus to all Teachers and Employees not Eligible for the increase (at highest pay band or step)

Advantages; Equitable to Teacher Increases; Compensates all Employees in some way; greater overall benefit to employees; more competitive with neighboring districts; fosters retention of employees.

Option Two:
A. $500 Bonus to all Support and Administrative Staff
B. $500 Bonus for all Teachers Not Eligible for Step Increase.

Advantages; compensates all employees in some way; no obligation to sustain in future years.
  • Examples of the School District Dashboard were presented (feedback was more work was needed)

  • The district presented Priorities for developing the calendar this year. Elaine Baker will make the first attempt at a calendar and then present to a committee with parents and a couple of high school students. These are the priorities: 
  1. The first week of school for students will be three days only
  2. Teacher workdays will follow grading periods (when possible)
  3. There will be a district-wide staff development day, if feasible
  4. Will designate the same full week each year for "spring break" that falls approximately halfway through the second semester.
  5. Thanksgiving holidays will be Wednesday through Friday
  6. Bad weather make-up days will be at the end of the year instead of holidays
  7. Will try to end the first semester before the winter break, but if this cannot be done, the first semester will go at least two weeks into the new year.
  8. End of Course exams will be given either before winter break or after two weeks of the new year.
  9. High School Assessment Program (HSAP) will be given at least two weeks after spring break
  10. One or more teacher workdays between first and second semesters
  11. Six Late-Start Days throughout the year
  12. Consider the district Key Testing Date Information.
  • Board member Jane Sharp asked the board to consider changing the outline for school presentations to include 15 minutes for what the schools are doing to reach their academic goals. This would show the boards role in putting importance to academics and accountability
  • Board member Jim Vining gave an overview of the efforts so far on the board's outreach program.
  • The board gave lip service approval for the following policies to be voted on at the business meeting; EBBA;JLCC;JICFAA;ADB;ADC;JICG; and BCB
  • The administration is preparing to go out for bids on a possible food service outsource contract. They got consent approval to include a provision that all employees would remain in the district for 5 years after the contract signing. The administration reported that this was not a problem for the companies and is common with a lot of school district conversions.
  • The administration asked that board members submit items for consideration at board meetings about 10 days in advance of the meeting
  • The superintendent requested  board members not visit the schools for the next month and then, limit time to no more than 30 minutes.

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