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Lexington-Richland Five swears in new board member, proposes incentives for staff amid pandemic

Lexington-Richland Five swore in a new member of the school board on Monday night. The board also gave updates on construction projects and proposed solutions

CHAPIN, S.C. — Lexington-Richland Five swore in a new member of the school board on Monday night. Tifani Moore took office after winning a special election earlier this month.

Moore is the Development Director of Lexington-Richland Alcohol and Abuse Council, and an alum of Lexington-Richland Five schools.

The board also gave updates on construction projects and proposed solutions to mental health issues in the district.

“We have more students in the building now than we have since the beginning of the pandemic and as we’re excited about the attendance, we are also seeing that we have new challenges. Challenges of mental health," said interim superintendent Dr. Akil Ross.

RELATED: Tifani Moore wins school board seat in Lexington-Richland Five special election

Ross said the transition back into the classroom during the pandemic hasn't been an easy one for district five students and teachers. Last week, they had a "parents night out" at Chapin, Dutch Fork, and Irmo High Schools to start dialogue about mental health and substance abuse issues.

“We will keep working together as a community to address and solve issues impacting students and families within school district five," said social work coordinator Jennifer Felkel.

Dr. Ross proposes a couple incentives for teachers. First, permanent employees would get $1,000 on November 19 during American Education Week.

“We’re dealing with the aftermath of the storm of COVID. We want to make sure that our teachers are encouraged. We want to make sure that those teachers are supported," said Ross.

The second incentive is 50 dollar Friday's starting in January. Permanent employees would receive 50 dollars a week for showing perfect attendance. Ross said this is being done to let teachers know they're appreciated.

“It’s just a thank you for those teachers. You’ve made it all the way to Friday. You might not have had a chance to plan that week. You might not have any chance to prepare or call all the parents," he said.

Ross is also proposing a first job initiative for students. Starting in December, students 16 and up would be given the opportunity to have state-approved work experience. This would include landscaping, custodial, and clerical work.

“We hear from our employers. employers say ‘I can teach them.’ Teach them to show up on time. Teach them to say yes sir, no sir, yes ma'am, no ma'am. Teach them that work ethic and problem solving," he said.

The board has also approved projects to make renovations to the Chapin High School football stadium and replace the east wing at Irmo High School. 

The stadium at Chapin will have increased capacity of 6,500 seats, a new press box, team locker room, and restrooms. The renovations will impact the upcoming athletic season.

The next board meeting will be on November 15 at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies.