Student discipline is at the top of the list of goals members of the Aiken County School Board discussed Saturday morning at a special work session in the district office.

Board Chairman Keith Linter said the board would address discipline at its regular meeting Feb. 25 and testing and teacher recruitment and retention – two other goals – at later meetings.

Concerning discipline, Liner said, “I think we have a good discipline policy. There may be some inconsistencies in the implementation, and there may be some perceived things out there that aren't a reality. I'd like to step back, take a look at discipline, make sure we're comfortable with what we have in place and how it's being administered and then educate the public and our teachers.”

“I think we do a good job,” Liner continued. “I think there are some perceptions out there that we're not. If it's really a perception, then we need to put that to rest. If it's not a perception and is reality, then we need to fix it.”

Concerning testing, Cam Nuessle said he has heard from “my constituents that they're afraid we're just raising a generation of test takers.”

“I would like an evaluation of all the assessments we require as a district, the criteria, what's the followup,” he said. “I think a lot of us got a lot of feedback on the burden that testing places on the workforce.”

Vice Chairman Dwight Smith proposed changing the start time of the board's regular monthly meetings from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Other goals the board discussed are as follows:

• Continuing to expand the district's 4K program.

• Enhancing facility security.

• Promoting recruitment and retention of bus drivers.

• Providing instructional support to enhance learning.

• Continuing to work with local businesses and industries to ensure the district's graduates are meeting their workforce needs.

To close the meeting, Executive Director and Lead Search Consultant Scott Price of the South Carolina School Boards Association outlined the features of the association's superintendent search service.

If the board chose to contract with the association for a search, the association would advertise the position, set up focus groups and surveys for public and school input to determine an “ideal candidate,” and present a candidate pool to the School Board.

Price said the search process would take four to six months. He provided a sample timeline that would start in February and announce the new superintendent in May for a start date on July 1 in time for the 2020-21 school year.

The cost of the association's search would be $15,000, which could include up to an additional $4,000 in administrative costs, Price said.

Price said the board could do its own search for a new superintendent, choose not to do a search or use another consultant for a search.

King Laurence, the school district's former chief officer of administration, has been the interim superintendent since the board accepted the resignation of former Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford in September.

​Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.