News 12 This Morning
August 7, 2013
COLUMBIA CO., S.C. (WRDW)--School's back in for Columbia County.
"Great things are happening here and we're excited about the first day of school," said Evans Middle School Principal Mike Johnson.
Johnson has been running Evans Middle School for nine years now and he's seen a lot of changes.
Including a new superintendent, Dr. Sandra Carraway, who started at the beginning of the year.
And more recently, budget problems that forced the school board to decide between furloughing teachers and raising the county's property taxes.
"We don't have any furlough days," said Johnson. "But we've had to take a small cut in our instructional funds. But teachers--we're very resourceful. They found ways to get what they need to work with our kids each day."
No furlough days means higher taxes. For a family in a $100,000 home, it's about a $40 per year increase.
And although that balances the district's budget, it doesn't allow for smaller class sizes.
"We're sitting right at about 30 which is a good number. [It's] better than 35," said 8th grade Language Arts teacher Beth Delong.
"Right now, we're looking good. We're no more than 28 to 30 students a class," said Johnson.
But it has allowed for two new schools, as well as added building space in schools like Evans Middle.
"We've added about 12 classrooms on to the building in order to accommodate, to have everybody inside the building this year," said Johnson.
Parents can also expect an intense curriculum this year as teacher's continue meeting Common CORE standards.
48:12 "In 8th grade language arts, lots of writing unfortunately," said Delong. "With the writing test in January, we write a lot this first half of the year so hopefully their hands won't fall off!"
Principal Johnson said at Evans, last year's test scores were great with a 93 percent passing rate.
The Board is also looking at cutting about 20 custodial jobs in the county, but so far there have been no layoffs yet--just the increased millage rate by 1 mill, which started in July.