LAKE CITY, S.C. – Members of the Florence County School District Three Board said Monday that student achievement, teacher retention and improvements in discipline, special education and security are all ways the district can improve.

The trustees met Monday evening at the district office for a work session to discuss the district’s goals and budget alignment.

Superintendent Laura Hickson started the work session by allowing trustees to share what they feel the district is doing well and ways it can improve.

The board highlighted many “positives” in the district, including the branding of schools, technology use, choice of pathways and finances.

District Three’s goals, as listed in the work session are:

>> To ensure the safety of all district schools, offices, students and staff.

>> To improve the academic success of all students.

>> To increase the number of students reading on grade level in grades K-3.

>> To recruit, retain and train excellent instructional and administrative staff.

>> To build effective school, community and business relationships/partnerships.

>> To ensure financial stability.

In her presentation, Hickson said security upgrades to the front entrances of Main Street Elementary School of Arts, the career center, J.C. Lynch School of STEM and Stanton STEAM Academy will be completed by the end of the school year. These upgrades are estimated to cost approximately $40,000.

Jay Alexander, the district’s facilities and operations director, said the district is running out of space at J. Paul Truluck Creative Arts and Science Magnet School. As the district continues with the expansion, Hickson said portable classrooms might be needed at the schools.

A four-room portable classroom is estimated to have a setup cost of approximately $60,000. To lease, the price would be roughly $130,000 over five years with monthly installments, according to Hickson’ s presentation.

Hickson said the district has added a number of career courses, including welding, HVAC, nail tech, childcare and machine tools.

A new school is expected to open in Lake City in the fall, and Hickson said she has met with the presidents of Francis Marion University and Florence-Darlington Technical College about the programs they will offer there.

“And they’re trying to finalize the courses they will offer,” Hickson said. “And once they do that, then we’ll start identifying our kids that will be in different cohorts. But they are working with us.”

Hickson said requested course offerings at the new school include sports medicine, engineering technology and biomedical.

Other budget priorities discussed include:

>> Increased instructional supplies for students – $8,000

>> Naming an assistant superintendent for teaching and learning – $90,000

>> Add a bus monitor on each school bus – $80,000

>> Ongoing professional development for staff and principals – $20,000

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