Darlington County School Board discuss disaster plan and Penny Sales Tax timeline

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – The Darlington County School Board (DCSB) discussed a plan for natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew and technology during a work session Friday.

School Administrators say power outages from Hurricane Matthew made it difficult for educators to teach in the weeks following the storm.

Especially since the County issued one laptop to each High School student this year.

Connell Delaine, Darlington County School Board Chairman explained, “The technology came pretty fast. Teachers are being trained to improvise and be able to teach is there is a problem with the technology.”

The Board brainstormed ways to continue teaching when technology is down. The goal is to make sure teachers are flexible and able to switch from technology to traditional textbooks.

“Hurricane Matthew took us to the test. When you lose power or resources based on where we are today. We have to continuously teach and educate,” Delaine adds.

The School Board also discussed the plans for the Penny Sales Tax County residents voted for in November to build three new schools.

Board officials developed a timeline for construction to build the schools over the next three years.

Here is a look at the perspective timeline to 2018:

January – February 2017 – Perform Interviews for Architects

  • The board hopes to thoroughly vet the contractors

February – March 2017 – Review and Hire an Architect

  • Begin discussions about construction manager

March – April 2017 – Site Selections

May – September 2017 – Begin Land Surveys

  • Subsoil Investigations, Wetlands, Etc.

September – December 2017 – Develop and Review 3D Models

January – February 2018 – Select Contractor

Dr. Eddie Ingram, Superintendent says the Board has a real opportunity to enhance the education in the County. Board members are interested in partnerships with the Governors School and STEM programs.

Dr. Ingram said, “Designing schools around the skills that are necessary to be successful in the 21st century, in my opinion, are very critical and key.”

After the planning phase next year, the Board will hold public hearing to discuss school locations in Darlington, Lamar and Hartsville.

Ingram says when they begin discussing site selections they will be open to hearing from parents and people that live in those areas—especially since the community voted on the referendum.

“The community supported the bond referendum. It’s only right that they have a say on central things that are important to children of the district,” said Dr. Ingram.