Search Results for: improvements

Safety improvements for Johnson Marina Road

Wanted to ease some concerns from many who noticed today that “trees were cut down” on Johnson Marina Road up at the intersection of 76.

No, that is not anything to do with the proposed development trying to come our way. It’s SCDOT begining work to improve that intersection. Basically Johnson Marina is moving over to where the trees have been cut. I’ll explain below…

If you can see the map below (sorry, photo doesn’t enlarge), they are making the intersection more into a “T” so that it is more of a 90 degree turn off 76 instead of the “angle” it is now. Studies show a “T” is safer and keeps people from just thinking “they can veer left and beat oncoming traffic”. The improvement will also help with the “passing lane” that is currently on 76. When improvements are finished the “main lane” on 76 will be straight and there will be a TURN LANE left from 76 onto Johnson Marina Road. This means that those going straight on 76 won’t be the ones “going around” the cars turning left. Instead, those cars will be in a left TURN LANE.

One thing that currently is NOT int he proposal (and is something I mentioned to DOT this morning) is there is no TURN LANE proposed from Johnson Marina Road onto 76 (towards Chapin). Granted, anyone who is local and would want to “go left” usually just goes through Reformation and Lowman Home and uses the light up at Kwik Way. But, I figure, if DOT is looking to help, we need a lane put in the proposal. IN ADDITION, I have asked for them to commit to a traffic study after the intersection is finished so we can hopefully get a traffic signal there (if warranted by study). Currently, the proposal doesn’t have a traffic signal.

We’ve been fortunate out here with many safety improvements – and we have more on the way !

Please know that this improvement will take MONTHS. There is much more involved than cutting trees and paving the road. Utilities, cable, water lines all have to be moved and those schedules won’t be as quick as we’d like. Just know studies shows the improvements will help reduce accidents and are safer for our community. We all want that! Thanks for your patience during this time. Let me know anything you’d like me to pass along to DOT. Left Lane and Traffic Signal are the main ones I’ve heard so far (and I’ve already shared those with DOT).

UPDATE: several road improvements

w20-7a

Hopefully you’ve noticed improvements all around our community in the past several months! You will continue to see more in the months and years ahead!

When we return to session in January, the General Assembly will continue to address our infrastructure needs as this is vital not only to our way of life; but also the future of our state’s economy (aka jobs, jobs, jobs)

Thanks for bringing several of these needs to my attention. Thank you SCDOT for always being willing to listen and perform the studies needed to find solutions and improve safety!

By the way, there are 3 meetings next month that may be of interest to you:

October 4th (5pm-7pm) Seven Oaks Elementary – Carolina Crossroads (aka Malfunction Junction)
October 11th (5pm-7pm) Chapin High School – I 26 Widening Project ranging from est Exit 85 to Exit 101
October 13th (5pm-7pm) Chapin Middle School – same as above

** RECENTLY COMPLETED PROJECTS IN OUR AREA **

Richland County CTC Resurfacing
West Shady Grove Road (S-40-612).

S-40-940: Peace Haven Road
Completed except for permanent pavement markings.

S-40-1403: Three Dog Road
Completed except for permanent pavement markings.

S-40-620: Captain Lowman Road

** ACTIVE PROJECTS **

S-40-621: Trillie Lane
This road is under contract for full-depth reclamation and asphalt surface triple treatment. The completion date is November 30, 2016. RCE is Chris Kelly, can be contacted at 786-0706 regarding this project.

S-40-2265: Silver Point Road
This road is under contract for full-depth reclamation and asphalt surface triple treatment. The completion date is November 30, 2016. RCE is Chris Kelly, can be contacted at 786-0706 regarding this project.

** RICHLAND COUNTY PENNY PROJECT **

Kennerly Road at Coogler Road
This is a Richland County Penny Project being administered by ICA Engineering. Per my discussion with Project Manager Jennifer Bragg, the scope of the project is to install a roundabout at this intersection. It is one of six intersections included in a Design Build contract. The contract was awarded to C. R. Jackson and work started mid-August. The work on this project is expected to be completed in Spring of 2017. For more information, you may contact Project Manager Jennifer Bragg at (803) 726-6146 or Richland County Transportation Director Rob Perry at (803) 576-1526.

Widening Broad River Road
This is a Richland County Penny Project being administered by ICA Engineering. The general scope of this project is widening of Broad River Road from North Royal Tower Road to beyond I-26. The construction work is currently planned to begin in 2020. For more information, you may contact Richland County Transportation Director Rob Perry at (803) 576-1526.

I-26 Interstate Pavement Preservation
Interstate Preservation: I-26 from MP 100.8 to MP 107.7 in Richland and Lexington Counties. This project was in the July 12, 2016 Letting with a November 30, 2018 Contract Completion Date. Anticipated start is Spring 2017. Project is being managed by CEI Consultant – Infrastructure and Consulting Engineers. Point of contact is Jim Cravens, can be contacted at 822-0333 regarding this project.

I-126 Interstate Pavement Preservation
Interstate Preservation: I-126 from MP 0.00 to MP 3.68 in Richland County. This project was in the July 12, 2016 Letting with a November 30, 2018 Contract Completion Date. Anticipated start is Spring 2017. Project is being managed by CEI Consultant – Infrastructure and Consulting Engineers. Point of contact is Jim Cravens, can be contacted at 822-0333 regarding this project.

** 2016 Richland CTC Resurfacing Program **

Treatment: Resurface
Proposed Let Date: June 14, 2016
Completion Date: November 30, 2017
• Firetower Rd. – Kennerly Rd. to Western Ln.
• Scotts Hill Rd. – Hiller Rd. to Dead End.
• Owenswood Ln. – Western Ln. to Dead End.
• South Hampton Dr. – Koon Rd. to Davenport Dr.
• Davenport Dr. – Sutton Way to South Hampton Dr.
• Western Ln. – Broad River Rd. to 0.85 miles North of US 76.
Resident Construction Engineer: Chris Kelly 803 786-0706

** 2017 Federal Aid Preservation Program **
Treatment: Full Depth Patching (6211)
Proposed Let Date: September 13, 2016
Completion Date: TBD
• Chapin Rd. – Newberry Co. Line to Richland Co. Line.
Resident Construction Engineer: Joey McIntyre 803 359-4672

Treatment: PMST / Microsurfacing
Proposed Let Date: March 14, 2017
Completion Date: TBD
• Broad River Rd. – Newberry Co. Line to Broad River Rd.
Resident Construction Engineer: TBD

Treatment: Crack Seal
Proposed Let Date: March 14, 2017
Completion Date: TBD
• Dreher Shoals Rd. (SC 6) – US 76 to Lexington Co. Line.
• Dutch Fork Rd. (US 76) – Lexington Co. Line to 0.25 miles West of Gates Rd.

Resident Construction Engineer: TBD

** 2017 Federal Aid Rehab. Program **
Treatment: Resurface
Proposed Let Date: January 10, 2017
Completion Date: TBD
• N. Woodrow St. – Broad River Rd. to N. Royal Tower Rd.
Resident Construction Engineer: TBD

Treatment: Full Depth Reclamation
Proposed Let Date: TBD
Completion Date: TBD
• Ray Stoudemayer Rd. – Broad River Rd. to Newberry Co. Line
• Freshly Mill Rd. – Broad River Rd. to John Chapman Rd.

Resident Construction Engineer: TBD

** 2017 Non-Federal Aid Rehab. Program **
Treatment: Resurface
Proposed Let Date: September 13, 2016
Completion Date: TBD
• Dan Comalander Rd. – Broad River Rd. to Lexington Co. Line.
• Page Derrick Rd. – Kennerly Rd. to Shady Grove Rd.
• Eleazer Rd. – Shady Grove Rd. to Kennerly Rd.
• Point Dehaven Rd. – Richard Franklin Rd. to Local Rd.
• Rucker Rd. – Johnson Marina Rd. to Local Rd.
• Old Rd. – Richard Franklin Rd. to Old Rd.
• Creekwood Rd. – Old Rd. to Dead End.
• Circle Dr. – Richard Franklin Rd. to Richard Franklin Rd.
• Lazy Cove Ln. – Silver Point Rd. to Dead End.
• Gates Rd. – Dutch Fork Rd. to Wise Rd.

Resident Construction Engineer: Paul Miller 803 786-0717

** 2017 Non-Federal Aid Preservation Program **

Treatment: Full Depth Patching
Proposed Let Date: September 13, 2016
Completion Date: TBD
• Sid Bickley Rd. – Chapin Rd. to Dead End.
• Indian Fork Rd. – Hiller Rd. to Dead End.

Resident Construction Engineer: Joey McIntyre 803 359-4672

Treatment: Chip Seal
Proposed Let Date: June 14, 2016
Completion Date: June 30, 2017
• White Rock Rd. – Mt. Vernon Church Rd. to White Rock Rd.
• White Rock Rd. – White Rock Rd. to White Rock Rd.
• Three Dog Rd. – Old Hilton Rd. to Three Dog Conn.
• Three Dog Conn. – Old Hilton to Stone Hill Rd.
• Brody Rd. – Johnson Marina Rd. to Dead End.
• Amenity Rd. – Johnson Marina Rd. to Dead End.

Resident Construction Engineer: Robert Power 803 796-9540

Treatment: Chip Seal
Proposed Let Date: October 11, 2016
Completion Date: TBD
• Willow Cove Rd. – Old Forge Rd. to Dead End.
Resident Construction Engineer: Robert Power 803 796-9540

** FUTURE PROJECTS **

US-76 @ Johnson Marina Road Intersection Improvement
This is an intersection improvement project that will provide turn lanes on both US-76 and Johnson Marina Road. Traffic Engineering is currently developing plans for the project. They have indicated issues with both right of way and railroad at this location. The project was let September 2016 and has a completion date of September 30, 2017. RCE is Joey McIntyre, can be contacted at 359-4672 regarding this project.

St. Peters Church Road Safety Improvement
Tentative December 2016 Letting. This project involves moving the ditches back, widening the road ~2’ on each side, resurfacing, pavement markings, and guardrail. RCE is Joey McIntyre, can be contacted at 359-4672 regarding this project.

Bypass Lane on US 76 at Hiller Road
SCDOT Maintenance will construct a bypass lane on the railroad side of US 76. Work is expected to be completed by the end of October.

I-26 Widening
FROM EXIT 101 (US 176) HEADING WEST TO BE DETERMINED – RICHLAND, LEXINGTON, AND NEWBERRY COUNTIES.
The project includes widening of I-26 from MM 101 (US 176, Exit 101- Irmo) heading west on I-26 with the western termini to be determined. Project includes widening I-26 from 4 to 6 lanes for approximately 16 miles; overpass bridge replacements at S-58 (Koon Road), S-80 (Shady Grove Road), S-234 (Mt. Vernon Church Road), S-405 (Old Hilton Road), and S-49 (Peak Street); and jacking/rehabilitating overpass bridges at S-39 (Peak Road) and S-167 (Parr Road). Project is scheduled for 2018.

Other notable projects in the Chapin area include:
• Lexington Avenue Enhancement (Landscaping) Project for the Town of Chapin.
• Columbia Avenue Corridor Improvement Project – this proposed project is being administered by Lexington County. A consultant has proposed several alternatives for replacing the bridge over I-26, widening Columbia Avenue, and constructing new connector roads. These alternatives have been narrowed to a preferred plan that is being further developed and will be presented for public review sometime during the Fall or Winter of 2016.

UPDATE: community road improvements

Road_Construction_Sign

As I continue to speak with constituents in the district, everyone wants to know about roads! I’m pleased that most see the improvements in our area; but also understand their frustration with our state road system.

Below is an update to the report provided last August of improvements in our area:

SC-6 @ Salem Church Road Intersection Improvement
Project is now complete.

S-40-216: Lowman Home Barn Road
Project is now complete.

S-40-296 – A.J. Amick Road
Project is now complete.

S-40-620: Captain Lowman Road
This road is under contract for single treatment – Contract ID 5190090. C. R. Jackson is the prime contractor. No work has been performed on this road to date. We anticipate that C. R. Jackson will begin full depth patching in May 2016 and follow up with surface treatment shortly after patching is complete. The project has a completion date of September 30, 2016.

US-76 @ Johnson Marina Road Intersection Improvement

This is an intersection improvement project that will provide turn lanes on both US-76 and Johnson Marina Road. Traffic Engineering is currently developing plans for the project. They have indicated issues with both right of way and railroad at this location. The project is tentatively scheduled to be let September 2016.

Richland County Penny Project – Kennerly Road at Coogler Road
This is a Richland County Penny Project begin administered by ICA Engineering. Per my discussion with Project Manager Jennifer Bragg, the scope of the project is to install a roundabout at this intersection. It is one of six intersections included in a Design Build contract. The contract was awarded to C. R. Jackson with a window for completion in Spring 2017 of all intersections. For more information, you may contact Project Manager Jennifer Bragg at (803) 726-6146 or Richland County Transportation Director Rob Perry at (803) 576-1526.

Richland County CTC Resurfacing
Shadowood Drive (S-1680) is complete. West Shady Grove Road (S-612) needs additional full depth patching and then will be resurfaced. Water Garden Court (S-1708) is complete. The contract completion date is October 31, 2015. Lane is in Liquidated Damages at this time for not completing the project by the completion date.

Amicks Ferry Safety Improvement
This project was awarded to Lane Construction in September 2015. This project involves select clearing, widening the pavement ~1’ on each side, resurfacing, pavement markings, and guardrail. Clearing work is expected to begin mid to late April. The project is expected to be completed by Fall 2016.

St. Peters Church Road Safety Improvement
Tentative July 2016 Letting. This project involves moving the ditches back, widening the road ~2’ on each side, resurfacing, pavement markings, and guardrail.

Murray Lindler Road @ Old Lexington Road Roundabout
Tentative November 2016 letting.

OTHER COMPLETED PROJECTS

Firetower Road Bridge Replacements
Both of the bridges on Firetower Road have been replaced with SCDOT crews and the road has been reopened.

PROJECTS ADDED TO THE LIST

S-40-621: Trillie Lane
This road is under contract for full depth reclamation and asphalt surface triple treatment. The completion date is November 30, 2016.

S-40-2265: Silver Point Road
This road is under contract for full depth reclamation and asphalt surface triple treatment. The completion date is November 30, 2016.

S-40-940: Peace Haven Road
This road is under contract for full depth reclamation and asphalt surfacing. The completion date is October 31, 2016.

S-40-1403: Three Dog Road
This road is under contract for full depth reclamation and asphalt surfacing. The completion date is October 31, 2016.

I-26 and Interstate Pavement Preservation
Interstate Preservation: I-26 from MP 100.8 to MP 107.7 in Richland and Lexington Counties. Anticipated to be in the April 12, 2016 Letting with a June 30, 2018 Contract Completion Date

I-126 Interstate Pavement Preservation
Interstate Preservation: I-126 from MP 0.00 to MP 3.68 in Richland County. Anticipated to be in the April 12, 2016 Letting with a June 30, 2018 Contract Completion Date

I-26 Widening
FROM EXIT 101 (US 176) HEADING WEST TO BE DETERMINED – RICHLAND, LEXINGTON, AND NEWBERRY COUNTIES
The project includes widening of I-26 from MM 101 (US 176, Exit 101- Irmo) heading west on I-26 with the western termini to be determined. Project includes widening I-26 from 4 to 6 lanes for approximately 16 miles; overpass bridge replacements at S-58 (Koon Road), S-80 (Shady Grove Road), S-234 (Mt. Vernon Church Road), S-405 (Old Hilton Road), and S-49 (Peak Street); and jacking/rehabilitating overpass bridges at S-39 (Peak Road) and S-167 (Parr Road). Project is scheduled for 2018.

Other notable projects in the Chapin area include:
• Lexington Avenue Enhancement (Landscaping) Project for the Town of Chapin

Intersection Improvements on the way?

Intersection

A few years ago, when Richland County passed the “Penny Tax” ( don’t get me started again on all that), I was hopeful we would soon see improvements in our area. Frankly, there wasn’t much in our area in that “Penny Tax” proposal; but this one intersection was at least supposed to be addressed.

Here is the lastest update for that Kennerly Road/Coogler Road intersection.

***
Representative Ballentine – I am writing to provide an update on the status of this Richland County Penny Project being administered by ICA Engineering. Per my discussion with Richland County Transportation Director Rob Perry, the scope of the project is to install a roundabout at this intersection They awarded the contract on November 1st with an 18-month window for completion of all intersections. Due to the complexity of the intersection, late summer 2016 is the earliest anticipated start date, however it may be as late as Fall 2016.

For more information, you may contact Project Manager Jennifer Bragg at (803) 726-6146 or Richland County Transportation Director Rob Perry at (803) 576-1526.

Please let me know if I may be of further assistance with this or any other transportation related issue.

Bryan L. Jones, P.E.
District Engineering Administrator
SCDOT – District One

***

Infrastructure Improvements coming to the area

Roads

The projects listed in the paragraphs below are scheduled for the DOT; they do not include projects that will be funded by the “penny” in Richland County . The two “penny projects” are: Widening of Broad River Road from Royal Tower up to I26 (Exit 97) with projected cost $29,000,000. Intersection improvement on Kennerly (Coogler/Steeple Ridge) with projected cost of $1,900,000.

DOT scheduled projects outside of the transportation penny projects above:

Sidewalk Improvement at Royal Tower Drive, S-1862 (Brickling Road)
Anticipated Project Cost: $42,100
Schedule: Letting is scheduled for May 2015

Intersection Improvement at US76 (Dutch Fork Road) and S-618 (Johnson Marina Road)
Anticipated Project Cost: $1,220,000
Schedule: Letting is scheduled for Fall 2016

Bridge Replacement over I26 2 miles East of Ballentine (Koon Road)
Anticipated Project Cost: $3,770,000
Schedule: RFP Opening is scheduled for Fall 2016

Bridge Replacement over I26 2 miles east of Ballentine (Shady Grove Road)
Anticipated Project Cost: $4,896,400
Schedule: RFP Opening is scheudled for Fall 2016

I26 Rehabilitation between mile marker 89 and mile mnarker 101 (I26 Eastbound)
Anticipated Project Cost: $505,900
Schedule RFP Opening is scheduled for Fall 2016

UPDATE: Richard Franklin Road improvements

2014 Richard Franklin Road

Those living in the area have seen the signs, trucks, pylons, and markings that signal the beginning of much awaited repairs to the area. Earlier this year I shared what was in the works and last month shared the latest .

I want to thank you for your patience and especially the SC DOT for bringing this project to fruition.

Below is detailed information so you’ll know what’s going on and so you’ll be patient as the work will cause some inconveniences in the coming weeks.

***
The roadway that is being reclaimed is State Road S-40-1333. The road names associated with this work and limits are as follows:

• Lowman Home Barn Road
o From the intersection of Lowman Home Road (S-40-216) (3 way intersection) to Johnson Marina Road (S-40-618)
o ~0.3 miles
o Reclamation, widen shoulder 2 ft each side, resurface

• Richard Franklin Road
o From Johnson Marina (S-40-618) to Wonder Dr / Old Road (S-40-1333 Loop)
o ~0.95 miles
o Reclamation, widen shoulder 2 ft each side, resurface

• Wonder Drive / Old Road
o Loop Road
o ~1.06 miles
o Reclamation and resurfacing only

The total roadway work is ~2.31 miles in length. The approximate costs for this work was estimated to be in excess of $533,000 but may be less due to the actual amount of cement used in the reclamation process based on the design.

Richard Franklin Road improvements – update

2014 Richard Franklin

Photo credit: @StateHouseWife

You may recall earlier this year, I mentioned infrastructure improvements that were coming our way .

Today you should see one of the projects, that has been long overdue on Richard Franklin Road, begin. Bear with it a couple of weeks and it will definitely be worth it.

I’m in contact as well with Rob Penny (Richland County – Transportation) to check on some other projects that were a part of the “Penny Tax” that passed during a time most of us would rather forget. As I learn more about those projects, I’ll keep you informed.

Yesteray, I shared information those other projects (along with estimated cost and funding source). As I’m sure you have heard, roads ain’t cheap….but we need to find a way to improve them (and bridges) and figure it out soon. We can’t keep kicking the can down the road in the General Assembly.

Nathan’s News readers have seen a few of my infrastructure proposals over the years. Some have received bipartisan support from a handful of colleagues; but have not made it through the process to become law. I want to be sure we exhaust ALL possibilities before we raise the gas tax.

What are your thoughts?

Photo below is just one small section of the road. Those that drive it regularly know the entire road is like this – or worse. I took photo earlier this week before the repair work started.

2014 Richard Franklin 2

Road Improvements: Richard Franklin and more…

2014 Richard Franklin

For any pothole or resurfacing requests of Richland County Roads, please email ombudsman@rcgov.us or contact our local county councilman, Bill Malinowski. If the road is maintained by the SCDOT, then contact me directly.

Ever since I was elected, it seems “potholes, intersections and roads” are what most people seem to care most about. Over the years, we’ve seen several improvements in the area. Too many to post over. Here’s a post from the past from the past and another years ago , most importantly, here is the latest information on some “most talked about” areas in the district:

1) Kennerly Road/Coogler Road intersection. No timetable but this is one of the intersections slated to be funded by the “Penny Tax” in Richland County. Years back, Senator Courson and I worked to get “flashing signals/signage” but even today there are still accidents at this location.

2) There is NO ‘bridge’ being considered from our area to Blythewood across Broad River (aka a northern arterial/connector from I-77 to I-26 over the Broad River) It’s not in any 20 year plans but it seems the “myth” always comes up every few months or so.

3) Richard Franklin Road. Finally! Contracts are being let and a full depth reclamation/resurfacing is expected to be completed by the end of summer.

4) Traffic Light at intersection of Highway 6 and Farming Creek. Work should begin spring 2014.

5) Replacing Shady Grove Bridge (over I-26) with a new 2-lane bridge. Should occur in 2014.

Also slated for 2014:

* Broad River Road (I20 to Koon Road) slated for resurfacing
* Capers Chapel Road – Chipseal resurfacing
* Julius Richardson Road – Thin lift resurfacing
* Lykes Lane – Thin lift resurfacing. (While Lykes Lane is no longer in District 71 after reapportionment, I remember years ago everyone appreciating the traffic signal there and wanted to let them know I haven’t forgotten about them).

Be safe out there! And if you’re curious about funding for our roads. I have offered several proposals to my colleagues before voting to raise your taxes!

Richland County Recreation News

You may recall the past mess that was the Richland County Recreation Commission .

Once the delegation was able to make changes, we finally had someone from our area serve – and serve well, she has. Cynthia Shepard served for the past two years and recently stepped down to focus on other things in life. I’m hopeful the 14 Democrats and my fellow Republican on the delegation will support replacing Cynthia with another qualified individual from our area – so that we are not forgotten about while other parts of the county are seeing vast improvements and we are left with two antiquated parks.

Bill Malinowski is our county councilman and works directly with the county budget. I’m trying to help use some state funds that are set aside for each county to use in their parks. The county commissions must request the funds and our commission hasnot since 2017.

Today, I have again asked the county to support Friarsgate Park and Ballentine Park in our community. Because the majority of the delgation refuses to meet more than once a year, it will probably be January before I can hopefully give a positive update on my email to the County Recreation Commission Assistant and my colleagues on the legislative delegation.

As I learn more, I’ll obviously update!

***

To: Cornelia Watts;Jimmy Bales;Wendy Brawley;Beth Bernstein;Ivory Thigpen;Kirkman Finlay;Christopher R. “Chris” Hart;Todd Rutherford;Seth Rose;Leon Howard;Kambrell Garvin;Annie McDaniel;John Scott;Dick Harpootlian;Darrell Jackson;Mia McLeod;Thomas McElveen;
CC: Kim Janha

Ms. Watts, please share this email with the Chairman and Board. I do not have their emails.

Chairwoman Cotten and others,

First, thank you for your tireless service to the county and the commission. I cannot tell you how glad I am we no longer hear of the former turmoil and activities that occurred prior to your service.

As you know, a board member from my community recently resigned. We greatly miss Cynthia and I hope the delegation will meet soon and appoint a replacement. I will push for a replacement from our area as we have multiple county run parks that are very outdated compared to the others in Richland.

I’m sending this email to you and the delegation for 3 reasons:

1) Let’s appoint a replacement commissioner in the next 60 days – per notice by law, etc. I can certainly find very qualified individuals from the Irmo/Chapin area.
2) Can you and the Board contact the Irmo Little League (run from Friarsgate Park) and ask what safety and other improvements they NEED for that park?
3) Can you and the Board contact the Ballentine Civic Association (who, along with others, use Ballentine park) and ask what safety or other improvements they NEED for the park?

Today I received a packet from Alseha Cushman with SC Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism showing the Richland County PARD account balance is $513,308.08. I also see there have been no requests for 2018 or 2019 or for the upcoming 2020 budget year.

I’m certain our parks – especially the two mentioned above (Friarsgate and Ballentine) could use improvements that these funds were created for.

I’m also certain any matching funds could be raised by the groups that use the facilities.

Please call me if you have any questions or if you need contact information for Irmo Little League or the Ballentine Civic Association. It’s my hope the delegation will discuss and support requests this year to help our county parks – and keep county funds servicing county parks.

I hope you’ll visit my website often to stay informed about what’s going on in the State House and in our community!

Nathan Ballentine

www.nathansnews.com

House of Representatives, District 71

Richland-Lexington Counties

320A Blatt Building

Columbia, SC 29221

The Weekly Rewind – March 8th

rewind-t3951k

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3759, the “SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATION, CAREER OPPORTUNITY, AND ACCESS FOR ALL ACT”. The legislation makes comprehensive revisions that are offered as a means of ensuring that the state’s public school students receive the training needed to meet 21st century demands. New emphasis is placed on mathematics and technology that includes a requirement for each public high school in the state to offer at least one rigorous, standards based computer science course. Enhancements are made to the SC Read to Succeed Initiative that focuses on crucial literacy skills. Provisions are made to afford public school students a smoother transition into higher education and workforce opportunities. These include expanded dual enrollment programs and improved access to state scholarship funding to cover training costs. The legislation raises the minimum teacher salary statewide and offers an array of incentives geared towards attracting individuals to teaching and retaining those professionals in the classroom. Some of the incentives focus on encouraging teachers to pursue their careers in schools that are failing to meet goals for academic performance and in areas of the state that are experiencing the greatest economic distress. Enhanced accountability provisions are included to direct assistance to schools that are struggling academically and to transform or close chronically underperforming schools. A school district consolidation protocol is established for merging less populous districts that are failing to meet standards for student performance. Local school board members are subjected to ethics provisions. A Special Council on Revitalizing Education is created to advise policy makers on ways to improve collaboration among state agencies and institutions and what steps should be taken to ensure that the state’s public education system is emphasizing skills demanded in the workplace.

Goals and Governance

The State of South Carolina establishes an overall statewide workforce readiness goal of at least sixty percent of all working age South Carolinians having a post secondary degree or recognized industry credentials before the year 2030. This goal is consistent with all students graduating and having the knowledge, skills, and characteristics contained in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.

A “Student Bill of Rights” is established to enumerate basic expectations including: students should expect that the General Assembly, Governor, State Superintendent of Education, State Board of Education, local school boards, local superintendents, principals, teachers, and parents to focus on improving education, and creating a system that puts them first; students should feel safe and secure in school; students should have educational choice; and the ability to challenge unfair treatment. These provisions do not create or imply a private cause of action for a violation.

A “Teacher Bill of Rights” is established to enumerate those things that all certified public school teachers in South Carolina should be able to expect. These include: working in an environment conducive to learning; the inclusion of their discretion with regard to disciplinary and instructional decisions; freedom from frivolous lawsuits, planning time; a competitive salary; no unnecessary paperwork; support from school administration. These provisions do not create or imply a private cause of action for a violation.

Provisions are made for the South Carolina Teacher of the Year and a public school student appointed by the Governor to serve as non-voting advisory members of the State Board of Education.

Special Council on Revitalizing Education

The legislation establishes within the Office of the Governor the Special Council on Revitalizing Education (SCORE) which is created to: (1) monitor the state education and workforce pipeline to continually determine the education and training levels required by the state’s employers; (2) identify and recommend improvements regarding efficiency and cooperation of agencies and programs throughout the education and workforce pipeline; and (3) report findings and recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on a continuous basis.

The Governor serves as the chairman of the ten-member council. The Governor may, however, delegate the position of chairman and SCORE duties to the Lieutenant Governor. The other council members are appointed to five-year terms, with SCORE being composed of: (a) three members appointed by the Governor; (b) one member appointed by the Speaker of the House; (c) one member appointed by the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; (d) one member appointed by the Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee; (e) one member appointed by the President of the Senate; (f) one member appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; and (g) one member appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Council members may not concurrently serve as a member of the General Assembly. Appointed members must have a background in early childhood education, K 12 education, higher education, business, workforce development, or economic development. Two council members, one from the appointees allotted the House of Representatives and the other from the appointees allotted the Senate, must be current or retired highly effective teachers. A member of the council may serve no more than two consecutive terms.

The Governor shall hire an executive director who must possess a background in at least one of the following: early childhood education, K 12 education, higher education, business, workforce development, or economic development.

Before October 1, 2021, the council shall establish a series of benchmarks that must include, but are not limited to the following:
(1) access to quality early learning, as determined by the council, including the number of three and four year old children in quality early learning settings;
(2) third grade reading proficiency, including the percentage of third grade students who score ‘Meets’ or ‘Exceeds Expectations’ on the SC Ready assessment, or its successor;
(3) eighth grade mathematics, including the percentage of eighth grade students who score ‘Meets’ or ‘Exceeds Expectations’ on the SC Ready assessment, or its successor;
(4) high school graduation rates, including the percentages of students who graduated in four and five years;
(5) youth nonparticipation, including the percentage of South Carolina residents between sixteen and eighteen years of age who are not going to school on the secondary level or in adult education, not in the military, or not otherwise working;
(6) post high school enrollment, including the percentage of South Carolina high school graduates who are in postsecondary education the semester after graduation from high school or are gainfully employed; and
(7) post high school education attainment, including the percentage of South Carolina residents ages twenty two through sixty five who have completed a two or four year degree, or have received a nationally recognized certification as determined by the Department of Commerce.

With assistance and consultation from the Department of Administration, the council is charged with creating and maintaining a publicly accessible website that reports the benchmark information, explains the benchmarks, and provides an annual update to show the state’s progress toward meeting each goal.

Beginning in 2021, the council is required to make an annual comprehensive report to the Governor and General Assembly that specifically identifies areas within the education and workforce pipeline where state agencies and other publically funded entities are failing to meet the benchmarks. The council shall provide recommendations regarding ways that state and local efforts can be improved, ways that collaboration and cooperation among state and local agencies and resources can be increased, and efforts underway or being considered in other states that address the noted areas of concern. The council also shall recommend legislation it considers necessary.

Enhancements to Academic Rigor to Improve Student Preparation

Computer Science and Mathematics Coursework and Incentives

The State Board of Education is charged with conducting, at least every five years, a cyclical review of grade appropriate standards for computer science, computational thinking, and computer coding for grades kindergarten through grade twelve.

No later than the beginning of the 2020 2021 School Year, each public high school and public charter high school must offer at least one rigorous, standards based computer science course. The course is to be made available in a traditional classroom setting, in a dual enrollment course, blended learning environment, online based, or other technology based format tailored to meet the needs of each participating student.

Beginning in the 2020 2021 School Year, the Department of Education shall:

(1) employ one experienced full time employee whose sole responsibility is to coordinate and lead the South Carolina Computer Science Education Initiative;
(2) support K 12 academic and computer science teachers in designing interdisciplinary, project based instruction and assignments that engage students in applying literacy, math, and computational thinking skills to solve problems;
(3) design career pathways that connect students to postsecondary programs, degrees, or postsecondary credentials in such high demand career fields as cybersecurity, information systems, informatics, graphic design, computer engineering, and software development;
(4) offer professional development and teacher endorsements to new teachers who will teach computer science;
(5) provide information and materials which identify emerging career opportunities in computer science and related fields to parents, students, teachers, and guidance counselors; and
(6) assist districts in developing partnerships with business, industry, higher education, and communities to provide afterschool and extracurricular activities that engage students in computer science.

By August 1, 2021, the State Department of Education shall develop a technology plan that addresses wireless Internet access for all public schools and must provide a report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate.


Statewide Assessment Program Revisions

The legislation removes summative assessments not required by federal accountability law. This includes eliminating the eighth grade science assessment, all grades 3-8 social studies assessments, and the United States History end-of-course assessment.


Early Childhood

The Office of First Steps and the State Department of Education (SDE) must provide a report to the General Assembly regarding how to increase the number of children attending state-funded four-year-old kindergarten programs.

Read to Succeed Initiative Enhancements

The State Board of Education is charged with approving no more than five reliable and valid early literacy and numeracy screening assessment instruments for selection and use by school districts in kindergarten through third grade.

Assessments must be given at the beginning of the school year. For students who need additional assistance, the screening will also occur during the middle and end of the school year. Assessment results must be reported to the State Department of Education which is responsible for monitoring student progress.

Read to Succeed are revised to require that districts provide appropriate in-class intervention until all students are at grade level.

Students are to be retained if their SC Ready scores are at the “Does Not Meet” level. This is more rigorous than the current “Not Met 1” level.

The reading portfolio exemption for retention is strengthened.
When exemptions from retention are granted because of appeals by students’ parents or guardians, school districts are required to report on the number of appeals made, the number granted, and the outcome of the students whose appeals are successful.

More specific job duties and position requirements are established for reading coaches.

The State Department of Education must screen and approve reading coaches for districts where more than one-third of the students score at the lowest achievement level.

Early childhood, elementary, and special education teachers must pass a test regarding reading instruction before they can be certified.

Professional development required for compliance with Read to Succeed must be offered at no cost by the school districts.

The Commission on Higher Education and the Learning Disorders Taskforce are charged with examining the effectiveness of teacher education programs in regard to diagnosing and assisting students with reading difficulties.


Transition into Higher Education and Workforce Opportunities

The legislation provides for an expansion of dual enrollment opportunities so that students who want to go to college already have at least one year of college credit by creating a uniform, statewide credit articulation agreement between K-12 and higher education. The Advisory Committee on Academic Programs is required to develop a statewide dual enrollment articulation agreement that will replace all locally created agreements between K-12 and higher education.

Students desiring an Education Lottery scholarship must, in addition to existing requirements, take a math and English course during their senior year of high school to maintain these skills prior to entering college.

The legislation emphasizes an accountability system that should let parents know if schools are successful in preparing students for eventual success in college or on the job. To further this effort, the State Department of Education must continuously monitor student progress in grades K-12, and provide parents and students with lexile and quantile scores derived from assessments. In addition to using Lexile and Quantile scores, high school equivalency assessment thresholds may also serve as common admission scores to technical colleges. A test in an English/language arts and mathematics course may be used to satisfy the requirement. A test for every course is not required.

The legislation revises and updates the Education and Economic Development Act (EEDA). The State Department of Education, the Technical College System, the Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Employment and Workforce must collaborate to ensure that workforce needs are aligned with career pathways and K-12 curriculum.

High schools or career centers must have a minimum of three career pathways, with at least one pathway in a high-skill, high-demand area. Pathways must be reviewed every three years and updated as needed. School districts must coordinate with each other to ensure student access to multiple pathways. Upon Department approval of bus routes, districts may provide transportation for students.

The State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education (SBTCE) must establish, and technical colleges must recognize, common admission scores. (Scores may be differentiated for certain programs of study.) Students who do not meet the minimum admission score should be encouraged to enter a noncredit program that awards a national recognized business or industry credential. Education Lottery Tuition Assistance is available for individuals who enroll in a noncredit, credential awarding program provided they enroll within seven years of the first time they entered the ninth grade.


Incentives for Teachers and Educator Development and Satisfaction

The state’s minimum teacher salary is increased to thirty five thousand dollars.

The legislation provides that no tuition may be charged for a period of four school years by any state supported college or university or any state supported vocational or technical school for children of full time certified classroom teachers with at least five years of teaching service who are employed in schools that have an absolute rating of unsatisfactory for at least three of the previous four years. The teacher must serve as a full time classroom teacher during the time the child is receiving the tuition free higher education. The benefit is retained even if the school’s academic performance improves.

An income tax credit is established that covers all of the property taxes paid for five years on a residence for a K-12 public school teacher who lives and teaches is a county designated as a Tier IV economically distressed county.

In order to better understand the demands of the 21st century workplace, public school teachers who work in grades 6-12 are encouraged to become interns for up to 80 hours per year. Employers who hire teachers for these summer internships are eligible for a $2,000 tax credit for each teacher they employee.

The board of trustees of a local school district may authorize the daily mileage reimbursement of a teacher who must travel more than twenty five miles each way between home and school. This reimbursement may not exceed the existing federal rate.

Local school boards of trustees may establish policies allowing teachers to enroll their children in the schools where they teach regardless of the student’s zoned area of attendance, and if space is available at the receiving school.

Each classroom teacher and full time librarian is entitled to at least a thirty minute daily planning period free from the instruction and supervision of students. Each school district may set flexible or rotating schedules for the implementation of this duty free planning period. Implementation may not, however, result in a lengthened school day.

The legislation includes provisions for colleges and universities to create alternative teacher preparation programs that are not nationally accredited. Such programs must, however, provide specifically mandated evidence of effectiveness.

The State Board of Education must review educator preparation programs at least once every five years.
The SDE must provide each teacher preparation program with information regarding the performance of its graduates. The programs are required to protect the confidentiality of the data, and the information is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

To provide for accountability in teacher preparation programs, both traditional and alternative, the legislation creates the South Carolina Teacher Preparation Report Card to examine the number of students completing the program, the performance of teacher candidates on basic skills examinations, and the effectiveness of the programs’ graduates in the classroom setting.

The existing teacher satisfaction survey currently administered is now statutorily required. Results must be complied, analyzed, and reported for each school and district. This data should be shared with policy makers on a yearly basis, and the Department will publish those results on its website.


Enhanced Accountability

Assistance for students in underperforming schools

The legislation reinforces accountability act provisions regarding assistance for struggling schools or districts.
Local school boards with below average or unsatisfactory performance records are required to establish renewal plans that must be approved by the State Board of Education. These plans must include professional growth plans for teachers and principals. A report on the assistance provided to the schools must be provided to the General Assembly on a yearly basis. Stakeholder groups that include mental health, social services, and law enforcement must be asked for input into renewal plans.

When a school receives an overall rating of unsatisfactory for three out of four years, the school is considered to be ‘chronically underperforming’ and one of the following must occur:
(1) the school will be reconstituted immediately after the end of the school year in which the annual report is published; and:
(a) the State Superintendent shall make all personnel decisions for the reconstituted school and shall have the authority to determine whether to terminate the principal, faculty, and staff;
(b) the State Superintendent of Education shall hire the new principal and staff for the reconstituted school if necessary; and
(c) the department shall contract with a public or nonprofit entity that has a proven record of success in working with underperforming schools and districts. The entity shall use research based strategies to assist schools with their operations and oversee the administration of the school until the overall rating of the school improves; provided, if the overall rating does not improve within three years then the school either must be restarted under the management of a high performing charter management organization selected by the State Superintendent of Education or must be governed by the South Carolina Transformation School District, and all state, local and federal funds generated by the students must follow the students to the charter management organization or to the South Carolina Transformation School District;
(2) the school must be closed and restarted under the management of an existing charter school authorizer or a nonprofit educational management organization selected by the State Superintendent; provided, if the school is a Title I school, the Department of Education will award competitive grants as authorized under federal law to support these new schools and all state, local and federal funds generated by the students follow the students to the charter school authorizer or to the educational management organization. The authorizer or management organization has the authority to terminate any and all employees of the school and hire employees at its discretion; or
(3) the school must be closed and its students must be transferred to higher performing schools in the district.

The South Carolina Transformation School District is established as part of State Department of Education to operate and manage unsatisfactory schools.

The Superintendent of Education is directed to utilize lower child to teacher ratios as a strategy to assist chronically unsatisfactory schools.

The legislation establishes a school district consolidation protocol which provides that, before August 1, 2023, local school districts whose kindergarten through grade twelve student population is less than one thousand, and where greater than fifty percent of the students attend schools whose report card ratings are below average or unsatisfactory, shall be merged with a district in the same county in which it is located.

School Board Ethics Provisions

The State Board of Education must adopt a model code of ethics that shall be adopted by local districts by July 1, 2020.

A person may not serve on a local school board if a family member is employed by the district as a superintendent, principal, assistant principal, or member of the district administrative staff. This requirement may be waived for districts with a student population under 3,000.

School board members may not their position for personal or family advantage. Expectations for board members are codified.

The State Ethics Act, including the requirement to file a statement of economic interest, is applied to local board members.

Local school boards must adopt an annual training programs for members that includes instruction on school law, ethics, school finance, nepotism, board relations, and conflicts of interest. Completion of the training must be reported to, and retained by the State Department of Education.

In addition to other statutory authority relating to the removal of officers, the Governor may remove a member of a school district board of trustees in a case involving fraud, misappropriation of funds, nepotism, violation of election or procurement laws, or a combination of these.

A protocol is established that allows board members to be removed by the Governor if the district loses accreditation for school governance reasons.

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Federal Programs and Grants

The Legislative Audit Council is directed to study publish a report by August 1, 2020, identifying and detailing federal funding streams for programs and grants in elementary and secondary education in this state in total and breaking out the cost of overhead, compliance, and reporting incurred by the State Department of Education, school districts, and local schools.

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