Board Considers Funding U.K. Field Trip

WINNSBORO (March 2, 2017) – When the School Board approved a trip to England for eight STEM students at Fairfield Central High School last fall, Superintendent Dr. J.R. Green told Board members at the time that the students would be raising all the funds for the trip through fundraisers.

At Tuesday evening’s meeting, however, a parent’s group from the STEM school at FCHS told Board members during public comment time that the eight students had only been able to raise $22,000 and asked the Board to kick in another $13,000 for a total of $35,000 for the trip.

Asked by Chairwoman Beth Reid (District 7) what the cost is for each student, the parent spokesperson said it is $3,600 per student. The trip is scheduled for this summer. The parent told the Board that the trip is for educational purposes and would include visits to Stonehenge and other sites that would enhance the students’ enthusiasm for learning.

Henry Miller (District 3) said he applauded the students “for putting some skin in the game,” and said he thought the trip was worth the Board putting up the balance needed for the eight students.

“I’ll investigate some funding and get back to the Board with a recommendation,” Green told the parent group. But the spokesperson for the group said they had to have final payment in by March 1.

“That won’t work,” Annie McDaniel (District 4) said.

“Will we have enough time (to get the money approved) before March 1?” Miller asked.

Green said that was the first he had heard the payment was due on March 1.

“Let me see what I can work out. I’ll get back to the Board,” he said. “I’ll figure out the details and I assure you we’ll get it worked out.”

McDaniel suggested that there may have been students who wanted to take the trip from the beginning but didn’t have a way to raise funds.

“So now that we’re going to bridge the gap for these eight students, should we help those who wanted to go but did not think they could get funding?” McDaniel asked.

“Why some students chose not to go on the trip when the fund raising efforts began, I can’t speak as to what their motivations were,” Green said. “I think it would be problematic at this point in time to go back and find those students. If they have not raised money, then I don’t know how it will be received by the students who raised $22,000.”

“I think we need to find out if those other students didn’t participate because they didn’t have a way to raise funds. If these students thought they couldn’t raise the money and now we’re going to fund the rest of this money for these eight students, then why could we not do that for those (other) students? We paid for the chorus to go to Disney World how many times?” McDaniel asked.

“If those students don’t have passports, it might be too late to get them now,” the parent spokesperson added.

No decision was made about the funding, which was not on the agenda. Green did not say how or when he would get back to the Board about the issue.

Also on the Board’s agenda was a report that the District had spent $45,119.13 for 35 trips ‘over $600’ each for teacher training.