Southside Ashpole Elementary will have to wait before learning who will run the school as part of the Innovative School District.

ISD Superintendent Eric Hall during the February State Board of Education meeting said neither the Romine Group nor Achievement for All Children met expectations to manage the first ISD school. The decision was based on the evaluations of SchoolWorks, an education consulting group.

“We were determined not to make a recommendation merely for the sake of expediency. This is far too important,” Hall said in a news release. “We are fully committed to getting the right fit for Southside Ashpole and honoring the partnership we have with the Rowland community.”

Hall told board members he plans to negotiate with the two applicants to gain additional insight on how they intend to improve student performance at Southside Ashpole, where grade-level performance sits at 18.4 percent.

“If the negotiations with the entities do not produce the clarity and assurances we need, we will seek other options,” Hall said.

Hall said the innovative school operator position isn’t limited to education or charter management organizations, and a university, business, or nonprofit could fill the position.

“The innovative school operator is something that is going to be brand new in the landscape of education for us,” Hall said during the meeting. “We are going to start to define something that extends the boundaries of what it means to come into school operations and be a partner in this kind of work.”

The state board granted Hall’s request to waive the Feb. 15 deadline to choose an operator and gave him an additional 60 days to decide.

“The school needs to open sometime in August and a lot of other things have to happen before the school bell rings in August, so we are really closing in on the window,” Olivia Oxendine, a SBE board member, said.