Saturday, October 5, 2019

Oct. 1 2019 Special Board Meeting - Unofficial?

On October 1, 2019 the Richland 2 School Board held a Special-Called Board Meeting. The video recording of the meeting has been posted on YouTube on the Richland 2 channel.

The first thing  I noticed was the two empty chairs. Although no roll call was taken (as it never is at board meetings), Mr. Manning noted that Teresa Holmes and Monica Elkins-Johnson were absent. This left five present, plus the superintendent.

That number presented a dilemma for the Board. A quorum for a meeting is five board members. Two trustees-elect (McKie and Holmes) have never legally taken the oath of office. In the opinion of some, including this writer, they are not legal board members. Thus, with McKie not being a legal board member, there were only four legal board members present - one short of a quorum, and no business should have been conducted.

The vote of five (including McKie) on the motion to approve the agenda for the meeting was wrong. There should not have been a vote, because there was no quorum, and an accurate vote should have been 4-0.

The purpose of the meeting was to review and discuss 28 Board Policies and suggested revisions, with no vote to be taken. You can see the list of Policies in the Agenda for the meeting.

The meeting was only 36 minutes long, and the first order of business can be viewed on YouTube at 1:13 on the video timer.

The silliness of some of these revisions can be seen in the first item, Board Policy IHCF Childcare Programs" on the Agenda. Somebody at Richland 2 is getting the big bucks to revise "ages 5-14" to "ages five through fourteen" and strike the word "years". Grab your wallets, Taxpayers!

In the discussion for Policy IIA Grouping for Discussion, Trustee Shadd motioned for addition of "sexual orientation and, gender identity status" to the listed protected classes of "race, religion, sex, or socioeconomic status."  McKie seconded. Motion passed 5-0.

Mrs. Agostini clearly reads and studies the massive number of revisions being foisted on the Board. She asked an important question in Policy IJ, where the wording refers to "invasive physical exam". Is she the only Trustee who reads every word in these proposed revisions? It seems the Administration just wants to swallow any recommendation of the South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA), and Mrs. Agostini and the absent Dr. Elkins-Johnson are on the only Trustees who challenge the concept of just rolling over and accepting SCSBA recommendations.

At 12:27 Trustee Shadd's phone rang. He grabbed it and began reading a message. Mrs. McKie leaned over toward him. WAS HE RECEIVING A MESSAGE ABOUT THE TOPIC UNDER DISCUSSION DURING THIS OPEN, PUBLIC MEETING??? Isn't there a Board Policy about use of electronics during meetings? How can the public know what message he is receiving? It's a Public meeting. He should have been called on to read aloud the message on his phone.

Amelia McKie pre-empted Board Chair Manning's role of thanking the staff for their work (34:40). There was no reason for her to do so. She is no longer the Board Chair; some will assert that, since November 6, 2018, she has not even been a legal member of the board or board chair from November 6, 2018 to June 30, 2019. McKie said she wanted to appreciate the staff for the time they are taking to go to the policies.

NOTE TO ALL: Staff is being paid quite well to do their jobs, which include policy revisions as directed by the superintendent. McKie has no need to thank them for doing their jobs. The superintendent will take care of that!