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BOT Meeting Highlights February 2017

February 27, 2017

2017-18 Academic Calendar

The Board of Trustees approved a recommendation to post all three 2017-18 Academic Calendar options on the district’s website as information only; the survey is complete.

The Board cannot approve an option until the governor signs the bill from the state legislature that gives school districts a one-year exemption to start on August 17 (before the third Monday of August) this year. The bill passed the General Assembly on February 23.

Once the governor signs the bill, the Board will be able to give final approval for the 2017-18 Academic Calendar, most likely option 3 based on the outcome of the survey. The calendar will be up for final approval as early as March 13 (the next Committee of the Whole meeting).

CCSD Orchestra Plan

The Board of Trustees is considering a plan from Learning Services that would maintain the current level of strings offerings to students around the district, and increase the number of students that could receive instruction in strings during the 2017-18 school year.
The district is requesting that middle and high school students still be presented with the opportunity to participate in Orchestra, and expand to fifth grade for next year. For this to happen, the district is recommending the addition of four more teachers for 2017-18 at a cost of $295,780. This would bring the total cost of the district’s Strings/Orchestra program to $831,204.

For the 2018-2019 school year, the district would like to add four more strings instructors (to serve in multiple schools) to serve the district’s fifth through twelfth-grade students. Arts magnet schools already have strings available for their students.
The Board will also receive a report on March 13 that will list all the types of music programs offered at each school around the district.

Alternative Programs Plan

By a 7-1-1 vote, the Board of Trustees approved a plan to expand the support the Department of Alternative Programs and Services can provide to schools and students throughout the district.

Three Turning Point Academies will be established in North Charleston and West Ashley starting in April, and will run through the end of the current academic calendar. The program would cost around $200,000 for the remainder of the school year.

If the program is determined to be successful, it will be adopted for the entire 2017-18 school year.

Additional support and intervention will continue to be provided for students, schools, and families throughout the district. The current alternative programs will be maintained.

Financial Update

The superintendent presented a balanced budget to the Board for the 2018 Fiscal Year. Some of the highlights for revenues are:

-Two Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts are expiring next year (Mount Pleasant and Waterfront Park) for an amount of $10.6 million.

-Charleston County’s growth (assessed value of the property in the county) of $10 million is expected for next year.

-CCSD hopes to Increase the millage (tax rate) on property taxes by 2.9 mills, which will equal $6.8 million. The Board of Trustees has to approve that increase.

-The Index of Taxpaying Ability has dropped slightly which increases our Education Finance Act (EFA) funding by $3.2 million. The EFA determines how much money the district receives from the state based on the number of students we serve.

The district is continuing to work with the County Auditor and Treasurer. Growth estimates for the tax base at the county level is nearly 5%, but CCSD will continue to be conservative, and and use a projected growth rate of 3.25%. The district did estimate an increase of 1,405 students for the 2016-17 school year, but the actual increase was only around 300. This reduced our EFA funding by $2 million.

The district’s Finance Division is "holding the line" on the current 2016-17 budget by not allowing departments and schools to exceed their budgets. Expenditures are expected to come in under budget by at least $3 to $4 million. The Board of Trustees budgeted a $5 million dollar surplus for 2016-17, so any additional savings will add to that surplus.

Jane Edwards School Plan

Charleston County School District administration has worked with the Friends of Jane Edwards over the past several months to improve all aspects of the educational opportunities for the students on Edisto Island.

In January 2017, members of the Friends of Jane Edwards made the request on behalf of the school community to allow the current fifth grade students attending Jane Edwards Elementary School to remain there for sixth grade in the 2017-18 academic year.

Currently, there are 11 students in fifth grade at Jane Edwards. After consulting with Vanessa Brown, the principal at Baptist Hill Middle High School, it was determined that there would not be a negative Impact on her school if these students remained at Jane Edwards next year.

If the parents of these students would like to attend Baptist Hill Middle High School, they will be allowed to do so, and transportation will be provided.

The Board of Trustees approved this plan with a 7-1 vote.

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