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New school board trustees sworn in

Blackmon is new chair

Posted: January 15, 2015 4:24 p.m.
Updated: January 16, 2015 1:00 a.m.
Simone T. Owens/C-I

C-I Web Extra: Blackmon’s wife, Vicki Blackmon, and his daughter, Kimberly Blackmon, hold the Bible while Blackmon is sworn in as chairman.

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The school board’s annual organizational meeting Jan. 13 began with the swearing in of new trustees and officers. Trustee Ron Blackmon is the board’s new chairman. Trustee Mara Jones chose not to seek reelection for the lead role and nominated Blackmon in her place.

“I have been on the board for 10 years now,” Jones said. “We came together as a board and I am proud to be a part of that.”

Kim DuRant was re-elected and sworn in as a trustee and the board vice chairman.

“It’s been a blessing to serve on the Kershaw County School Board for 12 years,” DuRant said. “I thank my constituents for entrusting me with four more years.”

Trustee and board chaplain Shirley Halley was also re-elected and sworn in for both positions.

Dr. Charles King, who served as a trustee once before, rejoined the board.

“I am elated to be back in the house,” King said.

Mark Sury joined the board for the first time Tuesday, but Sury has been involved with school-related business since joining.

“Sury has been a very active parent, having served on several school improvement councils for the schools that his children were attending,” Mary Anne Byrd, district communications director, said.

After the meeting’s public forum section, the board received a report on the Jackson Teen Center (JTC). Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan gave a little background on the process and how the idea of establishing the center came into being before JTC Director Brian Mayes gave the board an overview on its progress.

“We didn’t know what to look for, but kids came -- they came from everywhere,” Mayes said.

According to Mayes, the center now has over 250 registered members. Sixty to 90 members of that group come on a day to day basis. Mayes also mentioned the progress made since partnering with the Job Readiness for Teens (JRT) program.

“Since June, 60 children have received local employment, equaling to about 5,000 hours of work,” Mayes said.

Mayes said four of the teens have been accepted to college. According to Mayes, the average grade for JTC members during the first nine weeks of the school year was a “B.”

Mayes also spoke about the success of the Kershaw County Diamonds step team. So far, the team is undefeated and will be going to nationals in Daytona Beach, Fla., in April.

KCSD CFO Donnie Wilson presented positive news on November 2014’s financials.

“The district has maintained a healthy fund balance despite spending $2 million of the beginning fund balance through November, and still remains at a very healthy 9.42 percent,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the district had $14.4 million in the bank at the end of November, which is mostly the result of property tax relief.

Morgan presented two draft legislation positions and asked the board to consider a position on calendar flexibility -- to consider revising the calendar so students could finish the fall semester in time for winter break.

“When you end the semester after Christmas break, it’s almost a microscopic snapshot of the lack of retention that happens over the summer time with the extended break,” King said. “Having flexibility to finish it up before Christmas break would make our calendar more seamless.”

Morgan said the next step will be getting dates to meet with members of the county’s legislative delegation concerning the finalized positions.

The board also approved its new schedule of meetings for the 2015 calendar. The board will next meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the district office, returning to its regular schedule.


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