Friday, September 18, 2020

What "contractual matter" on 9/22/20 Agenda?

The Agenda for the September 22, 2020 Regular Meeting of the school board has been posted on the District's website. You do know where to find it; right? If you don't, ask.

The Executive Session is scheduled for 60 minutes. starting at 4:30PM. Item 2.5 is "Contractual Matter Regarding Transfer of Property". What's this???

It could be as simple as a driveway easement or it could be something significant.

If it is significant, when the time comes for the board to vote on it in Item 8, will the board vote on it as an matter taken up as Item 8.4 without two readings? Or will the board not mention it further on Tuesday and then schedule it as an item for First Reading in a future meeting?

Remember to submit your public comments, for reading to the board, by 1:00PM on Tuesday.

Load 'em up, Parents. Coordinate your efforts. Get the board's attention. And tell the board to show their faces while public comments are being read.

The Livestream open session starts at 5:30PM. 

DHEC 9/18/20 Schools COVID-19 Report

The State newspaper reports today the DHEC numbers for COVID-19 in South Carolina elementary, middle and high schools. See the newspaper article here.

Six Richland 2 schools are included, all with less than five new cases each among students and staff.

For the week this is the result, as reported by The State: "The 532 cases include 352 students and 180 employees": 

The State fails miserably by not putting the numbers in context by including the total number of elementary and secondary students and faculty statewise. A frame of reference is necessary to determine how serious a number like "532" is.

Richland 2 alone has more than 28,000 students and more than 3,000 staff, doesn't it?

Adjusting the numbers from the article in The State

  • Catawba Trail Elementary: 1-5 faculty cases
  • Forest Lake Elementary: 1-5 faculty cases
  • L.B. Nelson Elementary: 1-5 student cases
  • Muller Road Middle: 1-5 faculty cases
  • Richland Northeast High: 1-5 student cases
  • Spring Valley High: 1-5 student cases and 1-5 faculty cases
  • Windsor Elementary: 1-5 faculty cases

So Richland 2 could have between new 3-15 student cases and new 5-25 employee cases.

Aren't we in the "mostly survivable" situation, as one parent put it recently in a comment read to the board?

Schools Supt. says, "Back to school for K-5"

South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman spoke up this week in support of all the parents who wrote to the Richland 2 School Board last week and asked for in-school education for their young and special-needs children. Check it out in The State here.

I wonder ... is the Richland 2 School Board listening? Is the Richland 2 superintendent listening? Did he get a written message from Supt. Spearman? Let's hear what the School Board has to say, when it meets next on September 22.

At the September 8th Regular Board Meeting the superintendent, at the end of the presentation on Special Education, rambled on and on and on in a prepared, written statement. Didn't anyone get tired of listening to him read his long statement? They know he knows his business. Why didn't they require him to speak without reading his "paper"? Will his description of parents as "calm, confident, positive, courageous" begin showing up on walls through the District? The Richland 2 superintendent will never have to worry about being convicted of being short-winded during a board meeting.

One parent's Letter to the Board set off trustee-elect Teresa Holmes. She didn't like the parent's use of "mostly survivable" and launched into a long commentary that programs should be "survivable for as many of the masses as possible." She said she didn't know how she would feel if it was her child or her child's teacher who didn't survive (because of a decision by the school board to send certain children back to school). Well, of course she knows.

But what, really, is the difference because "mostly survivable" and "survivable for as many of the masses as possible"? 

I was reminded of comments by others who say, "If we can save one child...."

It's a given that schools should be as safe as possible. 

Public Participation - Welcome (or not?)

During the days (nights) of virtual school board meetings, the public cannot directly address the board.

It could, but the District won't allow it. Instead, the public must submit written comments, which are then read by Mrs. Libby Roof to the board during meetings. The sender's email is shown as it is being read, so the audience doesn't get a chance to watch the reactions of the board members.

Would it be better to show the board and watch whether they are paying attention?

When you look around on the District's website for the procedure for submitting such an email, here is what you find when you click on PUBLIC PARTICIPATION, under School Board in the menu.

The part you don't see in the screen-print is this:

"Public Participation for Virtual Board Meetings
"The form Public Participation for Virtual Board Meetings is no longer accepting responses.
Try contacting the owner of the form if you think this is a mistake."

How in the world do you ever figure out who the "owner" of the form is?

Hint: Watch for the announcement of the School Board meeting on the District's homepage by the Friday before a Meeting, and hope there is information posted there about how to submit your written comments before 1:00PM on the day of the Board meeting.

The 1619 Project - is it here?

Is The 1619 Project being taught anywhere in the Richland 2 school district? (Wikipedia is used in the link, in order to avoid the paywall of The New York Times.)

Parents (and Teachers), if you hear of this, will you please circulate what you learn?

One of the best ways is to send an email to the School Board before 1:00PM on the day of a school board meeting. Then your communication will be read to the entire board and, importantly, to the viewing public. 

If you watched the recording of the last school board meeting, you'll know that certain school board had their noses out-of-joint about parent communications. They would prefer you to telephone the superintendent one-on-one, where your communication will be pigeon-holed and never see the light of day. You'll think you are the only one complaining.

It might look to one of them like a "coordinated effort". Well, that's what it is, and that's what gets attention. 

Those one-off phone calls and email messages don't inform anyone else of issues and concerns. Take them to the Board. It's the Board that directs the District, through its oversight of the superintendent.

Right now there is a Board that clearly lines up with and seldom questions anything said or done by the superintendent. Take, for example, his personal desire to hire "100 Premiier Men of Color" onto the staff of Richland 2. This is NOT a Board project. This is not a School District project. This is a personal program of the superintendent and one that, by his own admission, he is not accountable to the board for.

Read that paragraph again. It's a pet project of the superintendent that the Board has not approved or condoned. How much time is he spending on it? How is he shaping or re-shaping the District without Board oversight???