Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Nov. 10 school board meeting - IN-PERSON

Thanks to a question by a school board member near the end of last night's meeting, it was announced that the November 10 school board meeting will be IN-PERSON. There will be limited seating on a first-come, first-seated basis, with social-distancing.

The board took a beating last night about holding virtual board meetings while, at the same time, re-opening schools. Listen to and read the letters from parents and teachers that were read to the board last night.

On November 10,

5:00PM Installation Ceremony for newly-elected and re-elected board members.

5:30PM Executive Session

6:00PM Open school board meeting.

Here is a major problem that the superintendent may have brought to the Board and that the board approved.

SECTION 59-19-315. Commencement of trustee's term of office.

The term of office of every elected trustee of a school district must commence one week following the certification of his election.

If the board does this year what it did in 2018, it will install board members and allow them to commence their duties on the same day, but before their term of office begins. November 10th will be prior to the legal commencement date of their term of office!

The November 10th board meeting will be held before one week has passed after the certification of the election by the Richland County Elections Commission. It will be improper and probably illegal to allow newly-elected board members to attend the November 10th Executive Session or to sit at the board to discuss and vote on motions. 

In 2018 Teresa Holmes was allowed to attend the November 13 (2018) board meeting, including the confidential Executive Session. She sat at the board and voted on board matters. She was not eligible to do so, because her term-of-office had not yet begun. The 2018 election was certified on November 9. She also never has taken the oath of office legally, and she has been allowed to sit on the board for almost two years without ever having taken the oath of office legally.

Amelia McKie attended the November 13, 2018 board meeting and Executive Session, because it was the last meeting of her 2014-2018 term of office. She too took the oath of office illegally on November 13, 2018, and she too has never taken the oath-of-office for the 2018-2022 term legally. 

McKie should not have served as board chair from November 13, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

Holmes is not entitled to serve as an officer because she, in fact, is not a legal member of the board.

All McKie and Holmes need to do to become legal members of the board is to take the oath of office legally.

Will the board begin following the law this year?

Vote corrected to 6-0-1

 After the board voted on a motion last night, the result was announced incorrectly as 6-1; i.e., six in favor, one opposed.

The issue on which the board had voted was an Executive Session item regarding "Student 1" and whether to uphold the decision of the Administration. In the past it has been common to show the public how the board members voted, indicating the Yes or No vote after each board member's name. I think that screen was not shown last night.

The recording secretary (or some otherwise-anonymous female voice) reported the vote as 6-0.

Chair Shadd was ready to move on, when Mrs. Agostini asked to be recognized. She said she had not voted No; she had abstained.

Thus, the correct vote was 6-0-1. Six Yes, no No's, one Abstaining. 

The public does not know the reason she abstained, nor does the public need to know. The vote was on a confidential, Executive Session matter involving a student.

But HOW she voted was important. She was right to ask that it be corrected. It should have been corrected observed and reported the first time.