Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Not even one Board member

Last night there was an educational reform presentation at the Sandhills Library. It was sponsored by State Representatives Ivory Thigpen (House District 79) and Kambrell Garvin (District 77). Joining them at the front of the room was Michael Anzelmo, Chief of Staff to S.C. House Speaker Jay Lucas, and Joanie Lawson, Government Relations Specialist at the South Carolina Education Association.

I'd like to say that the third-floor library auditorium was full. I'd like to say it was half-full. A quarter-full? There were about thirty in the audience, with the majority appearing to be teachers and members of SC for Ed. The youngest member of the audience was 5, and he was very well behaved while the "grown-ups" talked for 90 minutes.

As I looked around, I did not see one Richland 2 School Board member. (If I missed you, my apologies.)

Rep. Thigpen had told me about this meeting on March 25, or I wouldn't have known of it. Although it was being held at the library, it was not on the library's online calendar. And it wasn't on the Richland 2 calendar.

S.C. House Bill 3759 has been sent to the S.C. Senate, where it will be considered while the Senate works up its own Bill, S. 419. This legislative session will end early in May.

If you are a parent, student or taxpayer, you'll want to pay attention to this educational reform bill. Now is the time to contact your State Senator and express your comments and requests.

At the March 25 educational reform presentation, sponsored by Sen. Mia McLeod, there was a comment that South Carolina and Mississippi are fighting hard for the bottom ranking of Education. Should it be that way? For how much longer?

If you are a teacher in Richland 2, let me hear your stories about your classrooms and discipline. Is it as bad as the rumors? Your privacy and confidentiality are safe with me.

Rep. Thigpen is planning another meeting on educational reform. I'll get the details on April 4 and publish them.

What would YOU call this?

Let's say a person walked into your business, sat down at a desk and started answering the phone and writing checks on your business account. What would you do?

Or let's say a person bought a badge, pinned it on the front of his shirt and started writing tickets to jaywalkers? What would you do?

Or a person walked into a bank, hopped over the counter, cleaned out the till and walked out?

Or let's say a person took an oath of office when she wasn't legally entitled to, and then sat in a selected chair at public meetings, heard confidential student matters, voted on them, or maybe even ran meetings?

When a person assumes duties in a "public body" (ex., state, city, county government; school board) to which she is not entitled and is allowed to do so unchallenged by other equal members of that public body, what would YOU call this?

There isn't just one person who has assumed such duties. There are two such persons. And right here on the Richland 2 School Board.

The problem is that, when each took the oath of office on November 13, 2018 and entered upon official duties, neither was eligible to do so - under South Carolina law! Section 8-13-1110(A).

Neither had filed the required Statement of Economic Interests with the South Carolina Ethics. Commission. Each filed that Statement on December 4, 2018. Neither has taken the oath of office after filing the Statement.

Therefore, neither is legally on the Board. Yet there they sit.

This continues to be a problem not only for the two women there illegally, but now also for the five legal members of the Board who are doing nothing to stop them. And will the problem overflow to the Superintendent?

Couldn't he - shouldn't he - advise the five legal members of the Board that Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes need to be sworn in?

Doing so will force the District to acknowledge that it has been operating since November 13, 2018 with two persons improperly involved in Board matters. Many votes will have to be undone. Some matters concerning students will be reversed.

What can you do? Email or phone Board members (names and phone numbers on Richland 2's website) and tell them to fix this now.