Fort Mill considers academic, operations audit

Special to the Fort Mill TimesMarch 10, 2014 

— The Fort Mill School District may soon evaluate its academics and processes.

The board and the administration work together annually to determine the district’s goals. At a recent school board meeting, Chairman Patrick White presented the proposed District Effectiveness Audit, which provides an opportunity for the Fort Mill School District to evaluate itself using outside experts.

“While it is easy to compare ourselves academically against other school district’s within South Carolina, understanding how we compare to other like-districts in the nation is important,” White wrote in an email.

White recommended the district work with consultant Don Thomas to analyze the district’s academic performance as it compares to Thomas’ database of school districts throughout the United Sates and identify areas that need improvement. The estimated cost for the audit is $6,700. White also recommended the district work with Frank Bentsen of the American Productivity and Quality Center to perform a process and performance audit on the district. APQC is a nonprofit that works with school districts to determine best practices to save on operational costs.

“An audit of this nature is not to eliminate jobs,” White said in the email, “but to determine if efficiencies can be gained through process improvement.”

Efficiencies gained through re-designing processes would allow district employees to potentially expand their roles and focus on their jobs, White said.

APQC would charge the district $40,000, but guarantees a minimum of $40,000 in savings to the school district. Bentsen will present to the board on April 1.

“Yes, we are good at what we do,” White said, “but as a district, we want to be great.”

Building updates

Also at that March 4 meeting, Jim Britton, with Cumming Corp., a Fort Mill-based construction management company, updated the status on three new buildings – Tega Cay, Riverview and Doby’s Bridge elementary schools.

Construction is wrapping up at Tega Cay Elementary, with a completion date set for mid-April.

The snow and ice hit Doby’s Bridge harder, causing delays that put that school about four weeks behind Tega Cay Elementary, Britton said. Riverview Elementary was also hampered by the cold weather, putting it 12 days behind on construction, Britton said. By working overtime, the company gained two of those days back.

Other news

Also at that meeting:

•  The attendance award for February went to Springfield Elementary, which notched a 97.3 percent attendance rate.

•  Superintendent Chuck Epps said the district’s impact fees are matching current enrollment. The district enrollment total changed little from 11,809 to 11,808 between Feb. 4 and Feb. 26, a trend that Epps said is typical for this time of year.

•  Marty McGinn, assistant superintendent, presented an update to the Gifted and Talented five-year plan which addresses implementation of the plan. McGinn stressed the need for the board to advocate full funding of the Gifted and Talented programs.

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