Friday, December 9, 2022

Exposing Newsguard


                                                                               Click to Play

Watch this Fireside Chat with Dennis Prager and Marissa Streit, CEO of PragerU.

They rip Newsguard. Listen to Dennis distinguish between The Left and Liberals. 

Find out who the most dangerous man in America is.

This will be 30 minutes well-spent.

Then go to PragerU.com and sign the petition

Thursday, December 8, 2022

CUBE Conference in Miami

Remember the infamous CUBE Conference in Miami that departing Richland 2 trustees were going to treat themselves to in September? The one that got postponed, thanks to Hurricane Ian?

Well, it's happening right now. December 8-10, 2022.

How many Richland 2 trustees are there? Will we get a report at the school board meeting on December 13th?

On July 1, 2022 each of the seven trustees' slots on the board became entitled to $7,000 in spending money for travel and training. Those trustees were Holmes, Manning, McKie, Caution-Parker, Agostini, Scott, and McFadden.

How much money was left in the accounts of Holmes, Manning, McKie, and Caution-Parker on November 21, when the term of the new school board members (Nash, Porter, Trapp, and Washington) started?

Maybe it's about time to file a FOIA request  for that information.

The new trustees should have have whatever is left over from the $7,000 awarded on July 1. They don't get the full $7,000. 

Will the superintendent provide a report to the board (in public) for each account, listing how much was spent during the period 7/1/2022-11/21/2022 by the four who left the board and how much is remaining for the four new trustees?


Tuesday, December 6, 2022

McKie fined $1550 by Ethics Commission

Former Richland 2 school board member Amelia McKie has been fined $1,550 by the South Carolina Ethics Commission. The Decision & Order is dated November 30, 2022.

McKie had failed to report her 2020 Richland 2 income of $9,600 on her 2021 Statement of Economic Interests (SEI). Her original 2020 SEI was filed on January 12, 2021. 

After a complaint was filed in October 2021 with the Ethics Commission, McKie amended her SEI on December 23, 2021 and reported her Richland 2 income.

In April 2022 the Ethics Commission found probable cause and the complaint became public. A hearing was scheduled for June 2022, but it was postponed until October 20, 2022. The Commission held a hearing into this matter on October 20th and began deliberations.

McKie told the three hearing commissioners that she did not intend to violate the Ethics Act and that she had misinterpreted the requirement of the Act.

McKie didn't seem to have any problem with interpreting the Act correctly in previous years, because she reported her Richland 2 income on her SEIs for Report Years 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015. The "Report Year" is for the previous calendar year.

Under the Decision & Order, McKie is "Publicly Reprimanded" and is fined $1,000 for the violation plus an administrative fee of $550, totaling $1,550. The full amount is payable within 90 days of her receipt of the Decision & Order. 

Should she fail to pay the full amount within those 90 days, a Judgment for $2,550 will be entered in the appropriate court.

McKie has ten days from her receipt of the Decision & Order to appeal to the full Ethics Commission.

Should she appeal, a transcript of the October 20, 2022 Hearing will be created. I am especially interested in reading the transcript for anything she had to say about being harassed and followed. I shall carefully scrutinize those remarks for their truthfulness.

A Judgment of $51,750 was filed in the Richland County Common Pleas Court on July 10, 2019. Her balance owed to the Ethics Commission, prior to this new fine, is in the neighborhood of $57,100.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Board Members' Email "To All" OK?

The Inspector General's Report hit the previous Richland 2 Board hard about the use of "Reply All" in emails. The IG apparently felt that such use violated the FOIA statute in South Carolina.

I'm not a lawyer, and I disagree. 

Board members should be allowed to express opinions and discuss board business by email, including sending email to all the other board members and using "Reply All". This would save considerable time, because they can be educated between meetings. They should be careful not to solicit voting commitments or to "survey" other members about future votes.

Such emails would be subject to disclosure under FOIA requests, and such emails should not be used to avoid discussion in public at board meetings.

All board members now have and should be using the District's official email system. Personal email accounts should not be used to discuss official school district business. 

Because two board members used personal email addresses for 4-10 years, the school district should be proactive in securing those GMail accounts and preserving ALL emails related to official business. NOW is the time for the District to take action on this. It should not wait for any future FOIA request. Those two board members should not delete any  official emails from those accounts -ever. And they should not close those email accounts.

That problem with those two personal email accounts could have been fixed four years ago, but it wasn't.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

BeSMART MOU w/Richland 2 - worthless?

What are the odds that a student will be killed by a gun in a school in the United States? 

Would you believe 1 in 5,000,000?

An article in The Boston Globe (5/27/22) reported, "Yet the risk of such fatalities at school is actually low. ... with more than 50 million school children in America, the likelihood is about 1 in 5 million that a child will be killed by an armed assailant at school in any given year."

I'm not a fan of anything to do with Michael Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety. In my book, it is an anti-gun organization, not an anti-gun-violence organization.

At the November 29th school board meeting, two representatives of BeSMART which, along with MOMs Demand Action, is aligned with Everytown, spent much of their three minutes asking "Did You Know..." questions. They didn't provide any answers. It was as "flat" presentation without any energy. If you want to watch it, go to (1:40:19) at   https://livestream.com/richland2/events/10692311/videos/233986166

It was a year ago that Richland 2, with great fanfare, announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with other area school districts, healthcare facilities, and law-enforcement. But it seems to me that the incidence of guns at Richland 2 schools has increased.

BeSmart has given away lots of gun locks. Gun locks are not the answer. Education is the answer.

It is the mindset of students that must be changed. Safe handling of firearms will reduce some injuries, but stopping the kids from bringing guns to schools or stealing them from Richland County vehicles is what is needed. And stopping them from using guns to settle differences and in crimes will not be accomplished by gun locks.

School administrators know the kids most likely to bring guns to schools. Identify them. Watch them like hawks. Engage with them. 

Is that profiling? Even if it is, do it. Are we going to reduce gun violence or just talk about it?

Saturday, December 3, 2022

District Investigations - Who is involved?

Remember when the news came out about the Blazers' football team scandal of Ridge View High School?

There are many unanswered questions. The public wants to know the answers. Parents want to know the answers. I'm sure members of the football team would like to know the answers. 

And I'm also sure that there are some faculty and administrators who would like to know the answers.

What are just some of the questions?

- Who was RSD2's P.I. for the football players' residency investigation?

- Does Richland School District Two (RSD2) have a private investigator on retainer or salary?

- Why does RSD2 have a P.I.?

- Under what conditions is a P.I. used?  

- How much is a P.I. paid?

- Who EXACTLY determines when they are to follow and whom they are to follow?  

- Does the School Board have to approve the target of the investigation or does the District Office (DO) decide on their own?

- Are they placing electronic surveillance or tracking devices on students', faculty, or staff automobiles?  

- Is the P.I. (or any RSD2 staff) driving by teachers' homes when they call in sick, to see if their cars are in the driveways?

- Are the DO and their PI able to track teachers' movements because they force teachers to use their personal cell phones as part of district computer safety protocols?

- Is having a PI standard practice for other districts?

- To what extent is RSD2 Safety & Security Director Marq Claxton involved as a P.I. or in the hiring of one? He is a former NYPD officer and detective. 

Do you have other questions? Post them below in Comments or email them to gusphilpott@gmail.com

Mold already on the RVHS Football Scandal

How quickly the scandal involving the Ridge View High School Blazers football team was buried! 

What is really the whole story? Who is investigating? Is anyone investigating?

Who is leading any investigation? Principal Brenda Mack (Foxworth no longer appears on the school's webpage)? Deputy Superintendent Marshalynn Franklin? Superintendent Baron Davis? Anyone?

The residency violation(s) or recruiting violation(s) should not be swept under the rug. 

The Blazers' entire football year blew up. Who was responsible?

It is the superintendent's responsibility to get to the bottom of it, and the board of trustees should demand a report with a full examination of the details. Oh, the District will want to say, "We can't talk about it; it's a human resources issue." Or, it's an Executive Session item. Wrong!

Baloney! 

Was it utter carelessness in the Administration? Not likely. Were there recruiting violations? More likely. Did people in-the-know speak up? Were they shut down?

The Inspector General's Report indicated a huge lapse in the District's policies and procedures are investigating wrong-doing. 

This makes it a Board matter.