Camden High Step Team Excels

Congratulations to the Camden High Step Team, which finished second in a national competition in Nashville on March 13.  Team members include Shakeem Coleman, Ashleigh Singleton, Precious Williams, Brianna Neal, Shaniqua Gray, Twanekqua Ballard, Kia Wells, Imani Simon, Daneshia Reid, Richonda Heriot, and Jalen Loney.  Congratulations on a tremendous job!

A Great Conversation

As part of the process to select a new principal for Camden High School, I sat down this morning with a group of student government leaders from CHS to talk about the characteristics they would want a principal to have.  I was tremendously impressed by the very perceptive and insightful feedback I received from this group, which included both seniors and younger students.  The students who participated had obviously given the matter some real thought.  This was a great experience for me!  Outstanding job!

From Fort Mill…

This was passed on to me from a fellow up in Fort Mill…I think it lays the problem in South Carolina out pretty well…

What the heck is going on in SC??? The root of the problem is Act 388 that our legislature passed three years ago, which then allowed the voters to vote on a constitutional amendment to eliminate property tax from primary residences. It passed with 76% in support. The payback was that the sales tax was increased one penny to make up the difference. Prior to this our tax system was like a three legged stool: property, income, and sales tax. When one sector went dry you usually had two other legs. However, now that we have a two legged stool once the economy tanked in late 2008 two things began to happen: first, folks started losing their jobs and income tax collections went down, at the same time, folks started spending less which means revenues on sales tax hit rock bottom. We have now come to a point where our legislature cannot fund anything in our state. While education is being cut 22% this year, other agencies are being cut 50% or more. To get through this school boards are being forced to cut everything not required by state law. Here in FM we have cut the $3K stipend we pay to NB teachers. We have restructured GT and eliminated 12 elementary teachers, we have cut some classes out in MS and HS and eliminated another 10 teachers, we have cut an early childhood program cutting another five jobs, we have cut three four positions in the district office, we eliminated MS sports totally, we have reduced all supplements by 1/3 and are charging parents a “pay to play” fee for kids to be in athletics and band, we have cut supply accounts by 60%, we have cut professional development 100%, and other cuts as well.  The answer to this is called “total tax reform” and our legislature is not interested. We are in the process of starting a grassroots group here in FM to lobby the legislature for change. Our goal is to get a database of about 10K folks who can send emails to them when crucial votes come up.

ATEC Pictures….

There are some great pictures on the homepage of our website of the students and programs at ATEC.  I hope these pictures give the public a good sense of the excellent work that goes on there.