Changes to Beaufort County School Board's policy governance model months away

rheaton@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 4, 2013 

  • In other action:

    • The board took no action after an hourlong closed session to discuss personnel matters.
    • The board named Jim Beckert and Michael Rivers to the Beaufort-Jasper Academy for Career Excellence school board. The two will serve with Earl Campbell, who is the chairman of that board. Paul Roth was named an alternate. The academy is run jointly by Beaufort and Jasper counties and provides students with technical education.

Any changes in the way the Beaufort County Board of Education does business will be made after a new superintendent is named, the board decided at a meeting Friday.

The current "policy governance" model, adopted by the board in 2008, gives it the authority to set policies, but leaves day-to-day operations in the superintendent's hands.

Board chairman Bill Evans said Tuesday the model needs to be modified because there have been occasions it has not benefited the board.

But when the model came up Friday as part of conversations on what the board will discuss at its Jan. 11-12 work sessions, Evans and others said it wouldn't be proper to change it without a new leader in place.

Board member Mike Sanz urged the panel to discuss the issue at the upcoming work session.

"Presently the superintendent's role is not what it should be," Sanz said. "I think -- control might not be the right word -- but I think the superintendent has too much control over the school board. That needs to be revised."

Board member Earl Campbell disagreed.

"The superintendent has never had control over the school board," he said.

Laura Bush said new members need to familiarize themselves with the current system before deciding it should be changed.

"For a new board member to come in and make the statement that policy governance is not working, you need to be working within policy governance to make that decision," she said. Board member Michael Rivers agreed.

Bush and other members said it simply wasn't the right time to make a change. Ads for the superintendent's position have already been placed, and candidates have been told the model is how the district operates. Changing it now would damage the board's credibility, Bush said.

After some discussion, the board voted 9-2 to delay reviewing the model. Sanz and JoAnn Orischak voted against the motion.

Evans said he is hopeful the topic could be addressed in the spring, shortly after a new superintendent is named but not formally on the job.

"I hope it would be done before July," he said. "I'd like to see it done in April. I don't think it should happen without the new superintendent involved."

Related content

  1. Evans elected school board chair; Jan. 2, 2013
  2. Shaw's absence could be discussed at Beaufort County School Board meeting; Jan. 3, 2013

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