DCSD names interim superintendent

Bill Boyd oversees his first school board meeting as DCSD interim superintendent. Photo by Melissa Rollins

By Melissa Rollins, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

Less than a week after being named Acting Superintendent of Darlington County School District, Dr. Willie “Bill” Boyd Sr. was named interim superintendent.

During the Aug. 14 DCSD Board of Education meeting, board members voted unanimously to have Boyd fill the open position left by Dr. Eddie Ingram’s departure for the superintendent position in Berkeley County School District.

In a statement released by the district, board chairman Jamie Morphis said that the board was happy to have such a qualified person to serve in the interim.

“We are very pleased to have Dr. Bill Boyd agree to serve as our interim superintendent as we begin a new school year,” Morphis said. “With more than 50 years experience in education, almost 30 in district-level leadership roles within our district, Dr. Boyd knows what needs to be done and how to do it. He knows our people, our schools, and our communities, and he is very good at bringing people together. We’ve had a great start to the year thus far, but if something does come up, Dr. Boyd has the knowledge, experience, and ability to handle it. I think Dr. Boyd is the best choice to guide us through this transition, and the rest of the board unanimously agreed.”

Boyd said that he is grateful for the chance to serve as interim.

“I appreciate the opportunity to lead the district and I am thankful for the confidence the board has placed in me,” Boyd said. “Together we have already accomplished a great deal, but we are not finished. I have a good working relationship with the board, as well as our principals and employees. We are going to give it 110 percent.”

Boyd will receive a monthly salary supplement of $2,500 with a vehicle allowance of $500.

Former superintendent Dr. Rainey Knight was chosen to lead the district’s search for the next superintendent. She served with the district from 1999 until 2013. Knight serves as an educational consultant and has helped in similar searches before, such as the one in Florence School District One in 2014 that resulted in the hiring of Dr. Randy Bridges. Knight will compile applications and information packets from potential candidates and present them to the board.

In other business, district director of technology Diane Sigmon spoke to the board about new regulations that will be implemented for attendance throughout the district. Before diving into the new regulations, DCSD Attendance Supervisor Julia Peterson told the board that chronically absent and truancy are two completely different things.

“Truancy is a student missing three consecutive days or five sporadic days,” Peterson said.

Sigmon added that the reason for the absence does become a factor.

“If a child has medical excuses for three consecutive days they are not considered truant,” Sigmon said. “There are also different levels of truant. With chronic absences, it doesn’t matter why they are out; those days still factor into them being chronically absent.”

The new regulations are coming down from the state, which in turn is getting the requirement from the federal government.

“This is part of the implementation of the Every Child Succeeds Act,” Sigmon said. “The United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Report that we have to fill out every year, is requiring the South Carolina Department of Education to report chronic absenteeism.”

Sigmon said that recording late students will change under the new regulations.

“Now, instead of recording a tardy for a child who signs in at 10 o’clock in the morning, they will be recording the time the child signed in,” Sigmon said. “That time will then equate to a number of lost minutes. So, we are basically taking attendance by minute. The sign-in will be recorded with a time; the sign-out will be recorded with a time. What they are saying is that students who miss more than ten percent of their instructional time, as calculated in `minutes is considered chronically absent. The interesting thing, to us, is that this becomes a rolling type of situation because it is based on the number of days a child is enrolled.”

The ‘rolling’ calculations means that students can be put on a chronically absent list on the tenth days of the school year and come off on the twentieth day simply because there have been more days of school and they’ve been present.

Sigmon said she has only been told that the information is being gathered; no punitive measures have been given for students who are chronically absent.

Author: Duane Childers

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