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School AD, head football coaches to stay combined

Residents address Phase 2 issues during public forum

Posted: November 20, 2014 4:39 p.m.
Updated: November 21, 2014 1:00 a.m.

The positions of athletic director (AD) and head football coach at Kershaw County School District (KCSD) will remain combined. Lugoff-Elgin High School’s (L-EHS) currently separate AD and head football coach will be combined back into a single position at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.

The Kershaw County Board of School Trustees voted unanimously to keep the status quo on AD/football coaches during its meeting Tuesday night.

Ahead of the vote, KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan opened a discussion on the issue by advising trustees to consider the main issues with the topic.

“If you decide to split the positions, there are a couple of key issues and probably the first one has to do with cost,” Morgan said.

He said the estimated cost difference would be significantly more if the positions were separated.

“Do you want to incur costs involved in making a change because, right now, we don’t have a clue what the budget looks like,” Morgan said. “We don’t have a clue what our revenue looks like.”

Trustee Nissary Wood said she looked at the split for L-EHS because of the number of students there and everything an AD and head football coach does with players. However, she also talked about making the decision from an academic vs. athletics standpoint.

“I cannot in good conscious as a board member, after speaking with our teachers as well as community members, say we are going to spend $19,000 on athletics when we have too many academic problems going on right now,” Wood said.

As an example, Wood noted academic needs at one of the district’s elementary schools.

“If we don’t even have enough money in our budget to have at least a full-time library assistant -- something that is definitely an impact on 783 students -- I cannot in good conscious say that we need to split up the AD and head football coach because that’s telling our teachers that we are putting more focus on our sports than academics,” Wood said.

She also said she believes splitting the positions would be unfair to coaches of other sports.

At the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, two residents spoke during public forum to express their opinions on the recent defeat of two referenda concerning Phase 2 of the district’s facilities equalization plan.

Vic Dabney, a member of Citizens Against New Taxes, said he’s heard rumors the district still plans on closing three North Central area elementary schools despite the election’s outcome.

“Is it over, or are we going to keep fighting this battle?” Dabney asked.

“No plans have been made to close any schools or to do anything,” Board Chairman Mara Jones said a short time later. “No discussion has been made on where to go from here.”

Derial Ogburn, who identified himself as someone who supported the referenda, asked the board to continue to work to make sure schools identified in a bond construction referendum still receive improvements.

“I thought the reasoning and price was right to pay an extra $100 to 200 a year so my grandchildren could have decent facilities to go to, but the majority of Kershaw County residents rejected that,” Ogburn said. “It did not make the need go away -- the need is still here. I encourage you to put your political views aside to address the issue. There are many, out there and I encourage you to move forward.”

Jones wrapped up the discussion about the board’s future actions by assuring that the board currently has no definite plans, but will begin working together to decide the next steps.

 “There are lots of rumors flying around about what we are going to do and what we are not going to do, but nobody on this board has even convened for us to make any decisions as we move forward,” Jones said. “This board is going to take a positive manner and step back and look where we are at.”

Other orders of business included a breakdown of state and federal school report card results; approval of a new elective AP U.S. History Seminar course; proposed changes for the 2015-16 school calendar; and approval of an agreement for land near North Central Middle School for the Kershaw County Library to place a modular building for use as a branch location.

The board’s next meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Dec. 9 at the district office.

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