DARLINGTON, S.C. – Darlington County Board of Education members got updates on several operational items during a board retreat Monday.
Topics ranged from curriculum and instruction, facility needs, communication, finance and other items as officials eye the start of a new school year in August.
Superintendent of Education Tim Newman presented an overview on test scores and other data and how that relates to state school report cards and other measures of school success.
“My expectation is that all of our schools should be improving,” Newman said. “I think overall, as a district we’re trending in the right direction.”
During the discussion, members got an update on the effort to name a new elementary school being built in Darlington. The new school will replace two existing elementary schools: Brunson-Dargan Elementary School and J.L. Cain Elementary School.
Darlington County voters approved three new elementary schools in a $60 million bond referendum in 2016. A one-cent sales tax approved by voters will fund the construction of the schools. New schools also will be built in Hartsville and Lamar.
The naming of the new Darlington school became something of an issue earlier this year. Some people in the community want to preserve the names of the two existing schools, both named for prominent Darlington educators of the past. Others want to go in a different direction with a new name.
The district is seeking to give the community a voice in the naming decision. A School Identify Committee made up of parents, faculty and community members from each of the two existing schools has narrowed a list of potential names from 24 to six, including the two existing names.
Other possible names include East Darlington Elementary, First Street Elementary, Dr. Willie Boyd Sr. Elementary School and C.C. Wearing Elementary School. Boyd is a retired career educator with the district. District officials are putting together biographical information about Wearing.
Plans are to list all six names on a ballot that will be presented to Darlington residents after school starts in August. The official ballot still must be approved by the School Identity Committee.
The school board will make the final decision on the name for the new school.
District officials plan to follow a similar process for naming the new schools in Hartsville and Lamar, district spokesperson Audrey Childers said.
The board also got an update on an array of capital projects in the district. Those included projects already completed, projects currently underway and projects that are forthcoming, said Larry Johnson, assistant superintendent for administration and operations. The projects include roofing projects, air conditioning updates, renovations, painting, maintenance and grounds projects, among others.