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District 56 has $14 Million in reserves

Audit says that is a healthy fund-balance, it could fund local schools for 90 days in case of an emergency


It’s not likely to happen.

It’s not likely that a disaster, natural or man-made, will totally shut off the funding that the state provides for local schools, particularly for teachers’ pay. But in a state prone to hurricanes and earthquakes, it’s something to take into consideration.

If that were to happen, it seems that School District 56 could operate for 3 months on just its own money. That is optimum, according to the independent auditor’s report presented last Monday.

The district has a “healthy” fund balance of $14 Million, auditor Matt Phillips told the District 56 Board of Trustees, meeting in the media center of Clinton High School, because Disney’s The Little Mermaid was in dress rehearsal in the auditorium.

Board Chairman Jim Barton quizzed the representative of Phillips CPA and Advisors on the meaning of “healthy,” and information was provided about having 3 months of operational funds in the bank in case of a major emergency. The audit covers July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023 and comprises more than 140 pages.

Trustees accepted the audit as information.

At their regular monthly meeting (fourth Monday of the month), the board also received its regular financial report and year-to-date financial information. 

The board enacted policies related to board-approved courses and the expected conduct of teachers and staff, based on state law.

The conduct policy says, in part, that the relationship between staff and students will be one of “cooperation, understanding, mutual respect and trust.” It includes a section on what will happen if a staff member is arrested.

Also, the board authorized the superintendent to negotiate for the purchase of a modular unit to be placed at the district’s central school buses location. It will provide restroom facilities for the drivers, a need brought to the administration’s attention during a recent drivers’ meeting. The unit will have two restrooms, a office, and a small kitchen area, and the administration hopes to have it in place and in service by the start of the 2024-25 school year.

At its November meeting (there was no meeting in December), the board approved a change order for Wilder Stadium renovations to the visitor’s stands and other safety items not to exceed $1.4 Million.

Barton also issued a statement related to the tax equalization formula for District 56 (Clinton) and District 55 (Laurens); it says:

“Discussions regarding the so-called equalization tax formula between Laurens 56 and 55 have been ongoing for over a year now. Based on changed circumstances over the past 40 years since implementation of the formula, this district will work with our local delegation to request any amendments to the legislation that are fair and equitable for all in our district and within the county. As a Board, we want to continue to be good stewards of the tax revenue collected within our district.”

The next District 56 Board of Trustees meeting will be Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m. in the CHS auditorium. There is an opportunity for public comments; contact the district office in advance per board policy. 

AIRLIFT: District 56 Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields released this statement regarding the emergency response to and airlifting of a student at Clinton High School:

“Yesterday afternoon (Jan. 30), a CHS student had a serious medical issue. Faculty and staff responded quickly with CPR and the AED device. The student was airlifted from CHS to Prisma Health in Greenville for further treatments. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family.”

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