Berkeley County School District, South Carolina

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Berkeley County School District
Berkeley County, South Carolina
Berkeley County School District logo.jpg
District Profile
Superintendent:Dr. Rodney Thompson
Enrollment:29,092 students
Graduation rate:86.2%[1]
Number of schools:40
Budget: $223.5 million
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:Kent Murray
Board members:9
Term length:4
Berkeley County School District is a school district in South Carolina that serves Berkeley County. In the 2011-2012 school year, Berkeley County School District was the fourth-largest school district in South Carolina, serving 29,092 students in 40 schools with an operating budget of $223.5 million.[2]

About the district

Berkeley County School District is located in Berkeley County, South Carolina
Berkeley County School District is located in Berkeley County, South Carolina. The county seat of Berkeley County is Berkeley. Berkeley County is home to 177,843 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[1]

Demographics

Berkeley County underperformed in comparison to the rest of South Carolina in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 20.5 percent of Berkeley County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 24.6 percent for South Carolina as a whole. The median household income in Berkeley County was $51,476 compared to $44,623 for the state of South Carolina. The poverty rate in Berkeley County was 14.3 percent compared to 17.6 percent for the entire state.[1]

Racial Demographics, 2013[1]
Race Berkeley County (%) South Carolina (%)
White 69.1 68.3
Black or African American 25.0 27.9
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.7 0.5
Asian 2.5 1.5
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.6 1.7
Hispanic or Latino 6.1 5.3

Presidential Voting Pattern, Berkeley County[3]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 28,542 38,475
2008 27,755 36,205
2004 20,142 32,104
2000 17,707 24,796

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[4]

Superintendent

The superintendent of Berkeley County School District is Dr. Rodney Thompson, who was appointed to the position in February 2011. His annual salary is estimated to be around $170,000. In September 2014, Thompson stated his intention to resign as superintendent of the district and asked the board to be released from his contract in the summer of 2015. The decision comes in lieu of an ongoing investigation into the district's 2012 "Yes 4 Schools" referendum campaign. Three district employees, including Thompson, are currently being targeted for ethics violations and other misconduct throughout that campaign. In his request email to the board, Thompson said, "between now and the summer, I will approach everyday just as I have for the last 3½ years, giving my all to continue to improve the educational services in our district."[5]

See also: 2012 "Yes 4 Schools" referendum campaign

School board

The Berkeley County Board of Education is a nonpartisan board that consists of nine members elected to four-year terms. They serve by specific geographic district.[6]

Berkeley County Board of Education
Member District Term Ends
Kent Murray District 1 2016
Mac McQuillin District 2 2018
Phillip Obie II District 3 2016
Shannon Lee District 4 2018
Kathy Schwalbe District 5 2016
Sally Wofford District 6 2018
Wilhelmina Moore District 7 2016
Frank Wright District 8 2018
Jim Hayes District 9 2016

School board elections

See also: Berkeley County School District elections (2014)

Members of the board are elected to four-year terms on a staggered basis. Four seats were up for election on November 4, 2014. Five seats will be on the ballot in November 2016.

Public participation in board meetings

The board maintains the following policy regarding public participation in board meetings last revised in 2011:

The board of trustees believes that the public schools belong to the people who created them by consent and support them by taxation. The schools are only as strong as the support afforded them by an intelligent and informed community. The support of the people must be based upon their knowledge of, their understanding about, and their participation in the aims and efforts of the schools.


The district will achieve the following.

Encourage and foster cooperation between schools and local business and industry. The district will accomplish these objectives by recruiting business and industry personnel to serve on local school improvement councils, by having business and industry personnel serve as school volunteers or mentors, and by promoting the district and the business/school partnership program to all local businesses and industries.

Develop intelligent citizen understanding of the school district in all aspects of its operation.

Develop citizen understanding of the need for adequate financial support of a sound educational program.

Bring about citizen understanding of the need for improvement and what must be done to facilitate essential change.

Promote a genuine spirit of cooperation between the board and community in sharing leadership for the improvement of the community.[7]

—South Carolina School Board Association's website, (2011), [8]

Budget

The table below displays the budget for Berkeley County School District:[2]

Expenditures by Category
School Year Staff Expenses Student Services Operational Expenses Debt Service Other Budget Total
Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget
2013-2014 $0 0% $0 0% $212,414,492 100% $0 0% $0 0% $212,414,492
2014-2015 $0 0% $0 0% $223,579,353 100% $0 0% $0 0% $223,579,353
Averages: $0 0% $0 0% $217,996,922.5 100% $0 0% $0 0% $217,996,922.5

Teacher salaries

Berkeley County teacher salaries are based on years of experience and education attainment. A teacher can earn higher salaries by pursuing advanced degrees. The following table details the salary schedule for the 2014-2015 school year.[9]

Salary structure
Degree level Minimum salary ($) Maximum salary ($)
Bachelor's degree 31,931 52,068
Bachelor's degree + 18 hours 33,367 53,887
Master's degree 36,562 58,973
Master's degree + 30 hours 39,753 63,053
Doctorate 42,947 73,120

Schools in Berkeley County School District

Enrollment

The district served 29,092 students during the 2011-2012 school year. The district experienced a 3.5 percent increase in enrollment between 2010 and 2012. The following chart details enrollment in the district between 2010 and 2012:[10]

Total enrollment
Year Enrollment Year-to-year change (%)
2009-2010 28,107 N/A
2010-2011 28,386 1.0
2011-2012 29,092 2.5

District schools

Berkeley County School District operates 40 schools listed below in alphabetical order:[11]

Berkeley County School District Schools
School Name
Berkeley County Middle School College High School
Berkeley Elementary School
Berkeley High School
Berkeley Intermediate
Berkeley Middle School
Boulder Bluff Elementary School
Cainhoy Elementary School Middle School
Cane Bay Elementary School
Cane Bay High School
Cane Bay Middle School
College Park Elementary School
College Park Middle School
Cross Elementary School
Cross High School
Daniel Island School
Devon Forest Elementary School
Goose Creek High School
Goose Creek Primary School
Hanahan Elementary School
Hanahan High School
Hanahan Middle School
Henry E. Bonner Elementary School
Howe Hall AIMS Elementary School
J. K. Gourdin Elementary School
Macedonia Middle School
Marrington Elementary School
Marrington Middle School School of the Arts
Sangaree Elementary School
Sangaree Intermediate
Sangaree Middle School
Sedgefield Intermediate
Sedgefield Middle School
St. Stephen Elementary School
St. Stephen Middle School
Stratford High School
Timberland High School
Westview Elementary School
Westview Middle School
Westview Primary School
Whitesville Elementary School

Academic performance

The South Carolina Department of Education administers annual tests to district students called the South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (SC PASS). These tests assess the proficiency of district students in five academic subjects including reading, math, science, social studies and writing. The following table details the percentage of students who met and exceeded proficiency levels on the SC PASS during the 2013-2014 school year:[12]

SC PASS Scores, 2013-2014[13]
Subject Meets standard (%) Exceeds standard (%)
Reading 76.4 42.3
Math 73.6 34.6
Science 71.4 25.0
Social Studies 78.8 38.8
Writing 76.0 35.6

Issues

2012 "Yes 4 Schools" referendum campaign

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating Berkeley County School District officials as a result of a 2012 referendum campaign meant to build five new schools and renovate 29. The $198 million referendum, which was approved by voters, added "$60 to the tax bill on a $150,000 house for three years starting in 2013, [double] that amount from 2016 until 2023, then [go] back to $60 for three more years," according to a district report. The investigation targeted district employee Amy Kovach, Superintendent Rodney Thompson and Deputy Superintendent Archie Franchini, stating that during the development of the campaign there were ethics violations and other misconduct occurring throughout. Allegations made also stated the three violated the law by working on the "Yes 4 Schools" campaign during district time and using district resources. Kovach was indicted by a Berkeley County grand jury on one count of "Violation of Ethics Act: Use of Public Funds to Influence the Outcome of an Election." She was placed on administrative leave with pay, and she faced a fine of up to $5,000 or one year in prison. As of February 2014, the district had spent about $1.7 million on legal fees on the case.[14]

Outside legal spending

According to a report by The Post and Courier, Berkeley County School District lead the state in outside legal spending. A large contributing factor was that, since 2011, the district had spent $1.7 million on legal fees as a result of an ongoing investigation into ethics violations in the 2012 "Yes 4 Schools" building referendum campaign. Collectively, South Carolina school districts spent $22 million on legal assistance since 2011 as of March 2014. This was an average of nearly $100,000 per year per district. The legal-related data was gathered by The Post and Courier through Freedom of Information Act requests filed with South Carolina's 81 county-level school districts.[15]

Lawsuit against Board Chairman Kent Murray

In June 2013, Nancy Corbin, Linda Riney and former board member Terry Hardesty filed a lawsuit against Board Chairman Kent Murray, stating that their first and 14th amendment rights were violated at a school board meeting when Murray prohibited comments about the district's ongoing investigation regarding its 2012 "Yes 4 Schools" referendum campaign. Murray said the move was an attempt to "protect the integrity of the board’s decision-making process and ensure the ability to provide due process to our employees.” Murray also stated that the change to the meeting agenda was at the discretion of lawyers involved with the case. In September 2013, the board made the decision to lift the ban on comments about the campaign. The time for public commentary was also doubled, speakers were allowed to talk about district-level executives and a provision allowing the chairman to let people speak longer than three minutes was modified. According to Hardesty, "the change in policy, from [his] perspective, means that they figured out there’s something wrong."[16]

Contact information

Berkeley County School District logo.jpg
Berkeley County School District
229 East Main Street
Moncks Corner, SC 29461
Phone: (843) 899-8600

See also

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 United States Census Bureau, "Berkeley County, South Carolina," accessed July 28, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Berkeley County School District, "Budget Information," accessed December 15, 2014
  3. South Carolina State Election Commission, "Election Results," accessed August 19, 2014
  4. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  5. The Berkeley Independent, "Thompson to resign as school superintendent," September 23, 2014
  6. Berkeley County School District, "Board of Education," accessed November 20, 2014
  7. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  8. SCSBA Policies Online, "Public Relations Goals and Objectives," July 26, 2011
  9. Berkeley County School District, "Berkeley County School District Teacher Salary Schedule 2014-2015," accessed November 20, 2014
  10. South Carolina State Department of Education, "Average Daily Membership and Attendance," accessed November 19, 2014
  11. South Carolina Department of Education, "Berkeley County School District," accessed November 20, 2014
  12. South Carolina State Department of Education, "Report Cards," accessed November 19, 2014
  13. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named scores
  14. The Post and Courier, "Berkeley Schools communications director indicted on ethics charge," February 11, 2014
  15. The Post and Courier, "Berkeley County leads state in outside legal spending by school districts," March 29, 2014
  16. The Post and Courier, "Berkeley County school board changes policy, allows public to speak freely again at meetings," September 25, 2013