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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"What We Want For All Children......"

Last night's October business meeting for the Rock Hill School Board was a time of reflection and recognition as we made note of chairman Bob Norwood's last board meeting (He is not running for reelection after 16 years). During his tenure, the board has  faced  more situations than a typical board would face and the school district has been changed as a result. During one of the events when we were getting a lot of feedback (we were raping the district and frying the children - you had to be there), Bob justified his position by saying, "What we want for all children, is the same thing we desire for our own children". This statement has stuck with me. What a wonderful statement and one every board member should think about when making decisions affecting students.

To help celebrate the event, Bob's family, past board members, and superintendents made comments.

Board memeber Ann Reid was unable to attend the meeting. The board took the following action:

  • Approved the consent agenda of past minutes, personnel recommendations, and monthly rental agreements with a 6-0 vote.
  • Approved a bus fee waiver for the YMCA and Emmett Scott Center. The administration could not find documentation that those organizations had been notified of the increased charges and the organizations did not have the funds to pay the bill after the summer programs had been closed out. The vote was 5-1 (with Brown against) to reduce the charges by about $25,000. The administration reported they have change the process for bus rental so charges are listed in the rental agreement. The final charges will be based on the rate the two organizations were charged during the summer of 2011.
  • Approved changes to policy BEDB for final reading by a 4-2 vote (Moe and Sharp against). Changes were recommended by the South Carolina School Board Association to comply with changes to the freedom of information law and severely limits the process for making meeting agenda changes at the meeting. The board also added a provision for the posted of board materials on the district web site.
  • Approved the revisions for first reading for the following policies: JJ, IHBH, GBEC, GCQE, GDQE, DM. Most of the changes were the result of recent legislation. All were approved with a 6-0 vote.
  • After an executive session, the board voted 6-0 to start proceedings to dismiss a contract employee for abandonment.
During the meeting, the board heard the following reports:
  • Sullivan Middle School 7th graders made a presentation on a water protect they are working on.
  • Joan Smith reported on our energy management success during the first 6 months of this year. Ms Smith will be leaving the district the end of the month. Savings implemented during her 18 month tenure now add up to $1.5 million annually. The district will be looking for someone certified in energy management to replace her.
  • Jim Vining reported the Novermber board retreat (work session) will be November 29, 2 pm to 6 pm and November 30, 8 am to noon. Board members will be interviewed on November 12 to participate in building an agenda for the meeting. Location will be off of district property but within the district.
  • Keith Wilkes reported on efforts to improve school safety and the different ways students can be bullied today (internet social media sites). He reported that 70% of a sampling of elementary students reported having facebook accounts and that most of their parents were not aware of the accounts.
  • Dr. Luanne Kokolis reported  our student mobility was up this year (almost all free lunch students), how this affects learning and efforts the district was doing to combat this.

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