The Board of Trustees met last Monday, October 24, 2022, at 5:15 PM. The monthly meeting was held in the boardroom of the Curtis A. Sidden Administrative Building at 1348 Griffin Mill Road, Easley, SC.
It’s important to note that under the Board leadership, SDPC went from being a failing school system with towns on the verge of losing their school accreditation, to being one of the top 2 districts in the state.
Board Chair Mrs. Bagley gave some wonderful visionary remarks at the end of this meeting on how we can continue to improve as a district.
She urged the districts to expand the early childhood education program, introduce a robust foreign language program in elementary schools, become more innovative with different delivery methods for instruction, and embrace a new paradigm for South Carolina graduates. This new profile puts the focus on activities that empower students to think critically, problem-solve, know how to communicate, and how to collaborate.
Citizens react to recent book bans
This meeting was full of Pickens County residents and parents condemning the two recent book bans in the district schools. The two books that were banned were The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. We’ve quoted several of the speakers below in the meeting notes.
All board meetings are open to the public. Local residents, especially those with children attending school in the Pickens County district, are encouraged to attend. It’s a good way to get to know other parents, teachers, and board members who share your values and educational goals for your child.
If you cannot attend the meeting in person, you can watch live and past meetings on the SDPC Youtube Channel.
Below is the stream of October’s meeting:
Upcoming School Board Meetings
The Board usually meets on the 4th Monday of each month, taking a break in December for the holidays.
While it is subject to change, the meeting schedule through the end of the school year is:
- November 28, 2022
- January 23, 2023
- February 27, 2023
- March 27, 2023
- April 24, 2023
- May 22, 2023
- June 26, 2023
- District 1 (Clemson): Mrs. Betty Bagley, Chair of the Board, Term expires 2024
- District 2 (Central/ Six Mile): Mr. Phillip Bowers, Term expires 2024
- District 3 (Pickens): Mr. Shannon Haskett, Term expires 2024
- District 4 (Liberty): Dr. Brian Swords, Term expires 2022
- District 5 (Easley): Mrs. Betty Garrison, Term expires 2024
- District 6 (Easley/Crosswell): Mrs. Karla Kelley, Vice-Chair of the Board, Term expires 2022
- District 7 (Dacusville/Pumpkintown/Pickens) Ms. Amy Williams, Term expires 2022
Meeting Video, Agenda, and Minutes
The meeting agenda is available online at least 24 hours before every meeting. All the SDPC meeting agendas and minutes are available online HERE dating back to 2010. When you choose the year and the month of interest, double-click on the PRINT THE AGENDA icon. Then, you’ll find the attached documents under the Detailed Agenda tab.
The minutes and other presented documents are embedded into the detailed agenda, and you can click on them to read them. The meeting minutes for each month are approved and included at the following month’s meeting. For example, the Board Minutes for September 26, 2022, were published in the detailed agenda of the October Meeting.
October Meeting Video
Here are the timestamps corresponding with the School Board agenda:
- Board Committee of the Whole Meeting- 5:15 p.m.
- 00:57 Information: Plan for school network infrastructure upgrades.
- 11:15 Information: Policy IJR (deals with the district approval of instructional resources) feedback and recommendations about the process of challenging instructional materials in the SDPC.
- Board Meeting: Call to Order- 6:00 p.m.
- 43:07 Call to Order- Mrs. Betty Bagley, Chair
- 43:35 Presentation: Celebrations of Success- Mr. Josh Young
- 43:44 SC Manager of the Year Award, given by Student Nutrition Association of South Carolina to Miss Lisa Hayes
- 45:30 Four Schools that received overall EXCELLENT rating: R.C. Edwards Middle School, Dacusville Middle School, D.W. Daniel High School, Clemson Elementary School.
- 50:48 Recognition of Accomplishment to Board member Mr. Phillip Bowers.
- 53:08 Presentation: Annual Audit Report- Mr. Larry Finney. Issued “unmodified opinion”; all balances are correct and district is in good financial condition.
- 01:10:44 Presentation: SDPC Report Card Overview- Mrs. Shannon Sharkey. First time schools received ratings since 2019. The high school test scores are from students that started 9th grade in 2019. The elementary and middle school test scores are from the previous year.
- 1:18:55 Public Input
- All the speakers condemned the recent book bans. We will be covering and quoting individual speakers in a follow-up article that we will link to from here.
- 02:06:10 Opening of the Public Meeting
- 02:06:19 Changes and Approval of the Agenda-Mrs. Betty Bagley, Chair
- Motion to postpone Action Item 6G to remove the action item for Instructional Resources and Materials. (Motion to not discuss other books under consideration for bans in this session)
- Motion by Karla Kelley, second by Brian Swords.
- Final Resolution: Motion Carried
- In Favor: Betty Bagley, Phillip Bowers, Betty Garrison, Shannon Haskett, Brian Swords, Karla Kelley, Amy Williams
- 02:08:48 Action 1: Approval of the FY22-23 General Fund Budget Amendment #1 – 2nd Reading – Mr. Matt Owens
- 02:11:24 Action 2: Approval of the Capital Improvement Plan- Mr. Matt Owens
- 02:32:34 Mr. Bowers brought up the General Fund balance which was around $40 million at the end of June 30th, 2022, and asked if they had enough to lower taxes.
- 02:41:45 Action 3: Disposal of Surplus Items- Mr. Matt Owens
- 02:45:59 Action 4: IJ-R Policy Revision- 1st Reading- Dr. Seth Young
- 02:47:51 Action 5: Section G Policy Code Updates -2nd Reading- Dr. Seth Young
- 02:49:12 Future Business: Mrs. Bagley- Review the public input policy(?), Ms. Williams- Progress of the letters program and the 3 schools leveraging that.
- 02:49:55 Comments: Dr. Danny Merck, Superintendent- the “3 cheers”. Lots of accolades for Mr. Bowers from Dr. Merck and all the Board members. It was his last Board Meeting. Mrs. Bagley had some visionary closing remarks on how we can continue improving our educational system.
- 3:14:20 Motion to adjourn into executive session for the purpose of the following: Personnel Matters (Leaves/Hires/Separations), Personnel Matters (School Effectiveness), Property Matters (Purchases/Sales/Leases), Contractual Matters, School Safety and Legal Matters.