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School Board Connection

A Summary of the Action Taken at the April 11, 2024 – Florence 1 Schools Board of Trustees Meeting

Members Present:   S. Porter Stewart, Chairman, Trisha C. Caulder, Vice-Chairman, Kimrey-Ann Haughn, Secretary, Dr. Gloria Bracey,  Bryan Chapman, (virtual attendance), John Galloway, Davy Gregg,  E. J. McIver, and Barry Townsend.

Superintendent's Report

Florence 1 Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley presented Jeff Murrie (Farm to School Coordinator) and Dr. Erick Figueras (Director of Arts and Innovative Programs) for an overview of summer programs.  

Summer Enrichment Programs 2024   - A four-day summer enrichment program for students in grades 3 through 8 will be offered at the Farm at Florence 1 Schools.  Partners include Stirrup Hope Equine Facilitated Learning, Discovery Kitchen through Chartwells, DHEC, Clemson 4-H and MUSC’s Boeing Children’s Wellness Center.  
2024 Summer Arts camps will include middle school photography; middle;/high school pottery; middle/high school drawing; middle/high school steel drums; middle/high school recording studio; middle/high school theater; middle/high elementary school dance; beginning and intermediate strings; elementary rock band; beginning guitar and voice lessons.  Camps are available at no cost.  Florence 1 Schools Arts and Innovative Programs will also sponsor at trip to New York City this summer.  

Employee Recognition -Dr. O’ Malley thanked members of the Marketing Team for having received seven awards from the South Carolina Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association for the Florence 1 Schools magazine publication and production of Program Highlights videography.    
Dr. O’Malley also announced that Wilson High School teacher Laura Hofler has been named the 2024 South Carolina Bar’s Law Related Education Teacher of the Year.  

Advantage Academy Perkins Report - The report provides an overview of performance across secondary and postsecondary levels.   Among these indicators are graduation rate---met at 100% by the academy.  

Summer Maintenance Projects 2024 - There are over 75 projects this summer to be completed including preparation for new school openings; interior painting; ball field projects; paving projects, car-line upgrades at Lester and Dewey Carter; installation of air conditioning units, cafeteria upgrades at Wallace-Gregg and West Florence; air filter replacements and many others.  Additional projects will also take place over the course of the school year.  

State Risk Assessment Score – Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Laura Showe informed the Board of Trustees that Florence 1 Schools’ Risk Assessment Rating has improved over the last six years with a move from a rating of 27 (high-risk) to maintaining a score of 11 (low-risk) this year, with a score of 9 being the highest score.   The performance rating measures items related to fiscal compliance and financial stability.  
Procurement Audit – CFO Showe reported that there were no findings of non-compliant procurements during the fiscal year.  

Annual Reporting Compliance with Procurement Policy DJ - CFO Showe stated that here are 669 minority registered vendors listed with the district.  Florence 1 Schools conducted business with 68 of these businesses and met its goal of spending 10% with the minority related businesses in the amount of $7.1 million.  In other fiscal affairs, Florence 1 Schools spent $13.8 million in Florence County.   

 Action Items

The board of Trustees approved the following items: 

√    Financial statements minutes of the April meeting, personnel, field trips and Title I plans were approved by the Board.
√    Honors Frameworks at South Florence High for Piano Honors; Piano 2 Honors, Piano 3 Honors and Piano 4 received approval.
√    Honors Frameworks at all three high schools for Entrepreneurship Honors; Hospitality and Tourism Leve1, SCHSC; and Merchandising/Retail Level 1 SCHSC at Advantage Academy received approval.
√    West Florence High and Sneed Middle new furniture contract received approval. These school improvements are the beginning of a systematic approach to having all middle and high schools refurnished in two years.
√    Service Agreement with Defender Services, Incorporated for Armed Security Guards was approved.  It adds services to RN Beck CDC, the CDC at Woods Road, Adult Education
(McClenaghan) and West Florence at a cost of $124,000.
√    2024-2025 Budget, First Reading – Unlocking the Potential of Every Dollar - The General Fund Proposed Revenue Budget for 2024-2025 is $220.9 million, and the general operating millage will remain unchanged.  This is a $9.7 million or a 5.0% increase from the FY23-24 Budget (which includes a mandated 4% pay raise for teachers).  There will be a public hearing on the proposed 2024-2024 budget which will take place at a date and time to be announced. The board will hear second reading of the budget at its regular meeting in June.
√    Hazardous Bus Routes - Annually, in compliance with the SC Code of Laws, the SC Department of Education requires a report of the number routes within the mile and a half radius that are unsafe for transporting students. The routes in Florence 1 Schools have remained unchanged since 2023-2024.
√    Banking Services Recommendations – To ensure best services at competitive rates, Florence 1 Schools conducted an RFP for banking services.  The recommendation for the new banking contract with Citizens Bank was approved.
√    2024-2025 Extended Day Rates - A rate increase from $60 to $80 will be required for operation of the Extended Day Academy for next school year (2024-2025). DSS ABC vouchers will be accepted.
√    Memorandum of Agreement for Shared Services with Florence School District Two for 2024-2025 for maintenance of the property on the Timmonsville school campus at a $32,000 reimbursement rate received approval.                  

Awards & Recognition

A total of thirty-nine eighth grade students from John W. Moore, Sneed, Southside and Williams received recognition as 2024 South Carolina Junior Scholars for having scored 550 or above in reading and writing or 530 or above in mathematics on the PSAT.