Friday, August 28, 2020

Board Candidates' Panels on Facebook

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week (August 26-27) Gretchen Barron hosted Facebook LIVE panels for Richland 2 school board candidates.  

On Wednesday candidates McFadden, Meisner, Shadd and Terry responded to questions, and on Thursday candidates Agostini, Jacobs, Bell-Williams and Wright were there. Monica Elkins had a conflict with another meeting, and James Mobley was not present.

The candidates and the host did a great job.

The panel discussions are archived on Gretchen Barron's Facebook page. Go to her FB page and look for Aug. 26 (Part 1) and Aug. 27 (Part 2).

Or click here for her page, and toggle on the left arrow to move from Part 1 to Part 2.

Just before the end of each night's recording each candidate provides contact information. If you'd to know phone numbers, email addresses, website, etc., you can find them there.

I may be the only person on the planet challenged around making Facebook LIVE perform. There was a chat window on the page I was viewing, but I was unable to see the questions provided by other viewers. Gretchen later guessed that I may have been on a "Watch" page (whatever that is).

McKie - No Payment. Not a Penny!

Amelia McKie owes $51,750 to the South Carolina Ethics Commission, as of today.

How much has she paid on her debt? Not a penny. Not a single penny.

The Ethics Commission fined her for numerous violations (Eight Counts) of filing requirements between 2015 and 2018. Not one. Not two. Numerous!

July 3, 2018 The Ethics Commission issued a Decision and Order against Amelia McKie and ruled that McKie owed a total of $41,000, composed of a Reduced Late-filing Penalty of $24,425 plus a Civil Penalty of $16,000 plus an administrative fee of $575. McKie was ordered to pay $20,000 by December 31, 2018 and the remaining $21,000 by June 30, 2019.

The Ethics Commission further ordered that, if McKie did not pay in full within the time period specified, then a judgment in the amount of $51,750 would be filed against her in Richland County Court.

She did not pay even one penny.

July 10, 2019 A judgment of $51.750 was entered in Richland County Common Pleas Count against McKie. The Case No. is 2019CP4003809. 

The judgment is supposed to be collected by the S.C. Department of Revenue.

According to the Ethics Commission today, the balance due is still $51,750.

The 2018-2022 term for a board trustee runs to November 2022. If McKie started paying monthly in equal installments, with a commitment to pay off her debt by the end of the current term, she would have to pay $1,990 every month. 

The Richland 2 School District deserves trustees with impeccable financial history. Trustees are responsible for multi-millions of dollars of money, bonds, and assets. It's bad enough that McKie owes $51,750 and worse that she has made NO payment toward her indebtedness in two years. Not even token payments.

Adding insult to injury is the fact that she is not even a legal member of the Board, since she has never taken the oath of office legally. When the District finds itself forced to recover the $900/month it improperly paid out to a person who was not a legitimate member of the board, that will add $19.800 ($900 x 22) to her debt load.

In January or February 2019 a parent in the District asked during Public Participation at a Board Meeting for McKie to step down. McKie did not, and the rest of the Board won't insist on it. 

There is no appeal to her Ethics Commission debt, and I've been told that the S.C. DOR doesn't negotiate. The time allowed for appeal ran out a long time ago. When will the DOR collect on that judgment? It can take assets, and it can garnish her Richland 2 wages.

No oath. Lose eligibility to serve?

What happens when a candidate for office is elected and is "qualified" to serve, but never takes the oath of office after becoming eligible* to take it?

According to South Carolina state law (S.C. Code of Laws Section 8-13-1110(A)), the person elected cannot take the oath of office OR begin serving in that office until his (her) Statement of Economic Interest has been filed.

What happens in the case where the person elected files the SEI but then does not take the oath of office? 

First of all, it is illegal for that person to serve and to perform the responsibilities of the elected office.

Secondly, the public body should not pay any taxpayer funds to that person, because she is not legally in office.

Thirdly, the person who serves without taking the oath of office is usurping public office.

Are low-paid employees of the public body (here, the Richland 2 School District), who are just doing their jobs as trained and directed, liable for disbursing public monies illegally?

Are their supervisors, managers and department heads liable? Is the school district's superintendent liable?

How about the Board of Trustees (here, the School Board)? If they know about the problem and do nothing about it, are they complicit in the violations of the law?

The Richland County Elections Commission has been asked to determine whether an elected person loses eligibility to take the oath of office after some period of time?

On November 6, 2018 Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes were elected to office.

On November 13, 2018 McKie and Holmes took the oath of office illegally. They had not filed SEIs. They were allowed to take seats at the November 13, 2018 Regular Meeting. They participated in the meeting and voted on motions. Although they were "qualified" for the office as Trustee, they were not eligible yet.

On December 4, 2018 McKie and Holmes filed their SEIs with the S.C. Ethics Commission. On that date they became eligible to take the oath of office and commence their official duties.

McKie and Holmes have not taken the oath of office (legally) on or after December 4, 2018. That is almost 21 months ago. Nearly two years!

The School District has paid them a monthly salary ($900.00?) and paid their expenses, such as S.C. School Boards Assn. memberships. No doubt that other expenses have been paid or reimbursed for them.

They are not legitimate board members. To become legitimate board members, all they need to do is take the oath of office on or after December 4, 2018. 

According to the Richland 2 School District, as of August 20, 2020 they have not done so (except for the oath they took improperly on November 13, 2018).

Do you agree that they should take the oath of office immediately or be prevented from further participation on the School Board? Please let me know by comment below, by phone or text (847/971-7083), or by email to Your response will be treated confidentially.

* The oath of office should not have been administered to McKie and Holmes on November 13, 2018, because the Elections Commission had not yet certified their election. The election was certified on November 9th and the earliest they could have taken office was one week later, on November 16, 2018, had they already filed their SEIs, which they hadn't.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

McKie Attempts Knock-out Punch

Continuing from the last post, about the 8/25/2020 board meeting and the attempt by Mrs. Agostini to amend the agenda for 9/8/2020 by adding a discussion of the board chair's authority to act individually on behalf of the board.

After the discussion had gone on for a while (and ranged out-of-control) McKie was recognized (at 2:17:50). She said she just wanted to make a comment and call for the vote.

Recently I quoted a section from Dummies about such a call for the vote during discussion. The author of Dummies labeled such a Call for a Vote as "rude".

Here's what I heard in McKie's comment: "I'm going to say what I want to say and then I'm going to shut you down!"

She said what she wanted to say. Then she said, "Let me say this and then I'm calling for the vote."

Then she said more and defended (her friend) Shadd's letter, which had been sent without Board knowledge or approval.

Then she said, "I call for the vote."

At that point Mrs. Agostini raised the point that it was necessary to vote on McKie's call for a vote (which should have been in the form of a Motion, but wasn't). 

Shadd was wrong when he said that once the vote was called for and recognized by the Chair, then they had to vote.

(2:20:00) Then McKie butted in and claimed motions had been commingled. They hadn't, but she apparently couldn't keep track of the order of them. Shadd was attempting to recite Agostini's Secondary Motion, when McKie began speaking. 

Discussion ended, and the vote began.

Then Elkins wanted to comment on why she had voted Yes. She said a Board member should not be "shut down".

Then Holmes weighed in during the voting and wanted to explain her No vote. She too was out of order.

The secretary (not the Secretary) announced the vote result: 2-5, but they failed to show the results to the public.

I suspect this will come up again, and it should. There should be a public discussion of the limits of the board chair's authority. 

When will the board hire Attorney McFadden to return and further train them on parliamentary procedure? Ever?

Keep in mind, of course, that McKie and Holmes are, today, not even legitimate members of the school board. To become legitimate members, all they have to do is take the oath of office. They have been eligible to take the oath of office since December 4, 2018.

School Board Needs Parliamentary Training

 After two hours of last Tuesday's Board Meeting (8/25/2020), I bailed out. I just could not take any more. This morning, after three cups of coffee, I felt like I had the strength to endure the balance of the meeting, and I began watching the YouTube replay.

I have referred to the majority of board members as "The Squad". Richland 2's "Squad" is four, sometimes five of them. And two of them aren't even legitimate board members.

The fun and games began during the Item pertaining to the Draft Agenda for the next (9/8/2020) board meeting. At 2:08:25 on the YouTube video-recording of the 8/25/2020 meeting, McKie motioned for approval with an amendment. During discussion, Mrs. Agostini made a motion to add an item to the agenda.

Mrs. Agostini's motion was to add a discussion of the Board Chair's authority to act individually on behalf of the Board. 

Shadd declared Agostini's Motion to be a "friendly amendment" that would require McKie's consent. McKie said she wanted her motion to stand "as is". If only she could have said it in those few words...

And then the meeting headed off the rails.

Manning jumped in and said "we" don't do 'friendly amendments' anymore. He suggested it would correct for Mrs. Agostini to make a Secondary Motion. Then he added that "friendly amendments are not technically a part of Robert's Rules."

Although Mrs. Agostini tried to get a second so that discussion could begin, when Shadd was slow on the uptake, Mrs. Agostini gave two examples as reasons for requesting a discussion at the Board level: 1) a board chair (Manning) had commissioned a policy (spending District money) to have a policy drafted by the District's attorney without getting board authority; and 2) the board chair (Shadd) had sent a letter recently on behalf of the Board without there having been a discussion and authorization.

During the clamor of voices, Elkins seconded.

The superintendent interrupted and began speaking. Remember: protocol is to ask the Chair to be recognized. He didn't. He should speak when spoken to and only after authorized. He is not a board member. Then he wrongfully said that Agostini's motion was not germane to the motion to approve the agenda.

Of course it was!!!

Manning disagreed with the superintendent and said Agostini's motion was germane.

At that point Shadd had lost control of the meetng and didn't know what to do. Manning bailed him out by explaining what was on the table and that Elkins had seconded.

Shadd called for discussion and Elkins jumped in. Robert's Rules give the first comments to the person who made the motion. Agostini should have had the floor first.

Then Manning said, "This is another tactic to tie the board chair's hands, so we can get nothing done." SLAM!!! And then he piled on with "This is another tactic to drag us down in unnecessary bureaucracy." SLAM!!! SLAM!!!

Elkins objected to Manning's choice of wording, "tactic".

Agostini disagreed with Manning.

And then McKie stepped into the ring and attempted a knock-out punch.

Continued in the next article.

Long Board Meetings - Insanity

This week's Richland 2 School Board meeting was two hours forty minutes long. That's absurd.

During the time of the actual Zoom meeting, I was more than bored after two hours and abandoned the meeting. Others in the audience may have fled, too. Today I returned to listen to the question by Dr. Elkin-Johnson's about whether high school juniors and seniors would be allowed to leave campus at lunch time. I didn't think her question was answered, and it wasn't.

Board members, however, don't have the luxury of escaping by merely clicking on "Leave Meeting". 

A reasonable maximum length of a meeting would be about 90 minutes.

The August 25, 2020 Regular Meeting didn't even have a large agenda.

It is the Board Chair's responsibility to move the meeting along. Perhaps a count-down timer should appear in front of each board member, showing them how much time remains for the meeting. The  Chair should cut off long-winded comments, extraneous comments and remarks that could be stated in 15 seconds, when the speaker rambles on and on and on.

You've heard the sentence, "Work expands to fill the time available for its completion"? Commonly known as Parkinson's 1st Law, wikipedia offers this: "A proverb coined by the twentieth-century British scholar C. Northcote Parkinson, known as Parkinson's Law. It points out that people usually take all the time allotted (and frequently more) to accomplish any task."

And that's even truer when there is no time-limit, as at a school board meeting. It starts, and then it continues until everybody runs out of wind.

Perhaps a Board member (one of the five legal members) will make a Motion or propose a Policy that meetings are to be completed within 90 minutes.

Candidates' Panel - Thurs., Aug. 27

Tonight there will be a panel discussion by five candidates for the Richland 2 School Board. At 6:00PM EDT on the Facebook page of Gretchen Barron, there will be a LIVE event.

The five candidates will be Lindsay Agostini, Monica Elkins, Deon Jacobs, Dee Bell-Williams, and Maryann Wright.

The host for the panel will be Gretchen Barron.

Gretchen hosted a panel last night at 6:00PM for Lashonda McFadden, Rhonda Meisner, James Shadd, and Lawrence Terry. That panel discussion may be archived on Gretchen's Facebook page for playback.

Go to Gretchen's page. From there, good luck. I had to experiment with many clicks and repeats until I finally spotted the LIVE button near the upper right.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

How Long Is a Moment?

 How long is a moment?

The short answer, according to Wikepedia, is: "90 seconds. The length of a solar hour depended on the length of the day, which in turn varied with the season, so the length of a moment in modern seconds was not fixed, but on average, a moment corresponds to 90 seconds."

Now, how long is a moment, say, an Inspirational Moment, when it comes to the Richland 2 School Board.

A couple of meetings ago Board Chair Shadd told the board (and the public) that he had assigned the Inspirational Moments to (trustee-elect) McKie. Of course, he didn't call her "trustee-elect McKie", but that's what she is.

At tonight's meeting McKie launched into a veritable explosion of words and used up more time to introduce tonight's speaker than I thought he would use. But I was wrong.

Remember when Board Chairs would introduce speakers for the Inspiration Moment with, "Tonight's inspirational moment will be given by ________"? And then the speaker spoke for 2-3 minutes and led into the Pledge of Allegiance.

I'm pretty sure McKie set a record tonight with her introduction. 

And then the speaker, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, took over. And six minutes later the Pledge was recited.

There was nothing inspirational about either McKie's introduction or Hizzoner's words.

Shadd won't be able to get McKie under control. She thinks she is still the Board Chair, an office that she should have stepped back from in November 2018, when her 2014-2018 term was up and she failed to file her Statement of Economic Interest. That made her ineligible to take the oath of office on November 13, 2018, but she did it, anyway. 

But the Day of Reckoning is coming.

Will somebody please explain to McKie that she doesn't have to recite a speaker's C.V.? Just introduce him and get out of way. Oh, and tell him he has three minutes and to make it inspirational. Please!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Open Letter to R.C. Elections Commission

 The following letter has been sent to the Richland County Elections Commission.

If a candidate for public office is elected and qualified to serve in that office, but never takes the oath of office legally, does that candidate-elect lose the entitlement to serve after some period of time?

We have a situation in Richland School District Two that involves two trustees-elect who have never taken the oath of office legally.

Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes were elected on November 6, 2018. They took an oath of office (illegally) on November 13, 2018 and began to serve (illegally). State law (SECTION 8-13-1110(A)) is clear that one must file a Statement of Economic Interest before taking the oath and beginning to serve.

Neither filed the SEI until December 4, 2018. On that date they became eligible to take the oath. But neither has done so. Yet they have been allowed to serve as if they are legitimate trustees.

Does the Richland County Elections Commission take an interest in candidates-elect who usurp public office?

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Are District 2 Employees at risk?

Trustees of the Richland 2 School District receive certain monetary benefits for performing official duties. These benefits include

Monthly compensation (could be $900/month) for attending two Regular Meetings. Trustees also attend Special-Called Meetings.

The District pays membership dues in professional associations, such as the South Carolina School Boards Association.

The District would also reimburse mileage and other expenses for attending meetings, workshops, seminars and other events. Did the District pay for Teresa Holmes to go to a national school boards meeting in Washington, DC in January 2019, two months after she was elected? She wasn't even a legal school board member at the time.

And what about monies paid for Amelia McKie to be a Region 8 Director of the South Carolina School Boards Association? She too is not even a legal school board member.

Now, what about District monies paid to or for a person who is a trustee-elect but not a legitimate Trustee of the School Board?

There are two women in that category: Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes. They have never legally taken the oath of office, which S.C. law requires before they can enter office.

The District was first asked (by me) to swear in McKie and Holmes legally as early as February or March 2019. The Board has never discussed this in open session.

The District confirmed today (8/20/2020)  that the last oath of office administered for board members was on November 13, 2018. That was three weeks before McKie and Holmes filed their required Statements of Economic Interest with the S.C. Ethics Commission.

Who is responsible for distributing taxpayer monies (District funds) to McKie and Holmes? The employee who is pressing "Pay" on a district computer is the one processing the payment. But would it be fair to nail that low-paid employee with a State or Federal crime for just doing her job?

Or should a department manager be charged and suffer the penalties?

Or may the District's Officer in charge of the larger Department?

Or maybe the superintendent?

Or is the Board responsible? They've known about the problem for over a year. Would FBI or SLED agents show up at a Board meeting and just take all of them into custody in one fell swoop?

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

What Does Richland Two's Lawyer Say?

Since February 2019 I have been complaining to the Richland 2 School Board that it has two women on the board illegally. A few other community members also complained.

Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes were elected on November 6, 2018. They took the oath of office on November 13, 2018 and began serving.

The problem?

While they were duly elected and "qualified" to serve, they were not "eligible" to take the oath of office on November 13, 2018 or to begin serving.

Why not?

Neither had filed her Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) with the S.C. Ethics Commission.

What does the law say?

"SECTION 8-13-1110. Persons required to file statement of economic interests.

"(A) No public official, regardless of compensation, and no public member or public employee as designated in subsection (B) may take the oath of office or enter upon his official responsibilities unless he has filed a statement of economic interests in accordance with the provisions of this chapter with the appropriate supervisory office."  [emphasis added]

Crystal clear; right? First you file the SEI. Then you take the oath of office. Then you begin serviing.

Surely, by now the Board has gotten an opinion from the attorney for the School District. What did she say?

There is only one thing she could say. "Read the law. That is what the law says."

An attorney will not tell you whether you can break a law. An attorney will only tell you what the consequences are of breaking a law. 

Is there anything unclear about the law?

What part of the law do trustees-elect McKie and Holmes not understand? Next time you see them, ask them.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Richland 2 Candidates

According to the State election website, the following have filed as candidates for the Richland School District Two election on November 3, 2020. Three seats are open.

If anyone is listed who is not a candidate in Richland 2, please let me know. It was difficult to navigate the State Election Commission website to find these names. There was no intention to omit anyone and no intention to list anyone erroneously. Names are listed alphabetically by last name.

Lindsay Agostini

Monica Elkins

Deon Jacobs

LaShonda McFadden

Rhonda Meisner

James Mobley

James Jamie Shadd

Lawrence Superstar Terry

Dee Bell Williams

Maryann Wright

A prominent attorney in Columbia, with whom I had discussed the Ethics Commission problems and the illegal usurping of office by two current school board trustees-elect (not named here), suggested that I ought to run for the school board. He said it would give me a broader platform for calling attention to the serious problems of the Richland 2 Board. He also said, 'But you don't want to win."

I knew that. There is no way I'd ever be able to put up with the present composition of the Board.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Mail, email go unanswered

 Why does Richland School District Two's board chair, James Shadd, fail to respond to mail and email?

On July 4 I emailed James Shadd. In addition to congratulating him on his election as Board Chair, I expressed disappointment in the June 30 Facebook posting by his long-time friend, Pastor Chris Leevy Johnson. Johnson had posted a racial slur on Facebook, referring to Board colleague Lindsay Agostini as "KAREN". I also expressed disappointment that Tameika Isaac Devine forwarded Johnson's slur to Shadd.

I reminded him that McKie and Holmes have never taken the oath of office legally and requested a meeting with him to discuss that.

No reply.

On July 27 I sent Shadd a letter by Certified Mail-Return Receipt Requested. It was delivered to District 2 on July 31, and I received the green card on August 1. The letter was delivered to Agent, who signed for it as "Covid-19".

On August 2 I emailed Shadd, asking for the identity of "Covid-19"  No response.

Shadd has not responded to the July 27 letter, in which I suggested that he, as a lawyer, would understand S.C. Code of Laws 8-13-1110(A) and that McKie and Holmes still had not taken the oath of office legally.

I also suggested that he, as a lawyer and officer of the court, might have an obligation to correct the problem being caused by McKie and Holmes usurping public office. Usurping occurs when any person " intrude(s) into, or unlawfully hold(s) or exercise(s) any public office" (S.C. Code of Laws 15-63-60). Does Shadd have a legal obligation, as a lawyer holding the position as Board Chair, to cause McKie and Holmes to take the oath of office or cease sitting at the board?

On August 10 I emailed Shadd to ask if he had received my July 27 letter. No response.

In the absence of a reply from Shadd or the District, I filed a FOIA request on August 11 for the identity of "Covid-19" and for the name of the District's employee who delivered my July 27 Certified Mail letter to Shadd. The FOIA Response from the District is expected by August 25.

I remember telling the board, in person, in February or March, 2019, that this issue (about McKie and Holmes being on the board illegally) is not going away. When will it go away? It will go away when they take the oath of office legally or cease sitting at the board.

Who else is concerned about the full legality of the seven-member Board?

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Taxes not paid? Can't run for office

We need a law here in South Carolina like the law in Louisiana.

According to The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge, "To qualify to run for public office, candidates must certify [emphasis in the original] that they have filed state income tax returns for each of the five previous years."

A candidate for mayor-president in East Baton Rouge has an unclear record regarding payment of her state income taxes. 

There were questions about more than one year's return, and an appeals court ruled against her. She can't run for office. The fight is probably not over.

The point is, pay your income taxes by the due date. Then you don't end up in hot water. You avoid fines, late fees, court action and liens. And a bad reputation.

But owing state income in South Carolina? Big deal, when it comes to running for office.


Board Fiasco on BEDGA

Last Tuesday the school board considered proposed policy BEDGA, which allows the superintendent to reject a request from a board member for information. Should the superintendent, in his sole opinion, deem a school board member's request as unusual or excessive, he can deny it. At that point the board member would have to seek a majority decision of the board to force the superintendent to comply with the request.

When you consider the make-up of the current board and the issues, BEDGA effectively blocks a proper request after the superintendent denies it. He can count on Holmes, McKie, Shadd, Caution-Parker, and Manning to give him anything he wants. So much for independent thinkers!

I am currently researching the details and timing that resulted in this very unusual policy, but the part about Tuesday's meeting that should appall you is the huge disrespect shown to one board member by the superintendent and two other board members, including the board chair.

View the replay of the board meeting on YouTube; the discussion of BEDGA starts at 19:12 on the timer.

Mrs. Agostini led with a Motion to send BEDGA to the South Carolina Attorney General for a legal Opinion. After too long a pause, Dr. Elkins-Johnson seconded the motion, keeping the motion alive for discussion.

The person making the Motion (Mrs. Agostini) should have been recognized to speak first on the Motion. But Shadd recognized Dr. Elkins ahead of her. Dr. Elkins had a question for the superintendent about whether a proposed policy had ever been sent to the AG for an opinion. Then she erred by asking whether he felt that sending it to the AG was needed or if it was something he could answer for the board.

WRONG QUESTION. It doesn't matter whether he felt it was needed. It is the Board's prerogative to get a legal opinion from the AG. And the superintendent certainly cannot give a legal opinion to the board!

The superintendent began answering at 20:28. First he answered that he didn't know of any school district that had done so. That should have been the end of his answer. Then he said that the attorney for the school district had crafted the policy. He has faith that the attorney knows and understands the law. Then Dr. Elkins asked again for the superintendent's opinion, so that she'd be able to decide how to vote.

It didn't matter what the superintendent thought. Anyone thinking about this would surmise that the superintendent would not want the AG to issue an opinion. There were five board members ready to vote in favor of BEDGA without an opinion from the AG, so why possibly muddy the water??? 

The superintendent then proceeded to elaborate on a previous AG opinion that does NOT apply to the proposed policy. And on and on he went. At this point the board chair should have interrupted him. But the most of the board members do not understand Robert's Rules of Order. The superintendent ran off the rails by dragging out his explanation of the AG's previous opinion that did not apply to the Motion.

Then he threw in "documents that are deemed to be over-reaching". In. his. opinion. He kept harping on the previous Opinion, which Mrs. Agostini already knew did not apply, which was why she was asking for BEDGA to be sent to the AG.

I have written previously that the superintendent can say in 500-1000 words what could be said in 25 words. He loves his own voice and self-importance. And the board lets him get away with it.

At 24:05 he said that the documents that Mrs. Agostini did request were given to her. True? False? As Snopes would say, MIXED. What the superintendent did not say was that he had refused to meet her request and only provided the answer two weeks later. So his statement at the board meeting was misleading and deceitful.

Later he said he had responded in a timely manner. No! If that were true, yesterday's discussion wouldn't have been occurring and no time or money would have been wasted on crafting BEDGA.

Then the superintendent expressed concern from "this administration" (he loves speaking in the third person) and brought up the Board's Code of Ethics, insinuating that Mrs. Agostini had violated the Code of Ethics. That's absurd. If there is one ethical person on the school board, it is Mrs. Agostini.

The superintendent then went on to broaden his examples beyond the current question, and the board chair let him get away with it. Had there been a Parliamentarian in the meeting, he would have been shouting "Point of Order" and shut down the superintendent.

When the superintendent whined to the previous board chair, James Manning, about Mrs. Agostini's request for an email earlier this year, Manning asked the School District's attorney, Kathryn Mahoney, to draft a policy.  It was the superintendent who brought up his wish for this policy. He shoveled Agostini's previous information request to "outside the scope and responsibility of the board".

Then he said that he personally thinks BEDGA is necessary for the District and that he never thought they'd be in this position. What a load of horse manure!

At 26:55 Mrs. Agostini raised her hand to speak, but Dr. Elkins continued. Dr. Elkins asked to see any policies of other school district's before voting.

At 27:49 Mrs. Agostini "respectfully" disagreed with the superintendent about "financial information". Information given to the board at the January 7, 2020 board meeting was inconsistent with that which was later related to employees. THAT is what her request was about - the request for information that the superintendent did not want to provide.

Mrs. Agostini had circulated information to board members about the inherent right of elected officials to get information. She re-stated her request to send BEDGA to the AG for an opinion.

At 30:00 the superintendent began with "As I stated earlier,..."  Since he had already stated it earlier, there was no need to re-state whatever he was about to say. Remember, his remarks had started six minutes earlier.

The superintendent said no information was denied to the board member. He said the information was requested and it was provided. "And it was done in a timely matter." No, he provided it two weeks later!

The superintendent stated - incorrectly - that the earlier opinion from the A.G. applied [to this situation]. If it did, Mrs. Agostini would not have been requesting that BEDGA be sent to the A.G. Why should the superintendent get away with deceiving the board?

(31:00) "This information, and I am going to speak frankly, was solely requested for the purpose of the superintendent's evaluation (there he goes in the third person one more time) to mark the superintendent low in his ability to do his job..."

Where was Board Chair Shadd? Taking a nap? He should have cut Baron Davis off and should have admonished him not to speculate on Mrs. Agostini's reason for requesting the information that she did! Then the superintendent used the word "justification". At that point (31:22) Mrs. Agostini raised her hand to be recognized. At 31:36 she raised her hand again. And again at 31:40 she raised her hand.

Then the superintendent acknowledged that he had said previously that schools would not have to spend their money (the reference is to special monies, including to media specialists) before the end of the fiscal year (June 30). Then he "schooled" the board on their responsibilities...  

Supt. Davis has a lot of gall to lecture the board on their responsibilities. That is NOT in his job description. (At 32:43 and 33:05 Mrs. Agostini again raised her hand.)

The superintendent continued, "This policy was created as a safeguard. It is unfortunate that we are here, but it is solely result of a lack of professionalism and trust as it relates to one board member and the superintendent." (At 33:28 again Mrs. Agostini raised her hand to be called on.)

Dr. Elkins and Mrs. Agostini attempted to be recognized. Shadd asked Mrs. Agostini if her remark was related to the Motion. (What did he think - that she wanted to order pizza?) She explained that it was related to what the superintendent had just said.

She should have been allowed to defend herself against the vicious, demeaning and unprofessional attack by the superintendent, but Shadd allowed Elkins to speak first.

Dr. Elkins asked if then-Board chair Manning had come before the board, before he went to the District's attorney to have the policy drafted. He could have answered Yes or No, but he didn't. Then Manning complained (36.25) about the amount of time being spent on the issue

Manning was wrong about a clear effort to "undermine the credibility of the superintendent". The issue is the authority of the board, and Manning threw Agostini under the bus with his statement. Manning disrespected his fellow board member by labeling her motion an "inappropriate request". (At 37:38 Mrs. Agostini again raised her hand to be recognized.)

Manning said he was responsible for requesting the drafting of the policy. Manning then said, "I'm frankly tired of arguing about this policy." 

While Shadd was summarizing the previous A.G. Opinion, Manning interrupted at 39:18 and asked for the vote to be called. NOTE: Mrs. Agostini was still waiting to be recognized. Shadd continued to read and summarize a court opinion.

Then Shadd said that Manning had called for the vote and asked the board to vote.


At 40:25 Mrs. Agostini against raised her hand while Shadd was re-stating the Motion. Robert's Rules of Order said that the party making the Motion should be the one to re-state it.

Mrs. Agostini asked to change her vote, and Shadd was not going to let her, until Manning interrupted with how to do it. The vote had not yet been finalized. Shadd just does not know how to conduct the business of the Board Chair. 

The vote on Mrs. Agostini's motion was announced as 6-1. Then the vote was correctly stated as 1-6. Her motion failed. Discussion ended on her motion at 41:50.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Davis Disrespects Trustee during Board Meeting

 Tonight's school board meeting was a total embarrassment to intelligent people. 

The Inspirational Moment was presented by trustee-elect (she still have never taken the oath of office legally, and the $51,000 judgment against her to the S.C. Ethics Commission is still on record) Amelia McKie. I wonder who wrote what she read. Shadd had put her in charge of the inspiration moments, which meant she was supposed to line up someone from the community to give a brief inspirational moment. She used is as a stage to run on and on about "a special time like this". 

Mrs. Roof read 24 comments from the public, including two that urged the board not to approve Policy BEDGA.

When proposed policy BEDGA was brought up for approval, Mrs. Agostini made a motion to send it to the South Carolina Attorney General for an Opinion. In other words, is it legal?

Manning was questioned about whether he had gotten Board approval, before he went to the attorney for the District to have it drafted. (He hadn't.) It was obvious he didn't like being questioned about that (again).

Mrs. Agostini explained why she had gone to the Attorney General's Office. The A.G.  didn't have an exact answer, and both Shadd and Baron Davis trotted down the wrong path by referring to a legal opinion from the A.G. on a different matter. Baron Davis was very disrespectful to Mrs. Agostini with several comments, and he rambled on and on defending himself and disrespecting Mrs. Agostini.

I'll be replaying the meeting and reporting on his exact words. He obviously has never worked in the real world, where a company official would never voice such disrespect to a member of a Board of Directors. 

Of course, Baron's pay is secure now until, what is it? - 2024. So even if he gets canned, it's probably cheaper to pay off his employment contract than to fight him ovewr firing him. 

If I owned a company that employed him, he would have been fired a long time ago.

To just put the cards on the table, he doesn't like me, and I don't like him.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Bus Ride Times - Seriously?

 OK, parents, pay attention.

From The State newspaper this morning (8/10/2020):

"Richland 2 spokeswoman Libby Roof said the district has conducted trial runs of its fall bus routes, and decided drivers would have to pick up students in segments, transporting one group to school and then picking up another."

“ 'Students may have last year boarded the bus at 7:30 a.m. and gotten home by 3:30 p.m.,' said Richland 2 spokeswoman Ishmael Abdus-Saboor. 'This year they may get on the same bus at 6:45 a.m. and get home at 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m.' ”

Do you want your kid boarding a bus at 6:45AM and getting back home at 5:00PM?

If you think there is ANY possibility of that for your child, you'll better pick up the phone now and call Richland 2. Hope someone answers. Leave no stone unturned.

The superintendent is away until August 17, so forget contacting him. No reason is given in his out-of-office email auto-response. I'd say it's very poor timing for vacation or even a business trip. There is too much happening right now, as schools prepare to open.

Find out who is responsible for your child's bus transportation. Save that name, phone number and email address. And get the name of that person's supervisor and on up the food chain.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Achtung, Herr Citizen!!!

On Tuesday, August 11, 2020 the Richland 2 School District will be asked to suspend Board Policy KI - Visitors.

You can read the existing policy here.

Are you a "citizen" of the District? Or, are you a resident of the District? Who in the world ever chose the word "citizen" for that policy?

Now, Parents ...  if the District suspends this policy, will you be able to enter the school? 

Is it really necessary to suspend this policy, or could the District just establish guidelines under which a parent could enter the school during the pandemic scare?

Comment on the suspension of this policy by using this form on the District's website (scroll down). The online form must be submitted by 1:00PM on the day of the meeting.

And communicate (email or telephone) directly with your school board member, who will be asked to vote on August 11.

School Board Election - file now

The period for filing to run for the Richland 2 School Board is open now. A candidate has until 12:00PM on August 17, 2020 to file papers to run for election to the School Board.


Every voter should have a choice. So, choose the best candidate.

___ Callie Mae

___ Gus Philpott

Register your vote in the Comment section below.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Is there some mistake?

Didn't both Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes recently say at board meetings that the only thing the board does is hire (or fire) the superintendent?

This information below appears on the District's webpage where the agenda for a board meeting is found. Will someone please inform McKie and Holmes? The role of a board member is much more than just hiring or firing the superintendent.

One of these days, soon perhaps, the school board may have seven legal members. All that McKie and Holmes must do to become legal members of the board is take the oath of office. They filed their Statements of Economic Interests (late) on December 4, 2018. On that date they became eligible to take the oath of office.

Unfortunately, they have not taken the oath of office legally, and so they are not yet legitimate members of the board. When will the Board correct this?

In Richland School District Two, seven board members are responsible for a general operating budget of about $245 million, roughly 3,700 employees, more than 27,500 students (including pre-kindergarten) and 40 schools and centers.

Richland District Two board members are elected for four-year terms and have responsibilities that include:

*Securing money for operational needs and authorizing major expenditures
*Determining budget priorities and building needs
*Setting educational standards and goals
*Reviewing and evaluating all phases of the district’s instructional program
*Formulating and enforcing policies

Sunday, August 2, 2020

School District - new employee?

Named "Covid-19"? Seriously?

On July 27, 2020 I mailed a letter to Board Chair James Shadd, to be delivered to the Richland 2 District Office at its mailing address of 124 Risdon Way (29223). Because of its importance, I mailed it Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested.

It was finally delivered on July 31, and the green delivery card arrived in my mailbox on August 1.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that "Covid-19" had signed for the letter!

What's the problem?

First, I'm pretty sure there is no employee or contract worker named "Covid-19".

Secondly, if this matter goes to court and I have to prove that the letter was received at the Richland 2 District Office, how do I subpoena "Covid-19" to testify that the letter was received? 

Is that like R2D2? Will a robot show up in court?

I wonder whether an employee was allowed to (or, worse, directed to) sign that way.

A request will now be made to Richland 2 to identify the person who signed for the letter, just in case this matter does end up in court.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Taking a knee?

When the school year starts in Richland 2, does the day start with the Pledge of Allegiance? Is the National Anthem played?

Obviously, I've not been in a school at the beginning of the day for years. So what's the day like now? 

Wait, I was in Spring Valley High School about three years ago for an IEP, when the school was trying, for the fourth time, to expel a student. And then soon after, when the school tried again to expel him.

At the second hearing (the fifth attempt), the R2 director of special ed told the hearing group that they couldn't do what they were trying to do. Why had they kept trying? Because the student and his parents did not have a Special Ed advocate with them. But that's another story.

Board Policy IMB School Ceremonies and Observations states "State law requires that all students say the pledge of allegiance at a specific tmie during each school day. Each school will designate this time." 

So, if that is the state law, why does the policy go on to say that "any person" who doesn't wish to say the pledge doesn't have to participate and can remain in his/her seat, without penalty for failing to participate?

When sports resume in Richland 2 and teams take the field, is the National Anthem played? 

Will all the players remain on their feet? Hats, caps, helmets off? Standing erect, not slouched? Hands over their hearts?

Will the School Board lead the District and direct the superintendent to instruct the principals and sports coaches to warn the players against "taking a knee"?

Any kid that takes a knee should be immediately expelled.

He is fully entitled to express a personal opinion and disrespect OFF the playing field.

Now that Board Policy BEDH has been reinstated, I shall email the Board Chair, Superintendent and Board and ask them to adopt a policy that the U.S. Flag and the National Anthem will not be disrespected by any student taking a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance or the playing of the National Anthem. 

Will you support this?