Staffing, outsourcing of some services and retirees were discussed during Monday's work session for the Board of Education.
At the beginning of the session, Wes Park, chief officer of finance and operations, reviewed the elementary, middle and high schools' staffing guidelines. He talked about the state regulations and the district's guidelines.
The state standard for most classroom sizes is 35. Marlboro County School District has between 24-28 students in a classroom.
Superintendent Dr. Gregory McCord noted it does cost more to have lower class sizes.
Various positions were highlighted including school resource officers.
Currently, the district pays 100 percent of the cost for SROs, which includes salary, benefits, car, uniform, gun, and training.
"Currently, we pay 100 percent for resource officers, which is unheard of," he said. "We pay 100 percent for nine months of work."
During holidays, summertime, weekends - SROs work with their respective agencies.
McCord said the district is funding additional manpower for the agencies they partner with.
"This is not a partnership to me," he said. A partnership to me says I give some and you give some."
Park said this applies to SROs with the county and city of Bennettsville. The McColl Police Department receives $35,000 while the Clio Police Department receives $45,000.
Vice chair Jackie Branch said he thought there was some sort of split between the district and law enforcement agencies when it was presented to them.
Board member Nan Fleming said she didn't agree with them and voted against it.
"We did not get a good deal," she said. "I don't think we thought it through."
McCord noted he has experience in putting these type of contracts together in the past.
"Usually, there is a split and it is 50/50, 60/40 or the district pays for the salaries and agencies pay for the car and equipment," he said.
McCord said the best deal they have is with McColl because the district gets the resource officer at 75 percent.
Board member James Smith asked Board Chairman Larry McNeil, who was once police chief for Bennettsville, what the arrangement was then.
He was told that it was for nine months of salary, benefits with no vehicle and attending school functions without pay.
McCord said the district pays for after school functions.
He added the Sheriff's Office said they would monitor the football games at no cost. This was costing $1,500 - $2,000 a game.
McCord pointed out they were not saying they don't want the services of the school resource officers.
He and other district officials met with the city and county officials about the contracts and to ask for a better deal.
"It will not save us millions of dollars but again, every little bit helps," he said.
McNeil felt it was something that needed to be worked on.
"I don't see paying somebody for 12 months for nine months of service," he said. "This is robbing somebody."
District officials are working on a possible deal with the Sheriff's Office. McCord noted that he was not trying to end the SRO program.
"I just ask for what I consider to be a fair deal," he said.
Also discussed was the $54,000 that the state gave as part of the initiative to provide resource officers for school districts.
Currently, the funds have not been used because the city is waiting for the district to purchase a vehicle.
The district looked at proposed allocations for 2019-20 with 494 positions in school administration, classified support, certified teaching staff and classroom support staff.
Park said salaries and benefits make up 85 percent of the general fund for the Marlboro County School District.
There would be a decrease of 17 positions.
The district would go from eight principals to seven with the closing of the School of Discovery. The number of assistant principals would increase from nine to 10 due to additional students in Clio Elementary Middle School.
With the consolidation of SOD and Blenheim Elementary Middle School, those in duplicate positions of secretary/bookkeeper, attendance clerk, receptionist, media assistant, parent coordinator, and custodian would be placed in other positions.
At the district level, three new positions will be created a chief of staff, a director of secondary education and a director of student services.
District officials also discussed the possible outsourcing of food and custodial services.
"We have a good staff," he said. "I cannot tell you with great certainty that we are equipping them in areas that they need to be fully successful."
McNeil asked district officials to prepare some numbers and information for the board members to look at and discuss.