Saturday, March 21, 2020

Special-Called Board Meeting needed

On March 13, 2020, Richland 2 School District announced that "Beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, through Spring Break:
  • all student and staff travel will be canceled or postponed."

The District's schools have been closed by order of South Carolina Governor McMaster.

Obviously, what the announcement means is that "school-related and District-paid travel" as regards staff and "school-related/sponsored travel" by students. If students wish to travel on personal business, that will be up to their parents, not the school district.

Teachers and parents are being communicated with by the district's Administration.

It seems to me that the Board should be calling a Special Meeting to hear, as a group, what the Administration is doing and to confirm steps being taken by the Administration to address the closure of schools and the impact on the District and all of its employees from the coronavirus spread, as well as providing correction and/or direction as needed. It's called Leadership.

It is the Board that is responsible to taxpayers and voters of the District, and the public is entitled to know just what is going on. The way that should happen is in a public meeting of the Board. For example, are teachers being paid? Is full-time staff being paid? What about part-time, hourly workers (cafeteria staff, custodial staff, security staff, bus drivers)?

This could easily be done by announcing a Special Meeting, open to the public and live-streamed, with full awareness of the open meetings laws, and at the same time encouraging the public not to attend in person.

Board members could sit six feet apart from one another, skip the Executive Session, and reduce the number of staff members who normally give up an evening to sit and watch. A handful of chairs could be placed for any audience members brave enough to show up at a public meeting.

The Board is responsible for about one billion dollars of assets, nearly 30,000 students, and over 3,000 employees. 

Too many on the board lack executive mentality for leading a large business. Some of them cannot even manage their own finances in an ethical manner. Too many come from an educational background and lack meaningful business experience and training to direct the management of such a large business.

Think large corporation. Would shareholders tolerate Directors with significant personal obligations in arrears?