Board OK’s Trips, Tables Education Foundation

WINNSBORO (Nov. 3, 2016) – When the Fairfield County School Board was asked last week to once again approve out-of-state and overnight student trips, Board member William Frick (District 6), got right to the point.

“As we typically have, just to clarify, are we approving trips listed or are we approving a trip to be funded?” Frick asked.

“The Board has a policy that it must approve all overnight and out-of-state trips,” Superintendent Dr. J.R. Green said. “So what we are asking the Board to do is just approve the trips and not necessarily to provide any funding. This does not imply any request to the Board to approve any funding.”

Green said, however, that the money for some trips would be raised by students and funds for other trips are already approved as part of the individual schools’ budgets. Of the 14 trips approved by the Board, trips that students would have to raise their own funds for included:

• A trip for the high school marching band to Ahoskie, N.C., for a band competition, with a projected cost of $3,700 or $25 per student;

• A trip to the Bahamas for the District Honors and Fairfield Middle School choruses to perform on Carnival’s “Rock the Boat Cruise,” with a total projected cost of $18,150 or $605 per student;

• A science trip for Fairfield Magnet School of Math and Science fifth- and sixth-grade students to John’s Island, with a projected cost of $6,800 or about $50 per student.

The trips already funded though the individual school budgets, at a zero cost to the students, included a trip to Asheville, N.C., for the elementary Gifted & Talented program, and annual Junior Beta Club trips to Myrtle Beach for the four elementary schools and Fairfield Middle School.

The trips were approved 5-1 with Board member Paula Hartman (District 2) opposed. The Rev. Carl Jackson Jr., (District 5), was not present.

Education Foundation Tabled

Green also asked the Board to approve moving forward to establish a non-profit educational foundation for the District’s schools. Green said he had some conversations with financial institutions concerning his teacher housing proposal, and those institutions said a non-profit foundation would benefit the housing initiative. He also noted that all the districts surrounding Fairfield already have a non-profit educational foundation.

“It puts us in a better position to go forward with the housing initiative, but even outside of the housing initiative, it gives us the ability to receive donations from donors and individuals in the community who can receive a tax advantage,” Green said.

“What does ‘move forward’ mean?” Frick asked. “(Does it mean) we explore before we agree to this, or does it mean it’s going to happen?

“‘Moving forward’ means I will ask the attorneys to file the paperwork to establish the foundation,” Green said.

Frick said he was a little hesitant to agree to a foundation right now when he did not have a lot of experience with it.

“I would like the opportunity to explore this a little bit . . . and then we could move forward with it in November once the Board has more information,” Frick said.

The Board agreed 6-0 to table the matter.

Student Records Policy

The Board gave a second and final reading to revisions of the Student Records policy and administrative rule to define which should be designated for the District’s directory information (information that can be given out without a parent’s release) and which information would require a parent’s release.

Green said he wanted to clarify why the policy revision was made. He said it was because technology has changed so much that when information is subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), anyone can file an FOIA request and get that information.

The motion to approve the amended policy was approved 6-0.

Change in School Calendar

Green asked the Board to approve changes in the academic calendar to make up the three days the county schools were closed during Hurricane Matthew. The make-up days will be Oct. 21, 2016 and Jan. 3 and Feb. 20, 2017.

Next week: Board votes to move a $2.2 million surplus from last fiscal year into Capital Projects account.