on January 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Here are some of the top stories in education that affected the Upstate in 2008:

Funds lost

The state announces three budget revisions for school districts, with the latest cut in Education Finance Act (EFA) funding reducing the total monies that schools across the state will receive by more than $141 million. EFA is the major funding source provided by the state to the 85 school districts in South Carolina.

New Pickens Schools

Groundbreaking begins in March on what will ultimately be the new Daniel, Liberty, Pickens and Easley high schools. The new Liberty High School will open in August 2010, followed by the new Pickens High and Easley High schools during Christmas Break of that year. Daniel High School is set to open in the fall of 2011

School boss resigns

Pickens County Superintendent Lee D’Andrea resigns in October to accept the Anderson 4 Superintendent post vacated by August retirement of Gary Burgess. D’Andrea initially planned to remain in her current position through June 2009 but agreed in December to begin her leave in January. Former Superintendent Mendel Stewart was named Monday to serve as interim superintendent

Mays ends long career

Longtime Oconee County Board of Trustees Chairman Harry Mays Jr. announces in August that he will not seek re-election to a new four-year term. Mays, who was first elected in 1982 and served with the exception of a four-year period, attended his final meeting in October. During his time on the board, Mays witnessed numerous building projects, reduction in the number of board members from 9 to 5, change from elected to appointed superintendent and consolidation of Westminster High School and Oakway

Middle School into West-Oak Middle

Superintendent accused

Pendleton High School nurse Bobbie Gibson alleges in February that then Anderson 4 Superintendent Gary Burgess intimidated her into administering medication to his son against her professional judgment. Burgess called the allegations “ludicrous” and “ridiculous.” The issue was ultimately resolved after a school district evaluation of the incident.

New Seneca School

Construction begins on new Blue Ridge Elementary School while renovations take place at Northside Elementary. The latest Oconee County School District building project will result in the closing of Code and Kellett elementaries and the redrawing of attendance lines in the district. Officials are hopeful the construction and renovations can be completed in time for the beginning of the new school year in August

Seat Dissolved

Pickens County Board of Trustees member June Hay attends her final meeting in October. Hay’s at-large seat was formally dissolved as her term expired following the November election and two additional at-large seats, presently held by Shirley Jones and Kevin Kay, are set to expire within the next couple of years. That will reduce the number of board members from 9 to 6

Top Award Won

Oconee County School District wins America’s Promise award in January for second consecutive year. The national award recognizes the 100 outstanding communities across America — large and small, rural and urban — considered the best places for young people to live and grow up

Future Plans Proposed

Oconee County Board of Trustees hears report in December that recommends several options, including consolidation of Walhalla High and Tamassee-Salem High, as part of long-range building plan. The board has yet to take any action and will hold community meetings in each of the five attendance areas early next year to receive public input.

State Honors School

Riverside Middle School wins prestigious Palmetto’s Finest award in March. The Anderson 4 school is the only local winner of the award, now in its 30th year, in 2008. It is presented annually to two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school that offer the best in innovative, effective educational programs.