Monday evening’s meeting of the Union County Board of School Trustees began with a show of appreciation for a local group known as “Powerful Praying Parents.”
Group members Jackie Jeter and Barbara Byrd distributed candles to board members, and the candles remained lit at each board member’s seat throughout the meeting.
Byrd said the candles were a light of hope — hope for a beacon of light for the children, teachers, parents, schools and communities of Union County.
Also recognized at the meeting were the principals of five local schools for outstanding performances during 2011-2012 PASS testing. The five schools included Jonesville Elementary/Middle School, Monarch Elementary School, Buffalo Elementary School, Foster Park Elementary School and Lockhart School.
In other business, the board approved a personnel report with the following new hires for the district:
- Donna Berry — District Office — administrative
- Judy Gallman — District Office — accounting specialist
- Bridgett Gregory — Foster Park Elementary — Save the Children after-school program
- Sarah Arnold — Foster Park Elementary — third grade teacher
Director of Secondary Education Cindy Langley provided an update on the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act)/Federal accountability scores.
Langley also requested board approval for a new elective class to be offered at UCHS. The class — Musical Drama — is designed to go hand-in-hand with the school’s current theatre program led by longtime UCHS teacher Ralph Lawson. Langley pointed out that Lawson currently has too many students and the new class would accommodate some of those. The class was unanimously approved by the board.
The final order of business included the board’s approval of a bond resolution.
“When the decision was made to build Sims Middle and Jonesville K-8, the district chose to do the same as Greenville and many other districts across the state by forming an Educational Facilities Corporation (EFC) to finance the construction of the schools,” said district Financial Officer Lynn Lawson. “The EFC issued approximately $40 million in bonds in December 2006. The money received from this bond sale was used to build the new schools. The district’s payback obligation over the 25-year term of the bond is approximately $3 million per year. The best analogy would be to say that our annual mortgage payment is approximately $3 million.”
Lawson said state law limits how school districts issue bonds, and the school board has the taxing authority to issue General Obligation bonds for up to 8 percent of the district’s assessed valuation.
“The bond resolution is the board’s legal authorization to sell bonds to generate funds,” Lawson said.
The school board authorized the district to sell General Obligation bonds in amounts not-to-exceed $3,500,000. The actual amount of bonds sold will be based on the actual interest rate calculations.
Lawson said the district has been and will continue to repeat the cycle of approving a bond resolution and selling bonds during late summer and using taxes collected for debt services to repay bonds issued in the spring. The cycle will be repeated each year for the life of the 2006 bond terms.