by Jay Lamm
LOUISBURG — Franklin County Schools Superintendent Eddie Ingram is heading to a new job in Darlington, S.C.
The Darlington County Board of Education voted 5-3 in a specially called board meeting Monday night to make Ingram the new superintendent there.
Ingram will replace Dr. Rainey Knight, who is retiring after 14 years.
Darlington Board Chairman Warren Jeffords contacted Ingram with the news. Jeffords then announced that Ingram had accepted the offer of a three-year, $160,000-per-year contract.
Ingram’s salary in Franklin County is $140,162, according to the Franklin County Schools finance office.
Ingram released a statement Monday morning announcing his July 1 retirement from Franklin County Schools before he begins in South Carolina July 15.
Ingram was chosen over two other finalists.
As the new superintendent of the Darlington County School District, he will be in charge of 23 schools, compared to 15 in Franklin County, and nearly 10,500 students, compared to about 8,600 in Franklin County. Each system has an estimated $70 million annual operating budget.
“Our school system has made great strides during Eddie’s tenure of leadership and we will certainly miss him,” said Gil Johnson, chairman of the Franklin County School Board. “I congratulate him on his retirement and wish him well in his new endeavors.”
Ingram has worked in public education in North Carolina for 32 years.
In the statement to staff and teachers Monday, Ingram said, “I regret the timing of this. This correspondence is to inform that I will be retiring from N.C. Public School Service.”
In the letter he outlined accomplishments that have made him proud, including:
•implementation of the Franklin County Early College High School,
•18-percent increase in graduation rates,
•35-percent decrease in out-of-school suspension rates,
•1.5-percent decrease in dropout rates and
•transition of high schools from turnaround status to schools of distinction.
In the letter he recognized the support of Franklin County voters for the $53 million bond referendum passed in 2008.
“I take no specific credit for any of the things listed, but rather it is the collective work of the dedicated professionals of Franklin County Schools,” he wrote.
“... Change is good, and I am confident that our school district will achieve even greater heights in the years to come.”
When reached Monday morning, Ingram said, “I am honored to have served as the Superintendent of Franklin County Schools since 2009.
“Both of my children received a quality education from the school system. This is a great professional opportunity for me at this time.”
Discussion regarding the search for a new Franklin County Superintendent will take place at a specially called meeting Thursday at 7 p.m., along with approving an interim budget and other items.