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Morgan’s contract extended to 2017

Board also votes to fire one teacher, not renew contract of another

Posted: April 9, 2015 5:10 p.m.
Updated: April 10, 2015 1:00 a.m.
C-I file photo/

KCSD Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan

The Kershaw County Board of School Trustees voted Tuesday night to extend Dr. Frank Morgan’s contract as the Kershaw County School District’s (KCSD) superintendent by one year, to June 30, 2017. In a separate vote, the board also unanimously granted Morgan a 1.5 percent salary increase, retroactive to July 1, 2014.

According to information provided by the district Wednesday morning, Morgan currently earns a base salary of $146,557. His total compensation package, including an automobile allowance and annuity, is $167,557. With the 1.5 percent increase, Morgan’s base salary would increase by $2,513 to $170,070.

The board last evaluated Morgan’s performance in December 2013, granting him a 4 percent raise at the time. KCSD Director of Communications Mary Anne Byrd said the district’s finance officer is working to amend Morgan’s contract. Byrd said the office will then work on determining the actual amount of the raise and how the retroactive portion of the increase will be paid.

As part of the action to extend Morgan’s contract, Trustee Kim H. DuRant also stipulated the board should conduct its next superintendent evaluation in the fall of 2016 of his performance during the upcoming 2015-16 school year. That vote passed unanimously.

DuRant also made the motion to extend Morgan’s contract to June 2017. Trustees voted 8-1 to extend the contract, with Trustee Dr. Charles King II voting against the measure without comment.

The two votes followed a lengthy executive session at the end of an otherwise short meeting. During the executive session, trustees discussed their evaluation of Morgan as superintendent. The board made Morgan’s raise retroactive because it had not conducted a similar evaluation since 2013.

In a press release regarding the contract extension and salary raise, district officials cited the district’s “Excellent” Absolute rating and “Good” Growth Rating on the S.C. Department of Education’s (SCDE) state report card under Morgan’s leadership. The “Good” Growth Rating was the highest in the Midlands. The district also cited its “B” 86.1 overall rating, the third highest federal accountability score for a Midlands district.

Recently, the district also received accolades for providing a “high return on its investment” -- the only Midlands district and one of only 10 in the state to receive such a mark from the Center for American Progress. Just days ago, the district was named one of the country’s best for its use of technology by the Center for Digital Education and National School Boards Association.

Other achievements under Morgan’s leadership mentioned in the press release include:

• Receiving five awards in 2014 for communication efforts from the South Carolina chapter of the National School Public Relations Association’s Rewards for Excellence Program.

• Being the only school district in South Carolina to receive two 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants this year.

• Receiving an “unmodified opinion,” the best result possible, during its annual financial audit.

• The S.C. School Boards Association named the board’s legislative outreach efforts during the 2014 legislative session as the best in the state.

• District seniors in the 2014 graduating class earning all-time record high amounts of college scholarship money ($11.6 million).

• Camden High School receiving the S.C. Association of School Administrators’ Palmetto’s Finest Award.

• North Central High School (NCHS) receiving a bronze award in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 ranking of the best high schools in the nation.

• Having 10 district schools recognized in the SCDE’s Palmetto Gold and Silver awards program for academic achievement and closing achievement gaps. NCHS was one of only 65 schools in the state to receive the gold designation for both categories, earning a “superstar” title.

• The district’s graduation rate reached an all-time high of more than 90 percent graduating in four years and close to 94 percent graduating in five years. Also, the percentage of district students passing end-of-course exams increased in three of four subjects.

• District seniors’ SAT average composite scores jumped 29 points during a year in which the percentage of test takers rose from 46 to 54 percent, the largest increase in the Midlands. District ACT scores also increased by .5 points, reaching an all time district high while outperforming the state average of the second straight year.

• District 3rd through 8th graders’ PASS scores were higher than state averages in English/Language Arts, writing and math in 15 of 18 areas, and 40 students earned perfect scores on at least one PASS section.

The press release noted Morgan’s receipt of the Jake E. Watson Award from the United Way of Kershaw County in 2014. The following month, he was named as one of three finalists for the 2015 Superintendent of the Year Award from the S.C. Association of School Adminstrators.

After the votes, Board Chair Ron Blackmon said the board had given Morgan a “meets expectations” rating.

“Which is an outstanding rating,” Blackmon continued. “Dr. Morgan met all of the district-wide goals and continues toward making the Kershaw County District an outstanding school district, and we appreciate all of your hard work you’ve done and we look forward to working with you in the future, next year and the year after.”

Morgan thanked the board for their confidence.

“It’s been my privilege and honor to work for Kershaw County, and I look forward to what we can accomplish in the future,” Morgan said. “I deeply appreciate the board’s evaluation and the extension of my contract.”

The board also unanimously voted to immediately terminate one teacher’s contract and not to renew another employee’s contract for the 2015-16 school year. Falling under “employment matters” during the executive session, in public, the employees were only referred to as “A” and “B,” with “Employee B” being the teacher whose contract the board chose to immediately terminate.

In his motion, Trustee Mark Sury described “Employee B” as an annual contract teacher. Sury moved the employee’s contract be terminated “for the reasons provided by the superintendent” in the executive session. The board offered no further explanation, nor further described the employee.

In her motion, DuRant described “Employee A” as an “induction contract teacher.” According to S.C. Department of Education regulations, such teachers possess a valid South Carolina teaching certificate, but have less than one year of public school teaching experience.

When providing a reason for the contract not to be renewed, DuRant referred to Title 59, Chapter 26, Section 40 of the S.C. Code of Laws, which covers induction contract teachers. Teachers can only be employed under induction contracts for three years. At the end of each year in the three-year period, the district may choose to employ the teacher under another induction contract, offer them an annual contract or terminate their employment. After successfully completing a three-year induction contract, teachers become eligible for employment at the annual contract level, although the district can decide to terminate their employment.

Again, the board offered no further identification of the teacher nor any further explanation of why it was not renewing the teacher’s contract.

(Coming Monday: a look at other business during Tuesday’s meeting, including a presentation by supporters of last November’s failed bond construction and penny sales tax referenda.)

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