Friday, November 27, 2020

The Problem with the Nov. 17 Special Meeting

The Special-Called Board Meeting on November 17 had three important items on the agenda.

1. Elect a Board Chair;

2. Nominate a board member to the South Carolina School Boards Association; and

3. Discuss the SCSBA Resolutions on which the SCSBA Nominee would be expected to vote.

Success on No. 1. Failure on Numbers 2 and 3.

#1 James Manning was elected by the board to serve for a "couple of months" (as described multiple times by Acting Chair Teresa Holmes), but actually for more than seven months until June 30, 2021.

Let's take #3 next.

Richland 2 "staff" and the superintendent looked at all the (36?) SCSBA Resolutions, at least to some extent, and recommended them. If you listen carefully to the superintendent's wording, at times he was close to saying that "he" reviewed all of them, but what he really said was that his staff and he had reviewed them. And he called out 11 of them for special attention.

To me that meant that 11 of them needed discussion by the board and a decision made whether to support them or not.

 Mrs. Agostini brought up at the beginning of the meeting that, because of the wording of the agenda, no vote could be taken on the Resolutions. The board could have amended the agenda to allow a vote. Did Holmes know that?

And that's exactly what happened. Mrs. Agostini brought up several of the Resolutions and commented on them.

Why didn't any of the other Trustees (or Trustees-elect) bring up questions? Mrs. McFadden gets a pass. She has since said she read all the Resolutions and took notes. Much of it may have been Greek to her, because November 17 was her first Richland 2 board meeting. But what about Holmes? McKie? Manning? Caution-Parker? Had they read and studied all the Resolutions?

What about the "special attention" brought to 11 of the Resolutions by the superintendent? How will McKie know what the will of the Richland 2 Board is, since the board did not vote one way or the other on the superintendent's stated support of all of them? What she knows is that staff supports them (or most of them), but she won't really know whether the board does!

Without guidance from the board, the FACT is that the board has not voted to support ANY of the Resolutions.

Why is #2 a Failure? Amelia McKie can't serve as the District's representative to the SCSBA, because she is not a legal Richland 2 board member.

And, if she were, she would have no guidance from Richland 2 on any discussion or vote on them.

What did Board Chair Manning mean when he briefly commented that Trustee Caution-Parker will be the representative at "that" meeting (the meeting at which the Resolutions would be voted on?)?

There are supposed to be seven wise people on the Richland 2 elected board. Right now there are only five legal trustees. The jury is out on the level of wisdom with which some of them direct Richland 2.