By Jeremy Handel, Staff Writer
The Spartanburg School District 4 Board of Trustees held their final meeting of 2020 on Dec. 7, hearing various updates from schools and staff. The Board voted on one action item, unanimously approving the second reading of state recommended revisions to district’s policy on staff ethics and conflict of interest.
Woodruff Primary School’s monthly report shared that students are underway with the annual Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Testing. The tests are used to evaluate students’ achievement in reading and math, allowing teachers to provide targeted instruction where needed. The school also recognized a partnership with Papa John’s Pizza in Woodruff, who is holding an annual fundraising event and donating a portion of all sales for a day to the school.
Woodruff Elementary School is partnering with the USC Upstate Watershed Ecology Center to provide science lessons that complement the school’s curriculum. Fifth grade students were able to participate in a virtual lesson with a USC Upstate instructor to learn about the “Wild Wetlands,” including sharing several live animals that live in the wetlands. The program is sponsored in part by the Woodruff Roebuck Water District.
Director of Federal and State Programs Britt McKinney, who has been overseeing all district issues and procedures regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, provided a brief update to the board on the number of positive cases throughout the district. She indicated that there were a total of 20 staff and students were currently positive across the four schools and countered a rumor that nearly 90 students at Woodruff High School were currently positive.
“I don’t think we’ve had 89 students total (through the pandemic),” she told the Board.
McKinney said that the Board and anyone from the public could check on the current case numbers at any time on the district’s website at www.spartanburg4.org.
Trustee Randy Grant inquired as to whether the District could provide another round of incentive bonuses for the teachers and staff for their hard work through the pandemic. Business Manager Chris Benfield said staff was reviewing the budget and looking into that possibility if resources allow.
Dr. Rallie Liston indicated that some other districts in the area had approved significant payments to their faculty and staff, which would not be possible in Woodruff because District Four doesn’t have the same financial resources of those districts. Dr. Liston pointed to the recently issued 2021 Preliminary Index of Taxpaying Ability from the South Carolina Department of Revenue, which showed that District Four is assessed as the 24th poorest district in terms of property value of the 79 state districts.
Dr. Liston supported Grant’s statement that the District is working on a plan to reward its teachers and staff to the extent that the budget will allow.
The next meeting of the Board of Trustees will be on Jan. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Woodruff Elementary School Media Room.