School District Divided After Superintendent’s Contract Isn’t Renewed

Blackville, SC (WJBF) – A school district divided…

Blackville Hilda Public Schools (BHPS) School Board members decided months ago not to renew Superintendent Teresa Pope’s contract after a decade on the job.

Many people in the community are not happy about this choice and say they are going to fight it until the end.

Dr. Pope’s last day on the job is set for June 30th. This is not a decision she made, but something the School Board pushed through.

Monday night, community members showed their support for the longtime Superintendent by showing up to a special called meeting to have their voices heard, and things got pretty heated.

“We have a school board that doesn’t seem to want her, but the constituents that elected the school board wants her. She’s done a terrific job since she’s been here,” said Ted Bellinger, with the Concerned Citizens of Blackville.

Emotions ran high as BHPS School Board supporters and Superintendent supporters clashed outside of the board’s special called meeting.

“I listen to you all and y’all want to sugarcoat and I’m not going to sugarcoat. She has not done the job period,” Bill Deloach yelled to one of Dr. Pope’s supporters.

Deloach, who is running to be elected on to the school board, says it’s time for a change.

A system that is usually supposed to work together is completely divided over the decision not to renew Pope’s contract.

“Under her leadership, we have failed. I said it once, and I will say it again, we have failed under her leadership,” Deloach continued.

Supporters of Dr. Pope surrounded her as the board met behind closed doors to discuss what they called “contractual issues”.

“She’s being treated unfair. No one has been given a reason as to why they did not renew her contract,” said Ann Parnell, in defense of Dr. Pope.

Several students showed up to show their love for Dr. Pope, “I’m here to support Doctor Pope, because she supports us,” Michayla Davis said.

After an hour and a half, the board announced they would not take any action before the Dr. Pope’s contract expires in June, in what people in the crowd called a small victory.

Dr. Pope declined to comment on the issue. We asked board members if they cared to comment, but they declined, as well.

The BHPS School Board website says board members have selected 3 finalists for Superintendent. The board plans to present these candidates to the public and staff on March 3rd they also plan to choose the next superintendent in March.

Continue to Count on WJBF News Channel 6 as we follow this story.

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