By Al Dozier

The District 5 School Board Monday re-elected the same officers for another term, but it was a divided vote.

Robert Gantt, nominated by board member Ed White, will continue to serve as chairman. Beth Hutchison will serve as vice-chair and Michael Cates as secretary.

But alternative candidates were nominated, reflecting a division on the board. Those candidates were:  Jan Hammond as president, Ken Loveless as vice president and Nikki Gardner as secretary. Those nominations failed by a 4 to 3 vote.

The board received an extensive report on the district’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs from Al Gates, director of Career and Technology Education.

The district has 16 “career clusters” available to students that focus on skills and knowledge for the future, whether a student plans to go to college or enter a job after high school graduation.

Gates said 75 percent of high school students participate in the district’s CTE courses, and statistics show a 100 percent graduation rate for those students. Local industries recognize credentials earned in the programs.

The district utilizes career specialists to help students get on a trajectory that will take them to a workplace that best suits their needs. Those specialists, located in schools throughout the district, help students make choices with information on job trends in different areas.

Superintendent Christina Melton reported the district’s Magnet Fair November 8 drew some 300 people to CrossRoads Intermediate School seeking information about the district 14 magnet programs, which continue to draw students from throughout the region.

In other action, the board approved Superintendent Melton’s goals for the 2019-2020 School Year.

Priorities include: a focus on work decisions based on the district’s strategic plan; identifying areas of achievement to improve; provide “Chick-Fil-A” like customer service for the community; strengthen the structure and quality of communication internally and externally; and promoting working and learning environments where students and staff feel safe physically and emotionally.

Goals call for providing a world-class education with supports that promote community involvement and partnership with post-secondary institutions. The district seeks to maintain a safe, supportive and nurturing environment while recruiting highly effective and diverse staff.

 The district plans to hold stakeholder meetings to engage key leaders in the use of federal and local funds. The district also plans to utilize growth forecasting for redistricting in the future

The board also received a report on online waiver requests from students who do not want to take important tests on-line.

The state requires SC READY and SCPASS tests to be administered online during the last 20 days of the school year, but waiver requests can be made to the district from students who have problems with the online process.

During the public comment session the board heard from a District 5 resident who said she wanted the taxes she pays for school funding to go to increases in teacher salaries, and funds that provide the teacher with the school supplies they need.