Thursday, July 16, 2020

Friendships before Law?

Should friendships come before the law?

Board members should be friendly toward one another. This makes for more progress, when decisions are made by voting on Motions for action at the school board level.

The school board is governed by the laws of the State of South Carolina and by Board Policies. Board Policies can be found on the District's website:
After you get there, click on EXPLORE (top right); then
Click on School Board; then
Click on BOARD POLICIES; then
Click on B (left side)

Since about February 2019 I have complained to the board that Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes are not legitimate board members. Why aren't they?

State law (S.C. Code of Laws 8-13-1110) reads, in part

"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..."

Boiling it down to its simplest: (A) No public official... may take the oath of office or enter upon his official responsibilities unless he has filed a statement of economic interests..."

And that's exactly what McKie and Holmes did. They took the oath of office and entered up official duties on November 13, 2018, three weeks before the filed their Statements of Economic Interests with the S.C. Ethics Commission on December 4, 2018. AND they have not taken the oath since December 4, 2018.

Because they took the oath before they were eligible to do so, it's like they never took it and they are not yet legitimate members of the school board. McKie and Holmes are usurping public office - a second violation of South Carolina law.

Now, here's the pickle. James Shadd is the recently-elected (by the school board) Board Chair. James Shadd is an attorney. As a law school graduate and member of the South Carolina Bar, he should have no difficulty understanding the law. And insisting that the school board follow it.

If he doesn't?

Does he become complicit in the violations of the law?
Does an ethical problem arise, when he allows continued violation of the law?

The Board has attempted to say that it cannot act. Seriously? Since McKie and Holmes are not lawfully entitled to sit at the Board desks, all James Shadd will need to do is ask the RCSD deputy to remove them.

I emailed the Board Chair on July 4 saying, in part, "I'd like to be in touch with you about the failure of Amelia and Teresa to take the oath of office legally (S.C. Code of Laws §8-13-1110(A)) and how this should be corrected. I'm happy to meet with you in person or via a video chat."

Today is July 16. There has been no acknowledgement or reply.

Who Decides on Re-opening of Schools?

Who will make the decision on the re-opening of Richland 2 schools?

Will it be the superintendent or will it be the School Board? Or the State Department of Education? Or the South Carolina School Boards Association? Or Red for Ed? Or the U.S. Department of Education?

There is no doubt that the final decision belongs in the hands of the Richland 2 School Board. The superintendent will make a recommendation. The majority of the school board will rubber-stamp it. The school board bears the responsibility, and it is the board that shouldn't duck that responsibility.

The decision belongs AT the school board level. These are the people elected by the voters to direct the school district. Aside from the fact that two people sit on the board illegally, there are five legal members, a quorum, who can make the decision.