School District dealing with aftermath of ice storms

  • Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It’s too early to put a dollar amount on damage to School District property from the most recent ice storm, according to a report given to the Georgetown County School Board last week.

Dr. Randy Dozier, superintendent of schools, said there would be “pretty extensive cleanup costs.”

One bright spot in the report, the district did not lose a lot of food at schools that went for an extended time without power, according to Lisa Johnson, the district’s associate superintendent for Finance and Operations. School staff removed much of the food from schools without power and moved it to schools with power.

Johnson said the district would provide the board with overtime and cleanup costs.

The ice storm hit Feb. 12, and on Feb. 13, 11 schools were without power. By the afternoon of Feb. 14, most of the schools were back online.

Although the district made up one missed day on Feb. 18, officials are struggling to make up the days missed from two ice storms in two weeks.

Dozier said kids will be in school on March 21, which was scheduled to be a teachers work day. June 5 and 6 are being converted from half days to full days, although that does not help with making up instruction times.

“My concern is that it really doesn’t help academically,” Dozier said.

School Board chairman Jim Dumm wondered if in the future, the district should consider keeping some schools open and only closing those affected by bad weather, or the loss of power after a storm. Horry County has done that in the past.

Dozier said there are lots of Georgetown County students who live in one area but choose to attend a different school, and school staff who live in a different area than where they work. It would very stressful for them to leave their homes that were affected by a storm, and go to a school in an area which was not.

“Those days are not very productive,” he said.

Dozier is meeting with principals this week to come up with alternate solutions. Suggestions include: school on Saturdays, extended school days, or doing away with assemblies or other programs in favor of more instruction time.

In other business

Several of the district’s elementary school principals gave program and personnel wish lists to the School Board.

More time from curriculum and technology coaches topped several wish lists.

The district’s current technology coach splits his time between nine schools.

Maryville Elementary principal Stephanie Stuckey would like to see the coach come to her school more often to work with her teachers.

“We need to make sure our teachers are prepared to prepare our students,” she said.

Kensignton Elementary principal Fedrick Cohens also wants a person to train his teachers on new technology. He’d also like his own curriculum coach. Kensington currently shares one with Waccamaw Intermediate.

Pleasant Hill Elementary principal Teddy Graham would like his own full-time assistant administrator. He currently shares one with Plantersville Elementary.

“I need some help,” he told School Board members.

Plantersville Elementary principal Beverly Grate said she needs help with unruly students on one of school’s bus routes. It’s so bad she need a person to handle the paperwork and help deal with parents.

She said most of the kids who are causing problems on the bus do not cause problems when they’re in the school.

“Something happens when children get on the bus in the afternoons,” she said. “When we’re not around kids do change.”

The problems are occurring on the same bus route every year.

Dozier suggested not allowing kids who cause problems to ride the bus.

Dumm suggested more parental involvement.

“Somewhere along the line we need to make the parents accountable,” he said.

The next School Board meeting will be March 4 at 5:30 p.m. at the Beck Administration and Education Center on Church Street in Georgetown.

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