Last updated: May 23. 2014 6:58AM - 542 Views
By Kevin Boozer kboozer@civitasmedia.com

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NEWBERRY — At Monday night’s board meeting Assistant Superintendent for Operations Jim Suber updated the board on Phase II construction at the Career Center.

He said clean-up is underway and items are being moved into storage in preparation for a construction project beginning May 27. A walk through was conducted to identify equipment that needed to be moved.

With an Oct. 1 projected completion date the three phase project extends into the following school year. Fire training areas and cosmetology areas will be completed before the school year begins.

Suber thanked administrators for the team effort and professionalism they are showing while a project is ongoing affecting three campuses at the start of a school year. The project poses logistical challenges and the transportation and bus schedule is being altered accordingly.

Board member Lee Attaway asked about contractors understanding their time line had no variance and Suber assured him they were reminded of that weekly.

“Some subcontracting work is already underway,” Suber said. “And the contractors plan to work through the Memorial Day holiday.”

Joshua Waters said the crew is working on getting ground broken for an agriculture class. He hoped an irrigation phase and a cover crop could be put into place in the coming year to ready the land for eventual commercial produce.

It will be two more years before the PH levels could be increased to make the land habitable for crops, he said.

The loss of a Farm Bureau grant and the construction project delays mean asparagus planting is pushed back an additional year as well.

David was concerned construction would delay tilling and preparing of fields for another year.

“We know what career and technology education means. This is truly an opportunity for students to explore (careers in a hands-on setting) but we (lost instructional time) due to construction,” he said.

Waters said the career center helps put students to work and back to work in this community as productive citizens.

“We receive little money from the Federal government. The director works hard and the community supports us,” he said.

Attaway concurred, noting the momentum students had built up over the years of selling well-regarded produce.

Board Chair Jody Ham said there were weather-related and contractor-related delays in the project.

Superintendent Bennie Bennett said it is the district’s intent to eventually put that program back in place and that the district may look at the fund balance as means to do so.

Also in the meeting district CFO Susan Dowd gave a breakdown of revenue summary and proposed expenditures under the current draft of the 2014-15 budget.

Total revenue from all sources was $47,309,667, an increase of $2,797,266 over the previous year.

Projected expenditure increases included:

• $350,000 for seven additional certified positions based upon classroom enrollment with 1.5 of those positions paid by Title I funds

• $40,000 for one additional computer technician

• $70,000 for a technology coach

• $50,000 for STEM

• $84,000 for a match for six reading coaches under Governor Haley’s initiative

• $75,000 administration expense change due to lost of a Sig funded position at Newberry High

• $150,000 for moving 1.5 certified positions from Medicaid funding to the general fund

• $50,000 from a net change of two classroom positions

• $100,000 estimated increase in health insurance

• $75,000 estimated increase in retirement expense

• $70,000 continuation of STEM program

• $562,109 technology increase

Dowd also reported projected expenditure increases in technology of $41,950 in repairs and maintenance; $285,859 in wireless overlay paid with funds from the Governor’s initiative; $243,300 is mobile devices for students in grades 5-12.

Step pay increases amount to $350,000 for teachers; $80,000 for classified employees; $65,000 building level administration; and $20,000 for district level administration

Those figures will be discussed further at the next public hearing on the budget on June 9.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is June 23.

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