Hello to the residents of the Clover School District, and welcome to the new informational column written for you by a Clover School Board member.
One of the reasons I ran to serve on the Clover school board was to discover how decisions were made, how information was presented and just how the school district ran. Well, I now know, but have not done a great job of letting the rest of you in on all the good things the district has going on and how difficult decisions are made.
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First, some housekeeping issues need to be explained. The Clover School Board of Trustees is made of up of seven volunteers, five of whom run for election by their address and district lines. There are two more members of the board who are elected at-large for the entire district. That’s what my designation is on the board. I’m an at-large member.
The last 16 months, the board has had a contract for land behind Crowders Creek school for future district growth. This contract was to have closed June 2009. The land contract was with Crescent Resources. They declared bankruptcy last June, a week before the district was to close this land. For the last 14 months, the board was assured Crescent still wanted to sell the school district the land, and as soon as they exited bankruptcy proceedings, all would be good. Well, we know different now.
Crescent came out of bankruptcy and declared they no longer wanted to sell the land, because they didn’t want to pay for the infrastructure (water and sewer hookups, and four miles of roads and curbing needed to even get to the site), which they used to do when developing land.
The board first got wind of this possibility in April and started looking for minimum 100 acre tracts that could be a possibility for a future high school site in case we needed a back up plan. We considered the land across from the Catholic church on S.C. 274, the land in Allison Creek development, the land on S.C. 55 that was to be a neighborhood development, and several private land owners who had 100-plus acres. The state of South Carolina no longer contributes (because of budget cuts and the present economy) to individual school districts development projects for building infrastructures (like roads, curbs, water and sewer). If the district had been allowed to purchase the land behind Crowders Creek, we would be on our own for all development costs (to the tune of an additional $8 million), over and above the costs of the land and actual building of a campus.
All that being said, this was not an overnight instant decision to purchase land for future schools (a high school and elementary) as the district needed them. A lot of time and energy went into trying to come up with the best solution to have land available when we needed it and at a reduced price in the present economy. We realize many things are published and said by folks who do not have all the facts and information correct. That is why I am now writing this column, so everyone is on the same page and knows what the board knows, good or bad.
The district has a new program, that actually began last year, to help families and kids put food on the table for the weekends when kids are not at school getting two meals a day. This program is called Pack the Back and is to be funded by sales of the entertainment coupon books. On Fridays, children who are in the program are furnished with a back pack full of food for the two weekend days ahead. We have many struggling families in our district who qualify for free and reduced breakfast and lunch, and this program ensures those kids have nourishing meals on the weekends also. This is funded also by generous donations from area individuals, churches and businesses. If you want to donate food, time, money, ideas or purchase a coupon book, contact the schools or the district office for instructions.
OK, enough for this week. Please e-mail questions you want to see answered in this column, things we as a board can do to better assist you as a parent, student or resident, or ideas for the district and how to make it better for everyone.
That was another thing I wondered about, how to tell the school board something that might seem small, but if left to fester, gets bigger. We are volunteers trying to do the best for all in our district. It is not a small commitment, but lots of hours and actual thought goes into what we try to do. We live here, too. Thanks for tuning in and look for me again in two weeks.
Submitted by Melanie Wood Wilson