UNION COUNTY — The decision to have schools operate on their regular schedules despite single digit temperatures and lower thermostats in the schools to conserve energy was a topic of discussion at Monday’s school board meeting.
A cold air mass pulled down from Canada settled in over the Upstate early last week causing temperatures to plunge below freezing Monday afternoon and remain there until Wednesday. By the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 7, temperatures had fallen to 7 degrees and many school districts in the Upstate operated on a delayed schedule.
The Union County School District, however, operated on its regular schedule as the district administration concluded that any delay in hopes the weather would warm later in the day would be futile as temperatures were forecast to remain well below freezing. The district also lowered thermostats to 65 degrees in the schools to conserve energy in the face of what was expected to be increased demand on the City of Union electrical system.
The cold weather decisions for Jan. 7 were discussed by Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall and the members of the Union County Board of School Trustees at the beginning of Monday night’s meeting. Woodall said the heat was kept running all night, and the lowest reported temperature in a classroom on Jan. 7 was 67 degrees.
Trustee Jantzen Childers said he visited Union County High School on Jan. 7. He visited a particular classroom that he said had been reported as “always freezing.” Childers said he was in the classroom for 20 minutes to record the temperature, and it remained at 67 degrees. He recorded the temperature in the hallway, which was 64 degrees.
Director of Secondary Education Cindy Langley also discussed 2013 college enrollment for Union County students. Langley said the report is one of the things that can be used to review the success of students in the district.
Overall, 60 percent of students had enrolled in either a two-year or four-year institution. That number is down from 70 percent in 2012 and 7 percent in 2011. Of that 60 percent, 51 percent will attend a public institution.
“We do believe our partnership with USC Union and Spartanburg Community College impacts those students going to two- and four-year institutions,” Langley said, indicating the largest percentage of students who are going to two- or four-year institutions will attend USC Union.
Langley also said the guidance office at UCHS includes a display board,on which students may write their names and colleges of their choosing as they select their colleges. She said this is one way of encouraging interest in college enrollment.
Monday’s meeting also included a discussion led by district finance officer Lynn Lawson about district facilities.
Look for more information about Monday night’s meeting in Wednesday’s edition of The Union Daily Times, on www.uniondailytimes.com, and on The Union Daily Times’ Facebook page.