Aiken County School Board members defined the scope of an attendance review for district high schools at its regular meeting last Tuesday.

The approved motion states that the review would include the number of students who had more than 10 unexcused absences in classes but received credit for those course by attending makeup sessions. The review would be for one year during the 2018-19 school year.

Board member Dwight Smith made the motion.

Smith, Barry Moulton, Sandra Shealey, Jason Crane, Keith Liner and Brian Silas voted for the motion. Tad Barber and Rosemary English voted against it, and Ahmed Samaha abstained.

At its meeting Aug. 13, the board approved a motion made by Moulton to request the S.C. State Department of Education to complete an audit of the attendance and makeup policies of Aiken County Public Schools' high schools.

The motion passed by a vote of 5-4 with Moulton, Liner, Silas, Smith and Crane voting for it, and Samaha, Shealey, Barber and English voting against it.

The audit also will look at the implementation of those policies, including the 52 students at Midland Valley High School who had more than 10 unexcused absences but had passing grades in their courses. The students were offered the option to makeup those unexcused absences during Saturday School.

Board Chairman Liner will send a formal letter to S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman to begin the review.

Before the approval of the agenda, Samaha made a motion to table an item concerning an employment matter to be discussed in executive session.

“It is my understanding that some members of the Board have some information that other members were not privy to," Samaha said. "I think in order for us to have an informed discussion that probably should not have happened.”

The motion failed by a vote of five to four. Moulton, Crane, Liner, Silas and Smith voted against the motion, and Samaha, Barber, Shealey and English voted for it.

Jennifer Hart, the district's director of Human Resources, presented recommendations from the Recruitment and Retention Sub-Committee that focused on a job and task analysis of teachers' workloads. Key stakeholder groups would examine the recommendations, which are as follows:

• Unencumbered and consistent planning time with teams.

• Consistent and consolidated professional development.

• Cost and benefit analysis of adding support to assist with clerical issues and needs.

• Consistent duty schedules across grade levels.

“I think all four recommendations are pretty strong, pretty solid,” Liner said.

Jeanie Glover, the district's chief officer of instruction, reported that 2,500 students from kindergarten to high school participated in summer learning programs.

Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.