Site selected for DCSD ‘Project A’
By Melissa Rollins, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
After several hours-long executive sessions, the Darlington County School District made a motion Sept. 18 to enter into a contract for property purchase for ‘Project A’. The board was mum on what ‘Project A’ is, though they have been in search of property on which to build a new school in both Lamar and Hartsville.
Boardmember Maureen Thomas made the motion and the vote was unanimous.
Audrey Childers, DCSD Public Information Officer, released a statement at the end of the meeting.
“Tonight the board voted to authorize the acting superintendent to enter into a contract to purchase property for Project A as discussed in tonight’s executive session, with a copy of the contract to be made available to the public in accordance with the SC Freedom of Information Act,” Childers said. “We will wait to release the transaction details, including seller’s name, property location, or the sales price, until the negotiations are completed and the deed is recorded. Releasing the information before then could impact ongoing negotiations. Once the deed is recorded, we will release the information as required by the SC Freedom of Information Act.”
The public has anxiously waited for information about where the three new schools will be built. The only facility that will be built on an existing school site is the one in Darlington that will combine Cain Elementary School and Brunson-Dargan Elementary School.
The new school in Hartsville will replace Washington Street Elementary and West Hartsville Elementary.
Lamar’s new school will combine Spaulding Elementary and Lamar Elementary.
In other business, the board heard from consultant Dr. Rainey Knight about the search for the district’s next superintendent.
In Knight’s proposed timeline, a new superintendent would be selected by March of 2018.
“This timeline outlines everything that I think we need to do,” Knight said. “This month we will do the initial meeting with the board (and) finalize the timeline. Then we’ll determine the role of the board; that can be ongoing but the board can be as involved as you want to be, regarding the process you want to use.”
Knight was involved in the last superintendent search for DCSD. She said that they could use some of the same parameters and tools or start from scratch. One thing Rainey suggested was using more technology this time around, such as creating an online brochure and application packet, as well as involving more of the community than just parents who may be in and out of schools on a regular basis.
“We did (a survey) before and you may want to do it again,” Knight said. “It is getting the will of the people, if you will; teachers, staff members, principals, school improvement council, parents, community members. It is saying, what are they are looking for in a superintendent? What do you want to see in a superintendent for Darlington County? So, you’re looking at personal qualities like a good communicator…someone who is willing to move here, be a part of the community…strong instructional leader…the survey would have those kinds of things in it.”
In Rainey’s timeline, the district would be ready to recruit candidates at the start of November, with the intention of selecting semi-finalists by January and introducing finalists during district meet and greets in March. Rainey said she would weed out candidates who did not meet requirements, such as superintendent certification, but that the board would be aware of each person who applied for the job. She said that while prior experience as a superintendent is often seen as a plus, she knows from her personal experience that Darlington County is a great place to grow into that leadership position.