BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Berkeley County school Superintendent Dr. Rodney Thompson intends to end his tenure as district leader during the summer of 2015 as an ongoing district-wide ethics investigation continues.
On Tuesday, Thompson wrote his intentions in an email to district employees in which he said, "I feel the timing is right."
The superintendent did not give a reason, but said, "I now look forward to future opportunities that await me and my family."
Thompson's letter sent to district employees reads:
Dear Berkeley County Educators;
Over the last 3½ years I've been blessed to be associated with a very supportive Board of Education, outstanding teachers, administrators and support staff. Due to the commitment of our stakeholders, we have more than exceeded the goals set by our Board of Education and made Berkeley County a great place to live, work and educate children. Our graduation rates have grown from 67% to over 80% while our student population has grown by more than 3,000 students during this period of time. Additionally, our financial audits show that the district is fiscally stable. Our five-year building plan is moving forward and we are looking forward to completing several projects in the near future. I would like to applaud our board members for the vision they have exhibited as we are now among the top performing districts in the state.
Given the stability of our district, I feel the timing is right for me to request from the Board of Education to be released from my contract during the summer of 2015. Making this announcement now allows our Board ample time to select a replacement and I will assist with the transition as much as the Board desires. I'm very appreciative of the opportunity that I've had to lead such a talented group of educators in Berkeley County, however, I now look forward to future opportunities that await me and my family. 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.
Thanks again for your support and dedication to the students of Berkeley County,
Dr. Rodney Thompson
The State Law Enforcement Division is currently conducting the district-wide investigation. Authorities are looking into possible ethics violations during the Yes 4 Schools campaign, for the $198 million building referendum that voters passed.Former school board member Terry Hardesty says he's one of the people who informed the Attorney General's office of possible ethics violations.
Hardesty says Superintendent Dr. Rodney Thompson and other district employees should be held responsible for their actions.
"He should not be functioning as superintendent at this time, in my view,” said Hardesty.
Hardesty believes the ongoing SLED investigation should be enough for employees to not be allowed back to work.
"That's the normal process for somebody under violation. As soon as they were under investigation, they should have been put on administrative leave,” said Hardesty.
Right now authorities are investigating possible ethics violations in the district.
So far, communications director Amy Kovach is the only employee to be formally charged. She's facing two charges. Right now Kovach is accused of using public funds to influence the outcome of an election.
According to court records, Kovach was also charged with forgery of a value of less than $10,000 on September 9, 2014. She's accused of using public funds to influence the outcome of an election during the campaign to build more schools.
Hardesty said, “To me this is very serious. We've had one board member equate this to a traffic violation. I find that appalling."
Live 5 reached out to a SLED official for the names of district employees currently being investigated; his reply was that it would be inappropriate to discuss specific details of an investigation.
Thompson has not been charged in the investigation.