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School board sets millage, rules for activity in heat

At a called meeting last Thursday, McDuffie County School Board members voted on several issues including a hot weather policy for athletic events and setting the millage rate for the fiscal year 2008. Following the votes, the annual superintendent's evaluation was held in executive session.

After some discussion, the board approved revising the primary measurement for stopping athletic practices and events to be the heat index rather than the wet bulb globe temperature, which is currently used. The heat index factors the humidity level with the temperature, and is now being used by the National Certified Trainers Association. The board approved stopping practice when the heat index reaches 115.

Superintendent Mark Petersen reported that there have been no illnesses caused from heat with local student athletes because the trainer, Brooks Johnson, keeps a close check on their condition during practices.

Dr. Petersen said Mrs. Johnson also worked with the coaches and football players throughout the year to prepare them for the season.

"She does a fabulous, fabulous job. She pays attention to our boys and girls," Dr. Petersen said. "Also, the report that I get is that our boys are in far better shape than in the past."

Parents, teachers and students can check the current heat index by visiting the school system's website at, and clicking on the weather link.

The board also voted unanimously to keep the property tax millage rate at 15.3. Because the rate is not rolled back from last year, the board held three public hearings prior to the approval, as required by the state. Dr. Petersen said no one attended the first meeting, seven people attended the second, and two attended the last one right before the vote was made.

During the hearings, Dr. Petersen and Comptroller Tom Smalley used a PowerPoint presentation to explain the school system's 2008 budget and the amount of funds provided by the state.

"I'm really surprised we are able to present this conservative of a budget with all the extra pressures passed down by the state," Mr. Smalley said.

Web posted on Thursday, August 30, 2007

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