Saturday, May 18, 2019

Open Letter to Supt.

Today I sent the following email to Richland 2 Supt. Baron Davis:

"I am writing to request that Richland 2 video-record and publish the May 20, 2019 5:00PM Special Called Board Meeting, including the budget public hearing, and all future Special Board Meetings.

"I have inquired about the video of the April 23, 2019 meeting, The staff member said she would check on it, but I haven't received a further reply. Was it recorded?

"Will you please discuss with the Board whether the Minutes of the April 23, 2019 are sufficient? The Minutes provide no detail  The meeting was hours-long (5:30PM-7:27PM), and there is no record of what was discussed beyond the briefest of general wording.

"Will you please ask the Board's guidance on whether future Minutes of all official meetings should be reflect a greater description of the business transacted?"

Was there a Resolution for the bond documents?

A very serious question has arisen at the Richland 2 School Board about documents connected with the $468,000,000 bond that voters approved in November 2018. The question pertains to wording in two certifications that appear to have been added to the standard bond-document language.

Previously, I have written about the "Certificate of Incumbency" and the "Signature and No-Litigation Certificate".

It was over these that the Board Secretary, Lindsay Agostini, resigned her position as Board Secretary. She continues to serve on the School Board.

She resigned as Board Secretary to avoid the risk of personal and civil liability by signing those bond documents.

According to her public statement on April 30, 2019 School Board meeting she was to be briefed on those documents at the April 23rd "workshop" (Special Board meeting). She wasn't. The first time she saw the documents was after her personal attorney reviewed them.

When matters happen, or don't happen, at official meetings, it is because of planning, cooperation and decisions between the Board Chair and the Superintendent. They make the final decision of the Agenda.

The board should have been fully briefed on those documents in public. Board members should have asked questions and received answers. And then there should have been a Resolution that authorized the Board Chair and the Board Secretary to sign on behalf of the District.

In other words, the full Board takes the responsibility and bears the weight (and consequences) of the authority, completeness, honesty, truthfulness and accuracy of the documents to be signed.

No video of the April 23, 2019 Special Board Meeting has yet been published by the District on its website or YouTube. Was the meeting recorded?

The Minutes of the April 23, 2019 are completely insufficient. It is impossible to know what happened at that meeting from the written Minutes.

Is race dividing the school board?

Today I saw this posting on Facebook. I presume it is correctly attributed. It sounds like something Candace Owens would say, and I agree with it.

"American is not a racist country. Anyone claiming otherwise has a vested interest in keeping us divided. The easiest way to maintain power over any group is to keep those within it at war with one another."

Earlier this year there was an inference that those who complained about Amelia McKie's ethics violations, fines and penalties ($51,000+ worth) were racially motivated.

I heard second-hand that the president of the Richland 2 Black Parents Association said that the claim against McKie was not racist and that it's about ethics. I have tried to reach him through Facebook, but there has been no response. If anyone knows whether he so commented at a school board meeting, please let me know and I'll search the videos on YouTube for his comment.

At the May 14, 2019 McKie referred several times to the "majority of the board" being supportive of Supt. Davis. I'm going to ask her to name the four (or all) on the board who are supportive of Supt. Davis. Would that be Holmes, Caution-Parker, Shadd and herself? All of whom are black. And Shadd, who is black? And Elkins-Johnson,  who is black? Is their support, in McKie's opinion, because the superintendent is black? What about Manning and Agostini, who are white?

Is McKie really making a racially-divisive statement, when she said - more than once - the "majority of the board" supports Supt. Davis?

I will venture a guess that all of the Board are supportive of Supt. Davis. And it doesn't have anything to do with black or white. He is a strong administrator. He has a big job. He is doing most of it well.

Nobody agrees with everything that any administrator does. Disagreeing with an action of the Superintendent is appropriate, when it is called for. What's important to the top administrator in any business is to keep the majority of his bosses (Directors or Trustees) happy. If he doesn't, he's likely to find himself out of a job.

The legal issue over the addenda to the bond documents shows a weakness on the part of the Board Chair and the majority of the board. It was wrong of the administration to fail to brief the Board on the bond documents, with full disclosure and explanation of the two questionable addenda.

The Board should have put an immediate stop to what was happening, and then Mrs. Agostini wouldn't have been forced to stand on principle and resign as Board Secretary.