Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Today's Special Board Meeting

The conference room was set up differently today, and a U-shaped table arrangement greeted the five (yes, Five - only five) members of the community who showed up for the 2019-2020 Budget General Fund Update and the revisions to numerous Policies.

Once again, sound amplification in the room was a problem. The U-shaped table arrangement was in the center of the room, and side chairs were placed neatly against a wall. As Board members talked to one another and asked questions of the ten staff members present, they often forgot to punch the button to turn on their microphones and, even when they did, their voices could not be heard.

Do they care whether they are heard? By all appearances, they do not.

I heard about 50% of the presentation by the staffer who explained the budget. I heard none of the questions asked by Board members, and none of the comments of staff seated, because their backs were to the community members and they didn't use the microphone.

After about 50 minutes, the Board moved on to the Policy revisions. At this point I was reminded of how a zebra came out. A committee was formed to design a horse. After they struggled and struggled, the end result was a zebra.

The Board nitpicked a few policies, and it was time for me to leave. I noticed the two deputy sheriffs on duty in the room today and thought, "What a waste!" But I'm glad they were there to protect us five community members (at least three of whom were teachers) from the Board and staff. Thanks, Deputies.

The policy revisions brought to the Board should have been ready for approval. Committees should have taken care of all the nitpicking. Maybe that's too much to ask.

Consider just this one - Policy LA "Education Agency Relations Goals and Objectives"

Three paragraphs were scrapped. This new one is proposed.

"The board will strive to establish and maintain positive working relationships with other public and private organizations that contribute to the educational process. This cooperation extends to the South Carolina School Boards Association, the South Carolina Department of Education, the National School Boards Association and the United States Department of Education."

Any consultant looking at that would shake his head and utter works that ought not be printed here.

"The board will strive to establish and maintain positive working relationships ...?" NO.

Better: "This board will establish and maintain positive working relationships ..."

That is a goal toward which you can measure progress. Why give a prize for "striving"? But maybe that's how education is these days. Everybody gets a blue ribbon. Just for showing up.

Maybe Richland 2 should hire me to take a red pencil to their policies. The whole revision plan is just a "make work" deal to spend money and keep people employed. I hope there was some Excedrin on the table by the coffee, soft drinks and box dinner that was set up for the board!

May 1 sick-out?

How will Richland 2 deal with teachers who knock off for the day, so that they can parade about the Capitol grounds demanding higher pay?

SC4Ed is organizing a rally for Wednesday, May 1.

I say, if a teacher is scheduled to work that day (and who isn't?), then he or she had better be in the classroom - all day. If they want to protest or march, they can do it on their own time.

And to hear them tell it, they don't have any of their "own time".

Will Supt. Davis put out a Memo - "Be at work or else!"?

The little kiddies need to be educated; right? Buses will run; cafeterias will pump out the meals. The students will be there.

Will all the teachers be at work?

They can write letters, email their state reps and make phone calls (after work, of course). The State email system works 24/7. Use it.