School Board approves Convocation Center for graduations

August 31, 2018

The Aiken County School Board approved Tuesday using USC Aiken’s Convocation Center for graduation ceremonies for the Aiken County Public School District’s seven high schools.

The commencement exercises will be June 6-7, 2019.

The cost to rent the Convocation Center for two days is approximately $15,000, according to an attachment to the Board’s meeting agenda. The district will continue to seek donations to help cover the cost and has $17,000 in its budget to pay the rental fee if needed.

The Board approved a change order for a credit of $20,000 in unused allowances for floor and ceiling restorations at Jefferson Elementary, LBC Middle School and Silver Bluff High.

The Board approved on second and final reading several policies for district support and professional staff.

The Board approved changes to the district’s resignation policy for support staff. The change clarifies the expectation of a two-week notice and allows the district the discretion to waive that requirement. The district salary committee recommended that length of service be used as a consideration in determining the waiver of the two-week notice.

The Board approved changes to the district’s policy for the evaluation of support staff.

The approved policy changes the deadline for completing support staff evaluations from May 1 to March 31 each year. The new deadline will allow re-employment decisions to be made for support staff at the same time those decisions are made for certified staff members.

The Board also approved changes to the district’s policy for professional staff contracts and compensation. The change clarifies Board approval of contracts and changes the language concerning written notification of re-employment of teachers from “by April 15” to “on or before April 30.”

During public participation, a grandfather of students at Clearwater Elementary spoke about maintenance and groundskeeping issues at the school.

He cited grass that had not been cut the day before school started on Aug. 20, tall weeds, rotted windows and fascia boards, missing shingles on outbuildings and electrical wiring that might not be to code.

“I have never in my 68 years of living seen a school in such bad shape at Clearwater Elementary School,” he said. “It’s unhealthy for the kids. It’s unhealthy for the teachers. I’m aggravated that the school system would allow a school for these kids to get in that condition. I think something should be done, and it should be a top priority for these students and these teachers. The school should have never opened with the building looking like that.”

Board Chairman Levi Green asked the speaker to forward photographs of the issues he described, and Board member Wesley Hightower told him he would meet him at Clearwater Elementary by the end of this week to look at conditions.

“Thank you for your input, and I’ll follow up on it,” Hightower said.

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