R2 issues $11 million in bonds

The Richland 2 School Board meeting was held at Polo Road Elementary Tuesday night. Board member Barbara Specter was out of town on business.

Thirty-five teachers received recognition for their National Board Certification. Forty-four received 10-year renewal certification.

The Board voted 6-0 to approve the District’s new Mission Statement: “In partnership with our community, Richland School District Two prepares all students for success by providing meaningful, challenging and engaging learning experiences.”

Also approved was the issuance of $11 million of general obligation bonds to fund the Budget for Capital Improvements for the 2013-2014 year that will be paid for by the 8 percent Bond Fund. This is a fund that has the ability to issue bonds based on the collateral owed by the district. April Lucas, an attorney with Nexsen Pruet, told the Board that “it is a good time to issue bonds, as the rate for tax-exempt bonds is expected to go up later in the year.”

District Policy revisions were presented for information purposes with votes to be taken at the next Board meeting:

Policy JIJC – This involved middle schools requesting to be included in the new expanded use of cell phones that was recently granted high schools. Schools individually determine when and where cell phones can be used on their campuses. High schoolers are given permission to use cell phones in class for classwork when deemed appropriate by teachers. Mueller Road principal Lori Moreno told the Board that safety was her community’s biggest concern in wanting cell phones to be used on her campus. Board Chairman Bill Fleming and member Chip Jackson expressed concern over internet safety and difficulty in monitoring sites being accessed via a cell phone.

Policies JJ-R and JJ-E would put the district in compliance with state law that provides opportunities for charter school students and homeschooled students to participate in after-school programs like athletics, chorus and band.

The Office of Accountability, Assessment and Evaluation formed a committee last fall to study the issue of transiency – students that move in and out of the District. Transient studies were divided into three groups: military families, immigrant families and families deeply impacted by poverty. The research cited by the board was outdated – having been published more than 10 years ago. Board member Melinda Anderson, who has been instrumental in hiring 19 full-time social workers in the District, said she will continue her advocacy of a social worker in every school to assist transient students.

The meeting ended on a celebratory note when the parent of three children in three different district schools spoke earnestly about the merits of giving do-overs to children who were struggling. He introduced his son who had found academic and personal success at Blythewood Academy. The high school son personally thanked Board members for their tough love.

The next Board meeting will be at Bookman Elementary, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m.