Rock Hill school board begins voting on policy changes

08/25/2014 9:32 PM

08/26/2014 7:01 AM

For the first time in more than 15 years, the Rock Hill school board Monday night began taking steps to review policies that govern how the board itself operates.

The board took a first vote on nine “B” policies that have either been reviewed or created by a committee over the past few months.

A comprehensive board policy review hasn’t been conducted since before 1998. When AdvancEd, the organization that grants accreditation to school districts, visited Rock Hill in April, lead evaluator John Seday recommended that the board more clearly define the roles and responsibilities of administrators and the board itself.

A committee – including board members Walter Brown, Mildred Douglas and Chairman Jim Vining, Superintendent Kelly Pew and other school- and district-level administrators – began the review process and started to write new policies that are easier to understand and follow.

Monday’s vote included policies that govern the board’s goals, legal status, code of ethics and other items.

“It’s been beneficial,” said board member Jane Sharp. “Some of them are more terse, some of them are clearer than they were.”

One policy was entirely new, Vining said. It calls on the board to conduct an annual self-evaluation, facilitated by an outside organization, to help board members identify strengths and weakness, foster open communication and other such benefits.

“It’s really slogging through a lot of stuff,” board member Ginny Moe said.

Several board members, including Vining, Douglas, Brown and Sharp, have said there is a real need for this kind of review to prevent the board from overstepping its boundaries – something they all said the board has been guilty of in the past.

The review process will continue over the next few months. Earlier in the summer, Vining said he would be pleased if they were able to complete the process by the end of this year.

Also Monday, the school board named two new elementary school administrators:

• Nakia Barnes, former assistant principal at Mount Holly Elementary School, was named principal of that school.
• Bianca Chivers-White, a former teacher at Independence Elementary School, was named assistant principal at Old Pointe Elementary School.

It was more than an hour into Monday night’s meeting before the regular business could even begin because there were so many recognitions. Every elementary school student who got a perfect score on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards was recognized, as were all of the district’s teachers of the year, along with several other individuals and schools.

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