Tuesday, April 30, 2019

4/30/19 School Board Meeting - Part 2

During the public participation segment of tonight's Richland 2 School Board meeting several women spoke about the cell tower that is to be built on the grounds of Kelly Mill Middle School.

What the Board could have explained is whether the tower is already a "done deal". Instead, they hide behind a policy of not commenting on anything a speaker has to say.

This leaves the speaker(s) without any answers.

Watch the video of tonight's meeting when it shows up on YouTube in a few days. You want to skip past the lengthy period of time devotes to student recognition.

When my turn to speak came, I beat down on the Board and the Superintendent for kowtowing to the teacher mob and closing schools tomorrow, May 1. I said that the right course of action by the Superintendent would have been to direct principals to deny requests for May 1st personal leave after a certain number (say, five) was reached.

The job, the responsibility, the obligation of Richland School District Two is to educate the students. It is not to kowtow to teachers. It is not to let the teacher-mob run the schools. It is to prevent the teachers (or anyone else) from interfering with education of the students.

When I shifted gears just after the one-minute mark (with two minutes remaining to me) to the illegally of McKie being on the board, she shut me down. When I asked for my remaining time, she told me to put it in writing.

So what I learned is that there is some unwritten rule that she can pull out of purse at-will and shut down a speaker.

Tomorrow I will demand an explanation from Supt. Davis and a reference to any written policy that allowed McKie to cut me off, when I began to speak on a different topic. The Board Policy on public participation makes no mention of such a limit.

I immediately considered this an infringement on free speech. Maybe a good call tomorrow will be to the ACLU. Or maybe I'll win the lottery and will be able to afford to sic my own attorney on Richland 2.

So, beware of the Board, if you choose to suit up and bravely protest anything at Richland 2. Stick to one topic, and plan ahead to say what you want in 2 minutes and 59 seconds.

4/30/19 School Board Meeting - Part 1

There is so much to write about tonight's Richland 2 School Board meeting that I'll break it up into parts.

The most important announcement this evening was the resignation of Trustee Lindsay Agostini from her office as Secretary of the Board. She will continue as a Trustee on the School Board, but I wouldn't be surprised if she later decides to resign from the Board.

Earlier this month she was asked to sign some board documents related to the bonds of District Two. Apparently there was some language in the documents about Amelia McKie as Board Chair. In the Board member comments near the end of the meeting Mrs. Agostini mentioned the continuing uproar about McKie's indebtedness to the South Carolina Ethics Commission, which now stands at $51,850 and no payments on it by McKie.

I am not the only one complaining about McKie.

Mrs. Agostini also mentioned South Carolina Code of Laws §8-13-1110(A), which McKie violated on November 13, 2018, when she illegally took the oath of office. There is a huge question about the very real possibility that McKie is not even a legal member of the board.

Mrs. Agostini sought personal legal advice from her own attorney regarding personal liability for signing the board documents and, upon advice of her legal counsel, she decided against signing.

This is serious! Every board member should be investing in his own attorney's advice. Anything that McKie is touching will be tainted, should it eventually be determined that she did not legally join the board on November 13, 2018.

I thanked Mrs. Agostini for the fine job she has done and is doing on the board. She, along with one other board member, has the highest integrity on the board. She is often over-ruled (voted against) and disregarded when she raises important points during discussions. She's fighting a losing battle with the board, due to the current make-up of it.


Richland 2 has just announced that schools will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, May 1st.

To read the full announcement, go to www.Richland2.org

To quote part of the announcement: "Unfortunately, on Tuesday afternoon the number of requested absences reached a point that any last-minute absences would undermine our ability to provide adequate coverage at our schools. Therefore, we can no longer ensure that the school day could proceed in a safe and secure manner with minimum disruption."

Well, it's official. The inmates have taken over the asylum!!!

What would have been wrong with denying a request for personal leave, once the number of requests approached the ability to conduct the business of education.

The School Board must have approved. Tonight's School Board meeting starts at 5:00PM with a 30-minute budget update. Then a one-hour Executive Session will be held. And then the fun begins at 6:30PM.

I think this is a meeting all will want to attend. Don't leave early. Stay to the end. You don't want to miss it.

McKie still owes $51.850

Amelia McKie still owes $51,850 to the South Carolina Ethics Commission. She is past any period of appeal. This is how much she owes and must pay.

There won't be any "deals" now. The Ethics Commission will attempt to collect from her, as it no doubt has already tried. Next step will be to turn the debt over to the South Carolina Department of Revenue.

The Department of Revenue has two programs for collecting debt - the Set Off Debt Program and the Governmental Enterprise Accounts Receivable Collections (GEAR) Program. How far could the DOR go in collecting a debt? The DOR has a wide variety of debt-collection methods and tools, including court action and seeking judgments.

It would be a lot cleaner to work out a payment plan with the Ethics Commission and comply with it.

McKie continues to act as Chair of the Richland 2 School Board, in spite of issues raised about the legitimacy of her position on the board.

She was elected to the board on November 6, 2018, and she took the oath of office on November 13 in violation of S.C. Code of Laws §8-13-1110(A). She was not eligible to take the oath of office on that day because she had not filed the required Statement of Economic Interests Report with the South Carolina Ethics Commission. The law is crystal clear.

She did file that required Statement on December 4. Upon doing so, she became eligible to take the oath of office. But she has not taken the oath of office since becoming eligible.

Thus, she is not legally on the board. Because she is not legally on the Board, she cannot serve as Board Chair.

Yet the five legal members of the board allow her to do so.

What's important here? Integrity. Responsibility. Transparency.

The right action for Mrs. McKie would be to step away from the Board Chair role and even step off the board until she cleans up her financial mess. The five legal members of the board shouldn't have to force her to do, but they may have to.