Florence School District 1 continues search for interim superintendent

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The Florence School District One Board spent three hours in executive session Tuesday night discussing the employment of an interim superintendent and the board’s legal counsel.

Superintendent Dr. Randy Bridges resigned at the board’s November meeting. He said his last day would be Dec. 31. Dr. Bridges became superintendent in January 2015 and his contract was scheduled to end in June 2020.

Board Chair Barry Townsend said no decision was made on hiring an interim superintendent Tuesday night. He said there is, however, a sense of urgency to find an interim superintendent and would like to have one hired by January 1.

“From a school perspective, we are running out of days in the month,” Townsend said. “You ideally want to have someone in as soon as possible because every day that the interim superintendent can spend with Dr. Bridges will help in that transition and there’s definitely a sense of urgency and our goal is to make that happen as soon as possible.”

Townsend said the goal is to make a decision and take action because time is running out.

“We’d love to have someone selected and in place since we don’t have that many days left before the holiday break,” he said.

Townsend said the South Carolina School Board Association is assisting the board in finding someone to fill the position.

“They maintain a list of individuals, primarily retired superintendents, who are interested in interim positions and so we have been in discussion with them,” said Townsend.

The board’s legal representation was also discussed during Tuesday night’s executive session. Townsend said the board voted unanimously to keep Halligan Mahoney and Williams as the board’s primary legal representative.

The board did not come to a resolution at the November meeting when the legal committee recommended the following to the board:

Halligan Mahoney and Williams would be primarily responsible for the areas of procurement, construction, policies, student discipline, special education, and construction. The firm Boykin & Davis will be primarily responsible for superintendent evaluation, personnel, board training, and professional development. Local attorney, Laurence McIntosh would be primarily responsible for any existing cases that he has ongoing, as well as, local, real property needs.

This motion did not carry, with four members voting for the motion (Pipkins, Porter, McIver, and McLeod) and four against it (Caulder, Chapman, Galloway, and Townsend).

Townsend said one of the issues brought up at the November meeting was that some board members thought it was unnecessary to have two firms.

“We still have attorneys who do specialize in areas, such as our bond attorney, who will continue in that role,” Townsend said Tuesday night. “We also have a local attorney that helps us with property issues.”

Townsend said two attorneys would not cost the district twice as much money, but the idea of having representation by one firm would be simpler.

The school board will meet again Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the John T. Sullivan Board Meeting Room of the School Administration Building, located at 319 South Dargan Street. The board will continue its discussion on hiring an interim superintendent. Townsend said Wednesday’s meeting will start in executive session but will come back into open session after the board’s private discussion.