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Thompson denied opportunity to hand his daughter diploma

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Thompson denied opportunity to hand his daughter diploma

Former Berkeley County Superintendent Rodney Thompson

Former Berkeley County School Superintendent Rodney Thompson will not hand his daughter her diploma Saturday when she graduates from Hanahan High School.

Thompson served as head of the district from February 2011 until April 14, when he was indicted on a misdemeanor ethics charge involving public corruption in connection with 2012’s Yes 4 Schools building campaign. He has been on paid leave from his $168,714-a-year job since then.

The charge carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and/or a fine of 500 percent of the amount at issue.

In an email obtained by The Post and Courier, Thompson’s wife, Pam Thompson, wrote that she and her daughter are disappointed that Thompson will not hand her daughter her diploma and that “her older siblings were able to have this special moment as a part of their high school commencement ceremony.”

Reached via phone Tuesday, she had no comment.

A district official confirmed that Rodney Thompson will not be on stage for the ceremony.

In the email, Pam Thompson wrote, “It just saddens me that an employee committing their time, talents and energy to the children of Berkeley County would not be able to participate in their child’s special milestone.” She goes on to say that “BCSD certainly would not allow any employee parent to participate in a commencement ceremony if it won’t allow the highest paid employee to participate.”

Thompson’s two older children graduated from Hanahan High during his tenure as superintendent and he handed them their diplomas.

Board Chairman Jim Hayes said Tuesday it is a district issue that does not involve the board.

District spokesman Chip Sturgis said, “Because Dr. Thompson is still an employee, it is a personnel issue and I cannot comment on personnel issues.”

Thompson was the second district employee indicted in connection with the building and renovation campaign. Communications Director Amy Kovach was also indicted on an ethics charge by a Berkeley County grand jury in February 2014 in connection with the campaign. A felony forgery charge, which carries a fine and up to five years in jail, was added in September. Kovach has been on paid administrative leave from her job, where her salary is $79,995, since Feb. 11, 2014.

Deputy Supervisor Archie Franchini, who district lawyers said is also under investigation in connection with the campaign, has been serving as interim superintendent since April 14.

Mike Turner, who retired from the district as assistant superintendent in 2008, will serve as interim superintendent starting June 8.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.

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