Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Monday, August 30, 2021
After finding that Holmes presents herself as "Commissioner" of the Richland 2 school board, I did a little further close reading. It didn't take long to uncover a startling fact!
Whoever wrote the profile published on the Richland 2 website described Holmes as a "widower". Seriously? I knew there was something "special" about Holmes (aside from her elevated sense of self-importance, I mean), but is she really a "widower"? Or should I write, is he a widower?
Here's the profile from the Richland 2 website, as it appears today and perhaps as much, but not all, might have appeared since 2018. Did Holmes write it? Did one of the highly-paid P.R. staffers write it? Didn't Holmes proofread it? Did Holmes approve it? I've highlighted portions that jumped at me.
Why do I question "first" term? The assumption there is that she will have a second term. Factually, she has never even officially and legally started her term-of-office. She could do so easily; all it takes is the legal administration of the oath.
Holmes retired from the Fairfield County School District earlier this month (August 2021). Upon her retirement the profile should have been updated. What was it the prompted her to retire just as the new school year was beginning in Fairfield County?
One of the things I've wondered since March 2019 is how she left work so quickly and showed up at 1:00PM at the Richland County Sheriff's Department to report that I had been harassing her. (The deputy's report of her complaint was so full of lies that she should have been arrested for making false statements to police.) I had sent an email to the full Board at 10:30AM, and by 1:45PM she was at 5623 Two Notch Road, 27 miles south of her workplace. How did she fulfill her employment duties that day?
How did she "obtain" her Ed.S. and Ed.D degrees? It's a strange word to use when describing attaining advanced degrees.
Wasn't it a Board to which then-Gov. Sanford appointed her?
And then there is that word "widower"? Who missed that and never corrected it?
Why is the word "former" used to describe her late-husband's occupations?
Sunday, August 29, 2021
Friday, August 27, 2021
At the August 24, 2021 school board meeting why were there THREE Richland County deputies AND a number of Richland 2 security officers?
What is the board worried about? What is the cost to taxpayers? Is it a show of intimidation?
The board obviously (well, maybe not) is paying attention to what is happening around the country with regard to masks and Critical Race Theory. Some school boards are finding hundreds of parents attending - actually paying attention to what the board is doing and demanding that the boards do otherwise.
At Richland Two? Were there even a dozen parents or community members at the August 24th board meeting?
At some past board meetings, two-three deputies have been stationed IN the meeting room. I think that started after three community members accosted a school board member in the lobby after a meeting and provoked her to respond angrily. I watched the video. One man jammed a cell phone (screen lighted, perhaps indicating it was recording) right in her face. Did he get charged with assaulting a public official? He should have been. But he wasn't.
What does it cost Richland Two to have one deputy there for the meeting? $50/hour? $80/hour? For the evening - $400? And for three deputies? $1,200? More?
Out of an annual budget of $330,000,000, that's not a lot. But why?
The board has never discussed security of the board (or the public) during a public meeting. So the superintendent is the one who has ordered the deputies and authorized the expense. Did he ever discuss it with a board member? The board should address this in public and make a decision - in public.
If Richland Two security officers can keep the peace long enough to dial 9-1-1 and request reinforcements from the sheriff's department, why are there any deputies there at all?
If a community member or parent has something to say to the board, she or he can say it. I don't ever remember a meeting where a speaker was out-of-control or abusive or profane.
Of course, there was that one night when I tried to mention two topics during my three minutes. Amelia McKie was Chair then. That would have been after the November 6, 2018 general election. She was an illegitimate board member then and also illegitimate chair. When I began to mention my second topic about 30 seconds into my three minutes, she cut me off.
When I objected, she insisted my time was up. Later I was told it was probably a good thing that I had stepped away from the microphone when I did, because a deputy was coming up behind me to remove me. When was that arranged?
I'm glad the deputy was there to protect me from McKie.
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Remember at the Special-Called board meeting of August 16 when Trustee Agostini asked for more information about Manning's motion to get legal advice about Proviso 1.108?
If you don't remember or missed it, listen to the recording of the August 16, 2021 meeting. Re-read my article about the rude manner in which Teresa Holmes shut down Mrs. Agostini. Holmes said they (the board) couldn't talk about what had been discussed in executive meeting.
I understand that Holmes didn't want to allow discussion, but she was wrong when she claimed that the board "could not" discuss it.
Robert's Rules of Order addresses this at §9:26 Rules Relating to the Secrecy of an Executive Session. This Section reads, in part, "The general rule is that anything that occurs in executive session may not be divulged to nonmembers (except any entitled to attend). However, action taken, as distinct from that which was said in debate, may be divulged to the extend - and only to the extent - necessary to carry it out. ... If the assembly wishes to further lift the secrecy of action taken in an executive session, it may adopt a motion to do so, which is a motion to Amend Something Previously Adopted ..."
The superintendent must have been authorized in the Executive Session to file the lawsuit in the S.C. Supreme Court. There had to be discussion about moving ahead. I cannot imagine that the superintendent would have stuck his neck out so far and filed the lawsuit without the permission, approval and authorization of the board. And THAT is what should have been divulged when Mrs. Agostini asked for more information for the public.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Is it "convenient" that The State newspaper has not published its August 25th article about Richland Two's lawsuit on TheState.com and only (so far) in the print edition?
It's the article about opposition to Richland Two's lawsuit in the S.C. Supreme Court over masking. The article by John Monk was only considered important enough for Page 34 in Section 1.
The article is about a response to the lawsuit by State Senator Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee) and State Representative (and House Speaker) Jay Lucas (R-Darlington).
Did you know the lawsuit was filed by Richland Two and a parent? Funny how Richland Two's announcements have not mentioned the parent.
Remember Richland Two's lawsuit next time you get stopped for speeding. Just tell the trooper that your tax dollars pay for the highways and that speed limits are unconstitutional, so he can't give you a ticket. Let us know how that works out for you.
I also learned something good from Monk's article. He wrote, "Ordinarily, it can take years for the (South Carolina) Supreme Court to hear appeals and issue opinions. But in matters of high public opinion, especially involving the interpretation of a state law, the court can take up a case directly.
This is reflected in the State law about usurping of public office. Teresa Holmes and Amelia McKie might want to sit up and pay attention to this. The Justices of the S.C. Supreme Court might need to hear answers from them to only three questions to decide that they have been usurping public office since November 13, 2018.
SECTION 15-63-60. Action against usurpers, for forfeiture of office or against persons acting as corporation.
An action may be brought by the Attorney General in the name of the State upon his own information or upon the complaint of any private party or by a private party interested on leave granted by a circuit judge against the parties offending in the following cases:
(1) When any person shall usurp, intrude into, or unlawfully hold or exercise any public office, civil or military, or any franchise within this State or any office in a corporation, created by the authority of this State;
Regarding this State law
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.
What are those questions?
Q 1. On what date did you take the oath of office? A. November 13, 2018
Q 2. On what date did you file your Statement of Economic Interests? A. December 4, 2018
Q 3. Had you filed your Statement of Economic Interests before you took the oath of office? A. No
Decision: You are guilty of usurping public office. You are hereby removed from office. You are fined $2,000. You shall pay back all monies received for school board member services and for expenses paid for your benefit.
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
I intended to address the school board tonight. Manning created a new Policy on-the-spot to deny a speaker who wished to yield her three minutes to me.
The following are my prepared remarks for tonight's meeting.
Members of the Board and trustees-elect Holmes and McKie,
My name is Gus Philpott.
At the August 16th Special-Called Board meeting, Trustee Manning made this motion: “I make a motion that the board authorizes the District to engage legal counsel to provide best option and legal strategy to address Appropriations Budget Proviso 1.108, including consulting with Richland County Council with regards [sic] to protecting the health, safety and well-being of our students and employees."
As worded, the Motion did not authorize the superintendent to begin legal action. It directed him to get legal advice. He should have brought the best option and legal strategy back to the board for consideration and action. Unless ….. UNLESS … there was a backroom deal in executive session, undisclosed to the public, that it was the board’s intention for the superintendent to proceed with a lawsuit.
Is that what the Chair refused to talk about last Monday? Is that why the board chair stiff-armed Trustee Agostini when she asked for clarification? Had the board already given the superintendent the green light to trot off to court? State law forbids decisions in Executive Session.
Was either of the two personal-injury law firms that filed the case last Friday primed and ready to file? How did the superintendent learn the best option and legal strategy and confer with the Richland County Council so quickly? Did he engage the existing legal counsel for the District at all? He covered an amazing amount of ground in just three days.
Carl Solomon handles Wrongful Death, Tractor Trailer Collisions, Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Products Liability, and Medical Malpractice matters.
Skyler Hutto is a part-time public defender and his legal work includes Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Criminal Defense, DUI Defense, Automobile Accidents, Traffic Violations, and General Litigation.
The website of neither firm contains any reference to experience, skill or expertise in handling school business.
How did a case get filed in the Supreme Court without Motion, Second, discussion and vote of this board – in public?
I urge you to direct Attorneys Solomon and Hutto to withdraw the filing. Explain to them that the superintendent was not authorized to engage them to file.
The board chair issued a public statement on Friday that was not completely truthful. The chair should be sanctioned by the board for violating Board Policy BBAA.
As I arrived tonight, a screenshot remained on display of the vote to enter executive session. Can you spot what's wrong?
The Richland 2 school board counts seven trustees, including the two trustees-elect who are illegitimately allowed to serve on the board.
Notice that there are only six names. Who's missing? Holmes. (Manning explained her absense when the regular session re-convened.)
Notice how the vote is recorded: 6 Yes; 0 No; 0 Abstain; 0 Not Present at Vote. Total = 6
That's six; not seven. How is the seventh board member accounted for? She is not. And she should be.
Why isn't any board member paying attention? Why isn't the superintendent paying attention? Why isn't any staff member speaking up? (Well, the answer to that is obvious. Keeping silent is called Job Security.)
The correct vote is 6 Yes; 0 No; 0 Abstain; 1 Not Present at Vote. Total = 7.
Tonight's public session of the Richland 2 school board meeting was due to re-convene at 6:30PM. I arrived at R2i2 about 5:50PM and the guard at the door asked politely if I would be speaking tonight and then directed me toward the sign-up table. After visiting briefly with the three RCSD deputies, I thanked them for being there to protect me from the board members. Then I headed over to the sign-up table.
The sign-up sheets had already been collected for the board, even though they were in executive session. The R2 staff person explained that sign-up time ended at 5:45PM. WHY SHOULD THE PUBLIC HAVE TO SIGN UP MORE THAN 45 MINUTES BEFORE THE START OF THE MEETING?
I was polite to the staff person. She's not the one who makes stupid rules. She apologized more than once that I couldn't sign up, and I finally suggested she didn't need to continue apologizing, It wasn't her fault.
I had looked at the district's homepage for the sign-up times. It seems to me the times used to be in the middle of the paragraph. When I didn't see them, I failed to read to the end. Then I learned that four people had arrived and had signed in, and I went to join them.
One of the women very kindly offered to yield her time to me. I didn't want to accept it, because she had planned to speak.
When the Public Participation portion began, that woman was the second speaker. She stated that she wished to yield her time to me. (1:25:30)
Vice Chair Manning was running the meeting tonight, and I couldn't hear whatever flimsy excuse he made, but I could tell that it amounted to "No".
NUMBER ONE - Having to arrive more than 45 minutes before the beginning of the meeting is flat stupid! Who is the idiot in the school district who came up with that plan? Did not anyone on the staff say, "Wait just a damned minute! Why should someone have to show up 50 minutes before the start of the meeting to sign up to speak?" Of course, all staff know they'd better not say anything about being helpful to the public!
NUMBER TWO - Why shouldn't someone be able to yield their time? Manning just made up a new "Policy" on the spot.
NUMBER THREE - If six people sign up to speak, #6 is going to have to wait until the second Public Participation segment. That could be 2-2½ hours after the first segment. Why doesn't the board hear all public speakers for 30 minutes and give more consideration to the public???
The board meeting has concluded and now I'm able to play the recording and hear why Manning denied the second speaker's request to yield her time to me.
Listen to Manning's excuse to Speaker #2, as he denied her request to yield her time. (1:25:30) Manning said, "We're not allowing time to be transferred." The second speaker objected. Manning said, "That's the policy I'm putting in place. We're not doing that right now."
So where did Manning get the authority to create a new Policy on-the-spot? And why didn't any board member object and call "Point of Order". If I hadn't been the one who was waiting to speak, would Manning have allowed the speaker to yield her time? What would the board have lost by allowing that?
Manning was wrong to arbitrarily put a new policy is place. Did he infringe on my right to speak, since speaker #2 was yielding to me? Does this become a Constitutional issue?
Monday, August 23, 2021
The following has been sent by email to the five legal members of the Richland 2 School Board and the two trustees-elect.
Good morning, Board Members and trustees-elect Holmes and McKie,
When you voted last Monday night, did you intend for the superintendent to gather information (only) and bring it back to you?
Sunday, August 22, 2021
Click on www.Richland2.org and read the bald-faced lie about Friday's filing in the South Carolina Supreme Court.
A screen-print of the beginning of the article on the homepage of the District's website is below. I suspect they will quickly change it, when they realize the public isn't buying it.
The lies start with the very first sentence of Teresa Holmes' attempt to sell the filing of the case in the S.C. Supreme Court to the public.
- No "great sense of urgency" was ever expressed at the August 16th Special-Called Board Meeting.
- The Board did not authorize anything to be "put into action".
- No "desire" of Richland 2 to seek legal relief was discussed or approved by the Board in public.
- "truly nothing more important" may be her opinion (only)
- Holmes is not even a legitimate leader in the District. While she was elected on November 6, 2018, she has never taken the oath of office legally. She should not be sitting on the board, and she should not be board chair.
- Holmes violated Board Policy BBAA Board Member Authority and Responsibilities. ¶2 "Board members acting as individuals have no authority over personnel or school affairs except when such authority is specifically delegated to a member by the board."
- Did the Board ever specify the Solomon Law Group or Williams and Williams for legal work?
- What kind of deal was made that they would provide services pro bono?
At the Regular Board Meeting on August 24, the Board should vote to withdraw the case from the S.C. Supreme Court, and the Board should censure Holmes and the superintendent.
Saturday, August 21, 2021
Who will challenge the case about Proviso 1.108 that has been filed in the S.C. Supreme Court on behalf of Richland 2?
The Board did not authorize that legal action. Who grabbed the ball and ran? Who will admit to the Board at the Regular Meeting on August 24 that he authorized the filing without Board approval?
Who searched diligently and found the law firms of Solomon Law Group and Williams and Williams? Did the attorney for the school board say, "Here are two personal-injury law firms who will do it for free?"
Why would you give that type of legal work to law firms whose websites reflect no experience in school board matters? (There is a precedent for that.)
Which board members will be outraged on Tuesday night?
Will Manning? Scott? McFadden? Agostini? Holmes? McKie? Caution-Parker?
I guess I ought to leave Holmes and McKie out of that question, since they are not legitimate board members.
Friday, August 20, 2021
The Richland 2 School District updated this morning's announcement about trotting off to the State Supreme Court.
“With a great sense of urgency Richland Two put into action the desire of the Richland Two Board of Trustees to seek legal relief from Appropriations Budget Proviso 1.108 in order to protect our students and employees. There is truly nothing more important to the Board than the safety and welfare of those whom we are entrusted to serve as the elected leaders of our Premier school district. We are hopeful that the S.C. Supreme Court will provide us with the ability to fulfill our highest priority to our community. Our district is extremely appreciative of the pro-bono services provided by The Solomon Law Group and Williams and Williams.”
Teresa Holmes has no authority to issue such a statement, unless the board has approved it. Did they board hold another Special Meeting this week to authorize that statement. (Hint: the answer is No.)
Holmes is one of seven members of the board. Being the (illegitimate) board chair does not make her Queen. She obviously did not write that statement. The statement would have been crafted and approved by the legal beagles for the District. A lot of heads were quite likely involved in getting each word just right.
How do I know this? I watched the executives and Legal Department of a Fortune 50 corporation try to get things right before publishing a statement. Many drafts went back and forth, before the CEO ever opened his mouth.
Last Monday evening there was no "great sense of urgency". The Board was just asleep at the switch; at least, during the public part of the meeting. What did they do in secret?
Did Holmes just violate the confidentiality of the Executive Session held on August 16, 2021? Remember when Trustee Agostini tried to find out more about the motion that Manning had made? Remember when Holmes said that they couldn't talk about what was discussed in executive session. And here she is - talking about it!!!
Out of what corner did The Solomon Law Group and Williams and Williams crawl? Have they ever done any work for Richland 2?
When did the board authorize that legal work? (It didn't.) The Board authorized the District (i.e., the supt.) to gather information and to confer with the Richland County Council. How amazing that all that got done in three days.
Did the Board (or certain members thereof) violate Board Policy DBG Board/ Attorney/Legal Services? Hiring or retaining an attorney is a board decision, by majority vote.
Why did the District pick personal-injury lawyers for this work? Look at the websites:
Solomon Law Group: https://solomonlawsc.com/
Williams and Williams: https://williamsattys.com/
Usually, it's a good idea to go for expertise. Do they have it? The board is supposed to pick the lawyers, not the superintendent or the chair or even the attorney that handles most of the District's legal work.
After the District issued a press release this morning that two law firms will represent it in filing a legal action with the S.C. Supreme Court, I reviewed the end of the August 16, 2021 Special-Called Board Meeting.
You will find it at www.livestream.com/richland2 Click on it, then choose the video in the right panel that indicates a length of 53:56. Then fast-forward past the blank (silent) portion to hear the confrontation between Lindsay Agostini and Teresa Holmes.
The public portion of the meeting resumes at 48:08 and Trustee Manning made a motion, saying; "I make a motion that the board authorizes the District to engage legal counsel to provide best option and legal strategy to address appropriations Budget Proviso 1.108, including consulting with Richland County Council with regards [sic] to protecting the health, safety and well-being of our students and employees." McKie seconded the motion.
Holmes "forgot" that Agostini wanted to rejoin the public portion of the meeting. I think she was having a Biden Moment.
Keep in mind that Holmes is not a legitimate board member and is not the legitimate chair. Holmes has NEVER taken the oath of office legally! She is usurping public office, and no one is doing anything about it.
When the board was ready to discuss the Motion, Trustee McFadden brought up that Agostini had not yet rejoined the meeting. THANK YOU, LASHONDA!!! (Of course, long-time board members Caution-Parker, Manning, Scott or McKie could have been awake enough to alert Holmes; even Supt. Davis should have been on top of that - he is there to keep her chair on the rails.)
Agostini rejoined the meetng and asked what the legal advice was that the board was seeking from the attorney for the district. That attorney is Kathryn Mahoney.
In a tone designed to shut down discussion (listen at 51:00), Holmes repeatedly said that "that" was discussed in executive session and she could not tell the public. Listen for yourself to the tone of voice used byHolmes toward Agostini.
Holmes was flat-out wrong. Certainly, the scope of legal advice being sought, and even the expense (number of hours of legal time authorized), could have been discussed. That's what Agostini was asking to be disclosed to the public.
Agostini is THE ONLY board member sticking up for the public. Why didn't any of the others support her?
And then Holmes says, "Do we need to re-vote?" They hadn't voted! Where is her brain? How is it that Holmes cannot even keep track of the simple process of Motion, Second, Discuss, Vote?
The vote was 6-0 on the motion.
Two unknown law firm are named in the press release. Who picked the law firms of Solomon Law Group and Williams and Williams? How did they come out of the woodwork for Richland 2 business? Did Attorney Mahoney recommend them? How did they get to work so quickly and file today in the S.C.Supreme Court. And who consulted with the Richland County Council?
The board is supposed to choose where legal work goes. The board is supposed to authorize legal action.
And you've gotta love the last line in the press release: "The Solomon Law Group and Williams and Williams are assisting Richland Two with this life-saving legal action pro-bono." [emphasis added]
Of course, the two law firms are NOT "assisting" Richland Two. They are "representing" Richland Two. Why would they do that pro bono?
August 20, 2021
RICHLAND TWO PETITIONS SOUTH CAROLINA SUPREME COURT
FOR AN ACTION FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
COLUMBIA, S.C. — On August 20, 2021, Carl L. Solomon, Esq., with the Solomon Law Group, and Skyler B. Hutto, Esq., with Williams & Williams, Attorneys at Law, filed a Petition for Original Jurisdiction, Expedited Disposition, and Emergency Declaration, and Motion for a Temporary Injunction with the South Carolina Supreme Court regarding Appropriations Budget Proviso 1.108 (SDE: Mask Mandate Prohibition) on behalf of Richland School District Two.
The motion requests the South Carolina Supreme Court to issue a temporary injunction to Respondents named in the motion directing them not to enforce the challenged portions of the Appropriations Act of 2021-22 until a final order is issued concerning the constitutionality of the mask mandate prohibition.
Richland Two leaders pursued this action following a special called board meeting on Monday, August 16, 2021, during which the Richland Two Board of Trustees authorized the district to engage legal counsel to provide the best option and legal strategy to address Appropriations Budget Proviso 1.108 with regard to protecting the health, safety and well-being of the district’s students and employees.
Dr. Baron R. Davis, superintendent, said, “We are hopeful that the S.C. Supreme Court will grant our request for declaratory and injunctive relief, enabling our district to fulfill our most important obligation to our families — providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all students. The Richland School District Two Board of Trustees, Superintendent and district leaders remain steadfast in our commitment to doing all we can to keep our students and employees safe and our schools open so that our students can receive the highest quality education from face-to-face instruction. We believe masks keep our students and employees safe by reducing the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and S.C. DHEC continue to identify this as a critical strategy in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
The Solomon Law Group and Williams and Williams are assisting Richland Two with this life-saving legal action pro-bono.
Thursday, August 19, 2021
Check out this story about a Loudoun County (Va.) School Board member Beth Barts. There is a vicious fight going on between the school board and parents who oppose Critical Race Theory (CRT).
That crisis needs to come to Richland 2.
The article is about comments allegedly posted by Barts to a social media group and then deleted when an investigation began.
But here's the part that brings Richland 2 school board to mind. Toward the end of the story is this sentence:
He (Ian Prior) pointed to a Virginia law that makes it illegal for a public official to “destroy any record… in his keeping and belonging to his office” under punishment of being “forever incapable of holding any office of honor, profit or trust under the Constitution of Virginia.”
Two members of the Richland 2 school board (actually one member and one usurper) use email addresses that are off the school district's server. Teresa Holmes (illegitimate board president) continues to use "email@example.com" for her email address, and Trustee Monica (formerly, Elkins) Scott uses "firstname.lastname@example.org"
Each should be required to use only a District email address for all official email communications. Why?
One of these days both Holmes and Scott will be former school board members. At that time, or even sooner, either could delete her gmail account or any message in it. It is under her control, not the school district's.
Why is this important? Official school district-related emails are to be a permanent record. They are subject to the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. This means that, at any time - now or in the future - they might be needed for the District to respond to a FOIA Request.
If Holmes or Scott deleted her account or decided to delete certain messages in that account, the District would be unable to respond honestly to a request for public information.
I've raised this issue with the Board previously. The first time I raised it, I learned that the District may be relying on advice from the South Carolina School Boards Association that a school board member can use a private email account. Supposedly, that allowance was made for the smallest school districts in the state that couldn't afford their own email server. That certainly doesn't apply to Richland 2, which is one of wealthiest districts in the State.
Thereafter, my request fell on deaf ears.
I shall request the Board once again to create a new Board Policy that requires all current and future board members to use only a District-based email account for all official communications. Will you join me by contacting board members and supporting this very simple request?
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Check out this FoxNews article about the uproar in Charleston yesterday, when parents unloaded on the Charleston City Council about a mask mandate for schools.
Key words in the FoxNews article: "...all children over the age of 2 to wear masks at all public facilities, 'including public schools, private schools and daycares.'"
Parents demand a say in issues that affect their children. Do you?
The YouTube video of the 8/17/2021 City Council meeting is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcXh3XepoWs The meeting appears to have been 5 hours 32 minutes in length! Whew!!!
The City Council also declined to accept a 500+-page report from the city’s Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion and Racial Conciliation.
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Last night the school board decided (6-1) to toss a problem in the lap of the attorney for the District, rather than making the decision they are elected to make.
The S.C. Dept. of Education issued Proviso 1.108. Richland 2 apparently doens't like it.
Trustee Agostini was correct last night to ask, when it was time for the board to vote on the executive session topic, just what the board was asking the attorney for. The board should have disclosed more to the public. It could have, but Teresa Holmes shut down Mrs. Agostini.
Holmes was wrong. More information could have been disclosed to the public about the nature of the request to the attorney. Just what is it that the board wants to know.
Perhaps Agostini should have made a Motion to more information, rather than asking a question. Then her motion would have needed action. Her motion would not have needed a second (Robert's Rules of Order §49:21, 2)) in order to move to Discussion.
Unfortunately, the board is composed of too many followers and too few free-thinking, independent members). They should be more curious about what is Right, instead of just going along with the crowd.
My guess is that the board doesn't like Proviso 1.108 and wants to oppose it. What is Proviso 1.108? Passed in June by the S.C. legislature, in summary it is: "No school district, or any of its schools, may use any funds appropriated or authorized pursuant to this act to require that its students and/or employees wear a facemask at any of its education facilities."
How much will the District spend to get the opinion from the attorney? Did they just write a blank check? Should the board have put a cap on legal fees, such as $10,000?
Monday, August 16, 2021
The Richland 2 School Board has had two vacant seats for 2¾ years - since November 13, 2018.
Why hasn't the Board declared the vacancies and notified the Richland County Elections Commission to hold a Special Election to fill the seats? Are Mizaru, Kikazaru and Iwazaru lurking there on the board?
At each board meeting you'll see all seven board seats filled, but two of the seats are filled by women who shouldn't be sitting in them. Amelia McKie and Teresa Holmes.
Why shouldn't they be sitting in them? Because they have never taken the oath of office - legally.
They took an oath on November 13, 2018, but that was before they were eligible to do so. That oath has no legal significance. They were qualified to take it (because they had been elected), but they were not eligible to take it. The oath documents were notarized and sent to the S.C. Secretary of State.
Those forms were worthless. Should District 2 notify the S.C. Secretary of State that those notarized forms are worthless and that they should not have been filed?
Should the District admit its error and call for a Special Election? Or should it now administer the oath of office to Holmes and McKie and finally seat them legally?
On December 4, 2018 Holmes and McKie filed their Statements of Economic Interests (SEI) with the S.C. Ethics Commission. On December 4 they first became eligible to take the oath. They have never done so.
S.C. Code of Laws 8-13-1110 reads, in part: (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.
Somebody with a Ph.D. ought to be able to understand that. Somebody with a high school education ought to be able to understand that. Heck, a third-grader could understand it.
1. You file your SEI.
2. Then you take the oath of office.
3. Then you begin your official responsibilies.
The order is 1-2-3. You can't just decide that you'll revise the order to 3-1-2 and then not do (2).
Since Holmes and McKie have neve taken the oath of office legally, they are not legal members of the board. They shouldn't be sitting there. They shouldn't attend executive sessions. They shouldn't vote. And they certainly should not be officers of the board. Also, they shouldn't get paid or receive financial benefits such as memberships and payments or reimbursements for classes, workshops, lodging, meals, travel.
They are usurping public office.
They should be removed from the board and they should be ineligible for re-election in 2022. And they should have to re-pay their salaries and the monies expended by the District for benefits.
They could have cured this problem when I addressed the School Board in March 2019. Now that they are eligible to take the oath (having filed their SEIs), all they need to do is take it.
But then the District will have to go back to November 13, 2018 and correct all the votes by the Board. Many decisions were affected by the illegitimate votes of Holmes and McKie. How many students were transferred or expelled by the votes of Holmes and McKie? McKie cannot serve as Regional Director of the S.C. School Boards Assn., because she is not a school board member.
Doesn't anyone else care?
What could possibly go wrong in a short Special-Called Board Meeting? You probably won't want to waste you time listening to the two recorded segments, so here it is.
It would probably be inappropriate for some board members to slap Teresa Holmes upside the head, but she needs it. Holmes disrespected Trustee Agostini at the August 10th Regular Meeting, and she did it again tonight.
The Board should spend money to hire Attorney Helen McFadden, who is an expert on Robert's Rules of Order, Open Meetings and FOIA. Holmes just does not know how to run a meeting and especially does not know how to conduct a meeting without disregarding or disrespecting Lindsay Agostini.
Agostini attended today's Special-Called Meeting by telephone, as she was driving from Chicago to Columbia. During the portion of the meeting preceding the executive session, she mentioned that she would not listen in on the executive session and specifically asked to be notified when the board re-convened in the public session. It was crystal-clear that she would miss only a portion of the meeting.
When the Board re-convened, Holmes proceeded with business, allowing Manning to make a Motion and it to be seconded. Trustee McFadden interrupted (49:30) and raised the point that Mrs. Agostini wanted to be called and notified of the public session. A staffer had apparently been working on re-establishing the phone connection in the meeting.
Once Mrs. Agostini was back in the meeting (via telephone), Holmes stumbled around and indicated that she had thought Mrs. Agostini had left the meeting permanently. It was clear that Holmes had not been paying attention to Mrs. Agostini's request to re-join the meeting. Holmes said she "forgot" that Mrs. Agostini wanted to be included after the executive session.
Holmes will never say that she "conveniently" forgot. I'll say it for her. Holmes' animosity toward Mrs. Agostini is clear, and displaying it is a violation of Board Policy BC Board Member Conduct.
If you want to watch tonight's meeting, there are two recordings. Go to www.livestream.com/Richland2. See the two videos on the right-hand panel.
The beginning of the meeting is the recording that shows a length of 26:43. Fast-foward to 09:39 for the start of the meeting. Mrs. Agostini's request to be contacted is at 25:35. Holmes said she would be sure that Ms. Agostini "got that information". (This shows she wasn't listening to Mrs. Agostini's request.)
The second portion of the meeting (after the executive session) shows a length of 53:46. Fast-foward to 48:00 for the resumption of the meeting.
Mrs. Agostini asked for information about the motion, and Holmes said it was discussed in executive session and they "can't discuss" it. HOLMES IS WRONG. The Board could have discussed how they want to go against Proviso 1.108 and do what they want to do, and not what the S.C. Dept. of Education says they are going to do. The Board is looking for a loophole in Proviso 1.108 and is going to pay the attorney to find it.
The board voted 6-1 to throw money at the attorney for the District. Agostini voted No.
Saturday, August 14, 2021
Just before 6:00PM today Richland 2 School District announced to media that the school board will hold a Special-Called Meeting on Monday, August 16, 2021 at 4:00PM. The meeting will be held at R2i2 and is open to the public, with social distancing requirement and masks "suggested", but not required. The Special-Called Meeting will also be broadcast on Zoom. After a Health and Safety Report, the board will head into executive session.
Because it is a Special-Called Meeting, there will be no Public Participation. So you are welcome to show up. But sit down and shut up.
On July 6, 2021 State Supt. of Education Molly Spearman issued this Memo about Proviso 1.108 to all school superintendents.
The Memo would have reached Richland 2 on July 6. The Board just met on August 10. What's the rush to meet again? I'm reminded of the well-known line in the movie, Cool Hand Luke. "What we have here is a failure to communicate." Perhaps the August 10th meeting should have been organized differently by the board chair (usurper) Teresa Holmes and the superintendent.
"RE: Proviso 1.108 Guidance and Face Coverings on School Buses Update The purpose of this memo is to provide guidance related to Proviso 1.108 (SDE: Mask Mandate Prohibition) and update the face coverings on school buses requirement. Proviso 1.108 was adopted by the General Assembly in the 2021-22 Appropriations Bill and reads as follows:
"1.108. (SDE: Mask Mandate Prohibition): No school district, or any of its schools, may use any funds appropriated or authorized pursuant to this act to require that its students and/or employees wear a facemask at any of its education facilities. This prohibition extends to the announcement or enforcement of any such policy.
"The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) interprets the above language to mean that school districts are prohibited from requiring students and employees to wear a facemask while in any of its educational facilities for the 2021-22 school year. Educational facilities include all property owned and operated by the individual district.
"The SCDE has previously enforced the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s January 29, 2021, order that requires the use of face coverings by people on public transportation conveyances and hubs, which includes school buses. Effective immediately, the SCDE will exercise its enforcement discretion granted within this order and will no longer enforce the face covering requirement on state owned school buses. The use of face coverings by students and staff on school buses and within school facilities remains a recommendation of state and federal public health officials and Proviso 1.108 does not prevent districts from encouraging the wearing of face coverings in these settings.
"However, districts may not create or enforce any policy, which would require the wearing of face coverings. Should a district decide to act contrary to this law, state funding may be withheld.
"Please contact Katie Nilges at email@example.com with any questions."
Richland 2 trustee-elect Amelia McKie made the news today.
In a Post and Courier article published late this afternoon, McKie is mentioned for - wait for it - her $57,000 debt to the South Carolina Ethics Commission.
Great way to get news; right? Richland 2 School District should be so proud. Her friends on the board should be proud, too. Even her fellow trustee-elect, Teresa Holmes, should be proud of McKie.
Why aren't some of McKie's proud friends harping on her to PAY HER DEBT?
Ask them. Ask Holmes, Caution-Parker, McFadden, Manning and Scott (Elkins)
Reporter Avery Wilks spread the fame around quite a bit. He didn't just pick on McKie.
EDIT: This is the lead story on Sunday, August 15.
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
The following letter is being emailed to the five legal trustees of the Richland 2 school board and the two trustees-elect who are usurping public office by acting like board members. A copy is being sent to the attorney for the District and to an attorney who has previously provided FOIA and Robert's Rules of Order training to the board.
Members of the Board (and trustees-elect Holmes and McKie),
The ONLY apology needed at tonight's school board meeting was for Teresa Holmes to admit that she doesn't have a clue how to run a b...
Reporter Michael Smith of The Independent Voice of Blythewood & Fairfield County contacted me for a comment after the Richland 2 Scho...
A prominent attorney in Columbia suggested to me earlier in the year that I ought to run for the School Board. He told me I'd have a goo...