Saturday, November 9, 2019

State of the District Meeting

Do you know about this public meeting?

Register for this free event on Search for "Richland 2". Registrations are accepted through November 13, even though the notice says November 7.

Just a few questions for Richland 2:

Why is this held on a Thursday morning, when most parents will be working or at home with kids? Sure, it's convenient for staff, but ...

Why isn't this event given prominent display on the District's website? Shouldn't it be on the homepage or at least listed in the events when you scroll to the bottom of the homepage? Or on the District's Calendar?

Will any members of the school board attend? They will have to be careful of the "rules" in order to avoid the breakfast becoming a "public meeting", subject to posting and Open Meeting rules under South Carolina FOIA rules. As of this morning, it is not listed an an upcoming public meeting.

Is the "Columbia Chamber" the Columbia Chamber of Commerce? This event is not listed on the Chamber of Commerce website, although a Small Business Northeast Connection Roundtable is scheduled on the Chamber's website at R2i2 on November 19.

Does Richland 2 consult with the public?

Title 59 Education, Chapter 19 School Trustees, Article 1 School Trustees requires school trustees (Richland 2's Board of Trustees is supposed to contain seven legally-seated trustees) to consult with the public.

According to the South Carolina Code of Laws, it's not optional; it's mandatory. The operative word in the Section is "shall".

The Section reads, in part,

SECTION 59-19-90. General powers and duties of school trustees.

The board of trustees shall also:

(4) Call meetings of electors for consultation. Call meetings of the qualified electors of the district for consultation in regard to the school interests thereof, at which meetings the chairman or other member of the board shall preside, if present;

The board of trustees shall call meetings ... for consultation.

Unfortunately, the legislators were sloppy in crafting this Section. There is no reference to frequency of such meetings. Or maybe they weren't sloppy' maybe they were just crafty. Did they realize they left the teeth of that Section? Of course, they did. Everything they do is carefully constructed to include, or exclude, certain words, meanings, requirements, directions.

When was the last meeting? When is the next meeting? Does the board actually "consult" with electors (voters)? Or does it do all of the talking and none of the listening?

Look at the wiggle room in the statute. There is room for none of the school trustees to attend. Amazing! who is to preside? "the chairman or other member of the board shall preside, if present." So who presides if no one from the board shows up? And how can the board consult with the public, if none of the board shows up???

What happened one year ago? 11/9/2018

On November 6, 2018 Amelia McKie was re-elected to the Richland 2 School Board, and Teresa Homes was elected to the School Board.

What happened on November 9, 2018?

On November 9 the Richland County Elections Commission certified the November 6th School Board election.

What did this mean?

This meant that McKie and Holmes were "qualified" to serve on the School Board. But only "qualified". Not yet "eligible" to serve.

How were they to become "eligible"?

To become eligible, they would have to file Statements of Economic Interests with the South Carolina Ethics Commission. After doing so, they would then be "eligible" to take the oath of office.

BUT they did it backwards. They took the oath of office on November 13, and they didn't file their Statements of Economic Interests until December 4, 2018.

This meant that the oath of office, taken on November 13, had and has no legal force or effect. In other words, they did not become legal members of the School Board when they took the oath of office.

And because they have not taken the oath of office since December 4, 2018, they have NEVER become legal members of the Board.

What does that mean? Come back here on November 13, 2019.