Fort Mill Times

Clover School District laying plans for changes in new year

CLOVER -- Clover School District is gearing up for the new year looking at bus routes, food service and expanding:

Bus routes

The 2009-10 school year bus route is complicated by having the same number of buses as last year, but the opening of two new schools, currently under construction, and implementing a new grade structure.

"This is extensive because you're building two new schools and changing schemes," said Dennis Myers of the State Department of Education. "We're trying to match the routes as closely with this year as possible, but there will be changes."

Elementary schools, including the new Larne Elementary, will include K4 through fifth grade. The middle schools, including Oakridge opening in Lake Wylie, will serve grades sixth through eighth. Ninth graders will be moved into Clover High School. Getting all of the students to class on time, and home from school in a timely manner will require shifting of bell times at most schools, he said.

It also means the district will be on the hook for about $25,000 in transportation costs if students who live within 1 1/2 miles of their assigned school catch the bus. The state DOE, which provides the district's buses, does not allow any district to use buses to carry children living within a 1 1/2 mile radius without the district compensating the state for the costs.

Food service

The board voted unanimously earlier this summer to award a five-year contract for food service operations throughout the district to Aramark, one of three bidders.

The contract requires Aramark to retain all 57 district employees working in food service, according to district Public Information Officer Greg Reid.

"It's really a good deal for our employees," he said.

Upon retirement, district employees will have the option to join Aramark as a full-time employee and still be able to draw school retirement benefits.

The contract also means more choices in the cafeterias. Prices are expected to remain on par with last year, Reid said, costing the district $2.57 per meal. The contract still needs DOE approval.

ATC expansion

Architect LS3P is drawing up plans for a 36,000-square-foot Applied Technology Center on the high school campus. The expansion would provide space for about 150 additional students and allow some labs classrooms to be relocated from the main school building, freeing up space for a wrestling room and the dance program. The plan also envisions "roughing-in" a second floor for more classrooms.