Saturday, May 4, 2019

Day of personal leave or ???

How was Wednesday, May 1, 2019 counted by Richland 2 School District?

Many teachers must have requested personal leave, so they could attend the rally organized by SCforED. So many, in fact, that Richland 2, at the last minute, decided to close all the schools.

If a teacher requested a day of personal leave and got it, was she or he paid for that day? Is it in a teacher's contract to get a certain number of paid personal-leave days off?

Initially, District 2 said it would not close. So it was going to pay the teachers for their day off AND pay for substitutes and those who didn't take the day off.

But then District 2 decided to close, and everybody got a day off.

Were those approved days of personal leave still charged to the teachers who had requested them? Charged against their total personal-leave days off, I mean.

Or will District 2 forget about (cancel, rescind, void) those approved days off?

What was the cost to District 2 for that closed day? Guesses, anyone?

How much administrative time was wasted, scurrying around to find replacements and schedule substitutes and one-day transfers of other employees to cover for those teachers?

How many hourly workers (cafeteria, janitorial, transportation) did NOT get paid for that day off?

4/30/19 School Board Meeting - Part 5 Shadd on May 1st closings

The April 30, 2019 School Board meeting video-recording is available on YouTube now.

At (2:23:25) during the Board and Superintendent comments toward the end of the meeting, Trustee James Shadd commented.

I remember having a physical reaction during comments at the meeting. I knew better than to laugh out loud. I would hate to have been gaveled into submission by Amelia McKie or removed by the Richland 2 security chief (or worse, by one of the three hired Richland County deputies).

What did he say that roused my ire? Go to the YouTube video and fast-forward to 2:23:25.

District 2 schools closed "because SCforED has a rally at the State House" ...  Wow! What a reason for the District to close (how many? 27?) schools!!!

You'd think we have a bunch of labor union bosses as District School Board members!

Shadd said "...a number of teachers wanted to participate in it..." Ha-ha-ha. "a number..." of teachers. Did he know at that time how many? Let's see, "a number" would be, perhaps, eight? ten? 

I am emailing a FOIA request to Richland 2 School District for the number of personal-leave requests received, granted and denied.

Why did District schools close? Shadd said "primarily (he emphasized) for safety and security..." Who is he kidding?

The reason was because the Administration approved too many teachers' personal-leave requests and, by doing so, impaired the ability of the District to conduct a day of education!

Shadd continued, saying that the reason the District made the decision to close the schools was "to insure that the staff that would have remained as well as students, of course, would be safe..."

Shadd said he supported the decision of the school district to close and that he supports the advocacy of the teachers. He encourages parents "to exercise our understanding" and "use it as a teachable moment for their children as regard to advocacy".

Yeah, right. Teach your children that mob rule and bullying works. Is that it?

Shadd said he intended to be at the State House on May 1. What an example for a Board member!!!

He wasn't the only Board member to jump on the teachers' bandwagon. The Board is responsible to the Voters and the Taxpayers. And they need to be so reminded at the next election.

4/30/19 School Board Meeting - Part 4 - Agostini resigns as Secretary

At the April 30, 2019, Richland 2 School Board meeting Trustee Lindsay Agostini resigned at Board Secretary, a position to which she was elected by the board on June 26, 2018.

Her reasons are very important.

Watch the YouTube video of this meeting and slide the time-counter forward to (2:25:13) and listen carefully to Mrs. Agostini's statement. I mean, LISTEN CAREFULLY.

Her statement will not require you to listen to what is not said. She says it all.

On April 26, 2019 Mrs. Agostini emailed the Supt. Davis and Mrs. McKie that she was resigning as Board Secretary upon the advice of her personal legal counsel.

Mrs. Agostini explained how she arrived at her decision. In late January 2019 she was asked to sign a District document pertaining to the bond (the new half-Billion dollar bond). Because of questions in her mind about the wording of the document, Mrs. Agostini asked Supt. Davis if someone else could sign, and she understood his response as being he thought that would be fine.

[No, it's not fine. The Secretary is the only person who can sign as Secretary, unless the Secretary is not available or incapacitated, and if there is Ass't. Secretary, which there is not. The superintendent was wrong to give her "legal advice" that someone else could sign.]

By late February Supt. Davis told her it would have to be the Secretary's signature.  [He should have known that at the first conversation.]

After her personal attorney reviewed the documents, she signed the document as Secretary.

On April  23 she received an email that a second set of documents needed her signature. Mrs. Agostini wanted to know in advance of signing whether she would have any personal or civil liability. Her personal attorney and she discussed the "Certificate of Incumbency" and the "Signature and No Litigation Certificate". Mrs. Agostini "did not have complete confidence" in the documents, because an extra paragraph acknowledging issues around Mrs. McKie's position on the board, fines owed to the Ethics Commission and serving as Chair was included.

Mrs. Agostini said her principles would not allow her to sign those documents, and so she resigned as Board Secretary. She will continue as a Trusteee of the School Board.

4/30/19 School Board Meeting - Part 3

Following is a partial index and commentary on the beginning of the April 30, 2019 Richland 2 School Board meeting.

The official open meeting started at 5:00PM for "budget input". One (only one) in the entire district showed up to speak - most likely because no one knew this was a time for the Public to opine on the proposed budget. The budget input session could have been held as part of a regular meeting, instead of scheduling it at 5:00PM, when it was almost impossible for working parents to show up.

At the end of the 5:00PM session, it was announced that Trustee Lindsay Agostini was resigning as Board Secretary. James Shadd was elected by the board to succeed her. Mrs. McKie wasn't paying attention to the vote for Mr. Shadd and announced incorrectly that the vote was 6-1, although it was clear on the display monitor that the vote was 6-0-1; the "1" being the abstention by Mrs. Agostini. The Superintendent nudged Mrs. McKie, who then read the correct vote of 6-0 with one abstaining. Watch the video for Mrs. Agostini's full statement toward the end of yet another marathon board meeting. See the next article on this blog.

After the executive session, the open session re-convened.

The Inspiration Moment was a reading from a children's book by Mrs. McKie. The title of the book was Pete the Cat's Groovy Guide for Life (HarperCollins (2015)). She droned on as it she was reading to a kindergarten class, adding inflections and facial expressions suitable for children. This was embarrassing! My opinion is that it was also in violation of copyright laws. Even though she announced the title of the book, she read far more than just an excerpt. Did the District request permission from the publisher for such a lengthy reading?

A long period of recognition followed.

At (24:30) on the YouTube video-recording of the meeting, the Public Participation segment began.

Helen Derpinghaus spoke on behalf of More Justice, which will hold a public meeting on Monday, May 6, at Koger Center. Although this link was not provided at the meeting, you can learn more about Monday's More Justice gathering at

Parent Lena Brown discussed the dangers and risks of cell tower emissions and referenced a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Parent Angela Vanderlay spoke on the long-term health risk to children.

Following her presentation Supt. Davis applauded, along with members of the audience. Note: Board Policy is no acknowledgement of speakers' comments. What was his applause all about!

Then Elizabeth Bate, mother of four elementary school-age daughters and future Kelly Mill Middle School students, addressed the board to ask further consideration before building the cell tower at Kelly Mill MS or on any Richland 2 school grounds.

NOTE: The decision to allow construction and operation of the tower may have already been made.

By email today I requested the five legal members of the school board to create an Agenda item for a school board meeting to discuss publicly the exact status of the cell tower construction plan and to direct a District representative to respond to each of the women who spoke at the 4/30/19 meeting. If you want to know the status of the project, email the superintendent at

At (38.08) on the YouTube video of the meeting I addressed the board regarding my outrage of the closing all the Richland 2 schools. District Administration (Superintendent, Principals and Board) should have planned ahead to limit the number of approved personal-leave days.

When I tried to continue on a second topic (the illegal composition of the School Board), Mrs. McKie cut me off and refused to allow me to have my full three-minutes.

Although I argued briefly for the balance of my three minutes, I learned later that it was probably a good thing that I sat down when I did. The new Richland 2 security chief was apparently heading for me with the intention to remove me forcefully. Since no instruction had been issued to him during the meeting, he must have been alerted before the meeting to be ready to silence me.