Monday, January 24, 2022

What IS Critical Race Theory?

If you really want to know what Critical Race Theory (CRT) is, this one-hour, fifty-minute video is one to watch.
https://rumble.com/vt13zi-opposing-views-is-critical-race-theory-solving-anything-james-lindsay-and-v.html

"Critical Race Theory is calling everything 'racist' - until you control it." This is the opening comment by James Lindsay. He explains his background at the beginning of the interview.

I'm only 21 minutes into the interview. I urge you to watch it.

It's too bad he wasn't at a recent Richland 2 School Board meeting, when Helen Grant couldn't answer Trustee Lindsay Graham's question about what CRT is. Mnning mentions Richard Delgado. Grant mentioned Delgado, too; only she pronounced his name "Degaldo". If you don't know what CRT is, how can you talk about the differences between CRT and culturally-relevant teaching (pedagogy).

Be prepared to listen "fast". Lindsay could give a 2-hour talk in 20 minutes!

Meeting Announcements - longer, longer, longer

Remembder, back in the good, ol' days when board meetings were announced with "The next board meeting will be (     (date)_   )?

Now, it's 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 22, 2022

 

 RICHLAND TWO BOARD OF TRUSTEES TO MEET TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Richland School District Two Board of Trustees will hold a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, January 25, 2022.

The board meeting will be called to order at 5:30 p.m. and the board will immediately adjourn into executive session. Public session will resume at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the R2i2 Conference Center located at 763 Fashion Drive, Columbia, 29229. At the board meeting, visitors will be required to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Click the following link to view the agenda for the January 25 Board Meeting: http://go.boarddocs.com/sc/rsd2/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=C2WNES5AC3BE

Public Participation is on the agenda for the January 25 meeting. Comments may be received from any Richland Two student, parent/legal guardian, resident, property owner, business owner, or Richland County elected official. All persons who wish to comment during Public Participation will fill out the appropriate form and sign-up sheet at the meeting before the public session of the meeting begins.

In order to allow for social distancing due to COVID-19, a safe distance between the public and the board, and to ensure adequate access for emergency personnel, capacity for the members of the public who wish to attend the meeting in-person is limited to 50. In case that capacity is reached and to provide members of the public the ability to watch the board meeting from the safety of their home, the meeting will also be streamed live at www.richland2.org/livestream.

As the lobby closes to the public at 5 p.m., citizens attending the board meeting will not be allowed to linger in the lobby. Citizens attending the board meeting will be directed to the meeting space upon arriving at R2i2.

The public will not be allowed to protest or loiter in front of the main entrance. This is for safety reasons to allow emergency access into the building and for others who have other business to enter the building.

In an effort to effectively maintain a safe environment, any person attending the meeting who is out of order, loud, disruptive, making inappropriate comments, and/or a safety concern will be asked to be seated or leave by a security officer. If the person does not comply, a Richland County Sheriff Deputy will escort them off the property.

No signage or other objects will be allowed into the facility that could either be a distraction or used as a weapon.

UPCOMING BOARD MEETING: Board Winter Retreat on February 4, 2022


Don't miss the implied threats, if you look at the wrong person cross-eyed. Don't use your public property R2i2 property). Don't complain about infringement on your Constitutional Rights. 

Don't protest or linger; where's the line between that and "peaceable assembly"? Don't they realize that the public is smart enough to get out of the way, if the paramedics, police or fire show up?

Who determines whether someone is "out of order, loud, disreptive, making inappropriate comments"? Who is going to eject Teresa Holmes next time she pulls any (or all) of those prohibited stunts - IN a board meeting?

Who decides whether a sign or "object" could be a distraction or used as a weapon? Is my tape recorder or phone a "weapon"? A distraction? In whose judgment???

The Board Winter Retreat will include a Robert's Rules of Order (RONR) training. That ought to be "interesting". It's a board meeting and open to the public. Want to hear what they hear about RONR? How often will the trainer say, "You can't do what you've been doing!"

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Could McKie get caught under both S. 203 and S. 188?

The S.C. House of Representatives Education and Public Works Committee reported S 203 favorably out of Committee on Thursday, January 20. Now it's up to the full House to approve it and send it to the Governor for signng.

What can you do? Email your State Representative and the full House to pass S. 203 now.

What is S. 203? 

 A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 59-19-60 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO THE REMOVAL OF
 SCHOOL DISTRICT TRUSTEES AND FILLING VACANCIES, TO PROVIDE THAT DISTRICT
 TRUSTEES GUILTY OF MALFEASANCE, MISFEASANCE, INCOMPETENCY, ABSENTEEISM,
 CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, MISCONDUCT, PERSISTENT NEGLECT OF DUTY IN OFFICE, OR
 INCAPACITY SHALL BE SUBJECT TO REMOVAL FROM OFFICE BY THE GOVERNOR

Is there any way this might apply to Amelia McKie as a consequence of failing to take the oath-of-office after filing her Statement of Economic Interests Report (SEI) with the S.C. Ethics Commission on December 4, 2018?

That SEI was filed three years ago. On that date (12/4/2018) McKie first became eligible to take the oath-of-office.

The only date when she did take an oath-of-office was November 13, 2018, and that was three weeks before she became eligible to take it. (The same is true of Teresa Holmes.) When you take an oath-of-office before you are eligible to do so, it has no legal merit.

Coming along in the S.C. Senate is S. 188. If it can get through the Senate and the House and past the Governor, that'll sink McKie's ship, for sure. It prohibits a person from running for school board, among other offices, if she owes money to the Ethics Commission.

McKie made the front page of the print edition of The Voice of Blythewood and Fairfield County this week. Pick up a copy of the paper at your favorite newstand.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Another Ethics Bill - S.188 - The Amelia McKie Bill

There is another ethics bill in the South Carolina Senate. This one is S. 188 and is aimed directly at Amelia McKie. If the Senators get busy and pass this bill, McKie will not be able to file to run for re-election. Let's call this one The Amelia McKie Bill.

S. 188 will prohibit a person from filing to run for office, if the person owes outstanding fines to the S.C. Ethics Commission. 

At last report McKie owes $57,100 in fines and fees to the S.C. Ethics Commission. That's up from the $51,700 judgment filed on 7/10/2019 in the Richland County Common Pleas Court. 
Case No. 2019CP4003809

S.188 was filed in the Senate on December 9, 2020. On January 12, 2021 it was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. And there it has sat, gathering dust. Why???

A good friend of McKie, S.C. Sen. Mia McLeod, is on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Wouldn't her sworn duty to the People of South Carolina require her to move her feet and kick S.188 to a discussion and vote. Or are her feet stuck in the swamp because of friendship?

I have written to Sen. McLeod several times (I'm a constituent in her District), asking her to address McKie's debt with her. I don't even get the courtesy of an acknowledgement (other than the formatted auto-reply) or a response.

Write to Sen. McLeod and ask her to move S.188 to a vote and ask her to vote in favor of it. And then check to see how she voted. And remember that the next time she is up for re-election.

On the State Legislative website, you can send an email to all members of the Judiciary Committee, as a whole, and to all Senators. Today I emailed the Judiciary Committee members and all Senators.

Go to www.scstatehouse.gov
Click on Senate
Click on Email (second line)
Click on All Senate Members

Write "Dear Judiciary Committee Members and all Senators"

Then tell them what you want them to do.

You can track S.188 by going from the Legislative homepage to S.188 by entering S 188 in the Quick Search box. Look down for S 188 and click on it.

Bye-bye, Amelia.

Was the Supt. at work on Friday, Jan. 14?

If you remember, it was on Tuesday, January 11th that the Regular Board Meeting was adjourned early, after the superintendent suffered a health event and was transported to an emergency room.

Many well-wishers prayed and sent Get Well messages to him, and he thanked all on Tuesday, Jan. 18 in a message to staff and parents. He wrote in his message that he was looking forward "to fully returning to my regular schedule..."

In other words, he hadn't yet (Jan. 18) returned to his regular, full-time schedule. Does anyone else read it that way?

How ill was he?"

Not so ill that he couldn't keep a speaking engagement in Charleston on Friday morning, January 14, when he was scheduled to deliver a talk titled "Reimagining Education" at the 2022 Winter Conference of SCABSE.

What is SCABSE? It's the South Carolina Alliance of Black School Educators.

Supt. Davis was scheduled to speak from 9:10-9:45AM. Who was in charge of Richland 2, when he was away from the District that day?

The Assistant Superintendent is Marshalynn Franklin. Was she at work that Friday, keeping the District running smoothly?

Franklin was at the SCABSE Conference and scheduled to conduct the Welcome on Saturday morning at 8:00-8:03AM

Did Franklin drive to Charleston Friday after work or really early on Saturday morning? Or was she at the conference on Friday, too? If she was, who was on duty at Richland Two, if both the superintendent and assistant superintendent were out of town?

The program for the Winter Conference identifies Supt. Davis as not only Superintendent of Richland Two, but also as "President, SCABSE @ SC Superintendents".

With all his extracurricular activities and side-gigs, how does Richland 2 get his full-time services for the annual salary of $244,000?

Next Board Meeting: Jan. 25

Be sure to attend the board meeting on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at 6:30PM at R2i2. If you don't wish to attend in person, connect via livestream.com/richland2

If you want to speak at the meeting, you must sign up by 6:15PM. Sign-up begins at 5:30PM.

Speakers address the board usually in the order of signing up, but not always. I was #9 at a recent meeting but was the last (#15) to address the board, thanks to the chair's control of speaking order. 

There are two forms. You must sign on one form and fill out the second.

Now, there is no good reason for the second form. Why do they require it? Because they can. It's kind of like the Golden Rule. The one with the gold rules. It's called "control".

By the time of Public Participation in Tuesday's meeting, the chair should have a better understanding of when a member of the public can mention a board member's name without encountering the chair's objection. During the executive session (5:31-6:30PM) the board is scheduled to receive legal advice on Board Policy BEDH - Public Participation.

Policy BEDH reads that you can't "complain" about a board member (who is a person connected with the school system). If you don't complain about a board member, there should be no reason for the chair to shut down a speaker.

We'll see how this works out on Tuesday.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Open Letter to the R2 School Board

The following email has been sent to the Richland 2 School Board:

Members of the Board and trustees-elect Holmes and McKie,

On the agenda for your 1/25/2022 Executive Session is Item 2.4 Receipt of Legal Advice, including Policy BEDH - Public Participation.

Will you please ask the attorney, specifically, why members of the public cannot mention a board member by name?

I believe Chair Holmes is applying the Policy incorrectly, when she admonishes members of the public not to mention a name of a board member.

Policy BEDH, under Open Forum, reads, in part, "The board will not permit in public session any expression of personal complaints [emphasis added] about individual school personnel or any other person connected with the school system."

It does not state that a board member's name cannot be mentioned. It does not prohibit a comment about a board member's position on an issue. It does not forbid a compliment about a board member. It does not prohibit a statement in defense of a board member.

Please clarify for the Chair that she cannot make up her own rules for Public Participation. She can only apply BEDH as it is written. If she is going to quote Board Policy, please ask her to quote it accurately and not "interpret" or expand it.

Thank you.

Gus Philpott

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

How is the Supt.?

Supt. Davis posted a message to parents and staff on Tuesday afternoon about his return to work.

No media release was issued, but his message can be viewed at www.smore.com/b3xys

Reading between the lines, my guess is that he worked part of the day on Friday, Jan. 14. And when he wrote on Tuesday that he is looking forward to "...fully returning to my regular schedule..", then I'd say he hadn't yet returned to full-time work.

Or is it just careless construction of the message?

And what's with "Superintendent Dr. Davis"?

Isn't "Supt. Davis" adequate?

I'm frequently reminded of his style to use many words, when a few would suffice.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Should Holmes be cited for violating the County's facemask ordinace?

And should Holmes be sanctioned for violating the school district's face mask (shield) policy?

Have you noticed the amount of time that Holmes holds her faceshield in her hand, rather than putting it back on her face after speaking?

In fact, why does she even remove it to speak? There is no doubt that her voice will carry through or around the faceshield. 

It seems that the rules apply to everyone - board members, staff, audience, security officers, RCSD deputies - except Teresa Holmes. 

The superintendent is sitting right there. Why doesn't he say something to her? 

Vice-Chair Manning is sitting right there. Why doesn't he say something to her?

Her buddy, Amelia McKie, is sitting right there. Why doesn't she say something to Holmes?

Is it a case of "Rules for thee, but not for me"?

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Should Judicial Watch sue Richland 2?

I received an email this week from Judicial Watch, reporting its "win" against the City of Asheville, N.C. in a Federal lawsuit. What was the lawsuit?

Judicial Watch had sued the City of Asheville, N.C. over its racially-discriminatory scholarship program.

Would Judicial Watch file a lawsuit against Richland 2 for its 100 Premier Men of Color Program?

Should a lawsuit even be necessary? When district residents complain about a discriminatory activity by the School District, shouldn't that be enough for the School Board to rein in the superintendent and end a discriminatory program?

This Program has appaerntly never been approved by the Richland 2 School Board. The superintendent reminded the board last year that he is not evaluated on it in his annual performance review. Yet he seems to devote considerable time to it. Recently, Service Solutions (the district's contracted janitorial company) began donating $15,000/year to the district with "strings attached". 

The City of Asheville caved pretty quickly. Judicial Watch filed its lawsuit in October 2021, and it was over on January 11, 2022, when the Asheville City Council approved a settlement.

The January 15, 2022 email from Judicial Watch read:

"The City of Asheville, North Carolina, settled our federal civil rights lawsuit after agreeing to remove all racially discriminatory provisions in a city-funded scholarship program. The city also agreed to remove racially discriminatory eligibility provisions in a related program that provides grants to educators. The City Council approved the settlement on January 11.

"In October 2021, we filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina on behalf of a North Carolina citizens group, WNC Citizens for Equality, Inc., whose members include high school students who were ineligible for a scholarship program only because they are not Black (WNC Citizens for Equality, Inc., v. City of Asheville et al. (No. 1:21-cv-00310)). (The Legal Insurrection Foundation partnered with us in the lawsuit.)

"Here’s the background. On May 5, 2021, the City of Asheville entered into an agreement with the Asheville City Schools Foundation to establish and administer the City of Asheville Scholarship Fund. According to the agreement, the City of Asheville Scholarship is “awarded in perpetuity to Black high school students within Asheville City Schools, with special consideration given for Black students pursuing a career in education.” (In July 2020, Ashville’s City Council unanimously approved what is called a “reparations initiative,” that provided “funding to programs geared toward increasing homeownership and business and career opportunities for Black residents.”)

"To settle our civil rights lawsuit, on January 11, 2022, Asheville’s City Council approved a resolution that removes the racial criteria for the scholarship:

[T]he scholarship will give preference to applicants whose household members, including parents and/or guardians have a high school education or less, these applicants representing “first generation” college students.
 
"The City Council also removed racially discriminatory language for a scholarship program for educators and staff of Asheville City Schools.

"The scholarship agreements were also amended to prohibit discrimination based on race and other categories.

"Our clients, a group of Asheville residents, including high school students, courageously challenged this blatantly discriminatory and illegal scholarship program in federal court.

"Thankfully, the City of Asheville did the right thing in quickly ending these indefensible race-based scholarship programs.

"This federal lawsuit and the resulting remarkable settlement should serve as a wake-up call to those activists and allied politicians pushing the extremist leftist agenda to segregate and discriminate based on race."

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Who was hired?

Last Fall the District advertised for an executive assistant for the board chair. As I recall, the pay was $40,-45,000/year. The list of duties was a mile long, as is typical when HR writes up a job description.

Was anyone ever hired?

My big question at the time was why would the District spend $45,000/year for a secretary to the board chair, whose pay is $12,000 for the part-time position.

There is no way that there can be that much work to do. 

But maybe a big part of the pay is for the assignment in a combat zone. Imagine trying to tell Holmes that "you can't do that." Would anyone dare? When you watch how Holmes treats her equals on the board (and they are her equals), what would it be like to be her subordinate?

Did the District find a taker for that job? Anyone know?

Daily Updates on Supt.?

Is the board chair providing daily updates to the trustees on Supt. Davis' health?

Do they know when he will return to work and whether he will return full-time?

Has the authority for running the District been turned over to the second-in-command, whoever that is?

Why do I ask? Richland School District Two is a business that is rolling along on a $300,000,000+ annual budget, delivering education to 28,000 students and employing 3,000+ men and women.

Seven Trustees are responsible for directing this business. What's in place are five legal trustees and two trustees-elect. So I guess the true situation is that five trustees and two usurpers are directing the show.

But are they? They should be, but are they?

Take a really close look at this board. If Richland 2 were a Fortune 500 business, would you want that board directing business? Seriously?

There is an election coming up on November 9, 2022. Four trustees (as it happens, it's the Core Four (or The Squad)) will watch their terms expire. They are Holmes, McKie, Caution-Parker, and Manning. All four should not be re-elected. 

The District cannot afford a repeat performance of the opening of the first 15 minutes of the January 11, 2022 board meeting.

Which of the trustees would have qualified for this seat at the Jan. 11th meeting?



Who's on First?

Who is running Richland 2 School District?

I sent an email to the board this morning, with a copy to Supt. Davis, among others, and I received an auto-response (11:23AM) from the supt's office that read 

"Thank You for your message.  I am currently away from the office. If you need immediate assistance, please contact my executive assistant  Georgette Council at gcouncil@richland2.org or (803) 738-3236 for assistance. 

Is he taking some time off to recover from his health incident at the board meeting on Tuesday evening? If so, that's understandable.

Who is in charge in his absence?

Has the board been informed, if he is away from the office for health reasons?

Holmes violates facemask rule and Ordinance

Today the following email has been sent to the Richland Two school board:


Members of the board and trustees-elect Holmes and McKie,

Please watch the first 15 minutes of the reconvened 1/11/2022 meeting (YouTube) and be aware of the amount of time Teresa Holmes holds her face shield, instead of wearing it.

You, except Teresa, wore your masks. The staff, audience, security officers and deputy sheriffs were required to wear their masks.

Why is the facemask rule not imposed on Holmes? She could wear it and speak into her microphone; she should wear it all the time, just as everyone else is required to do. Should she be subject to arrest by deputies for violating the Richland County facemask ordinance?

I request a written response from the District that will assure me of my physical safety from COVID exposure at future meetings by requiring Holmes to wear her facemask/shield. 


This email was sent to Trustees Agostini, Scott, McFadden, Manning and Caution-Parker, to trustees-elect Holmes and McKie, with copies to Supt. Davis, Security Director Marq Claxton, Chief of Operatons, Will Anderson, Chief Financial Officer Harry Miley, Diversity Chief DEI Officer Helen Grant, and Chief Communications Officer Libby Roof.

The board has the authority to insist on compliance by Teresa Holmes. If they can't get it done, the supt. can direct Marq Claxton to sanction Holmes and issue her a Trespass Notice for refusing to wear the mask/face-shield on school property. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Inaccurate ending of 1/11/2022 meeting.

There is poor editing at the end of 1/11/2022 recording which Richland 2 has published on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gWtpQ_SGQY

Toward the end of the amended recording, the superintendent spoke and then trustee-elect Holmes spoke about the presentation on a survey regarding face masks.

Then Holmes' voice can be heard, stating, "I am making an executive order, an executive decision that this meeting has been adjourned."

While she is speaking, this screen is displayed.


What was obviously cut out of the video was the view of Supt. Davis' health event. A period of time passed while he was assisted by some in the room and during which EMS arrived and removed him from the building. And then Holmes announced adjournment of the meeting.

The meeting was not adjourned at the time Holmes spoke. In the interest of accuracy, there is a better way that this ending of the meeting could have been conveyed. It's an editing issue by R2 staff, not of the board.





Jan. 11 Board Meeting - on YouTube

                                                          Click on "Watch on YouTube"

The January 11, 2022 Regular Board Meeting has been published on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gWtpQ_SGQY

Trustee Agostini explained why she votes No at every meeting on the item to approve the Board Agenda. Then Trustee Manning was recognized. A Parliamentarian would have shut him down, because he was responding to what Trustee Agostini had said and not commenting on the motion that was before the board. Because Holmes does not know the Robert's Rules of Order, she didn't stop Manning's comment. Notice his posture as he speaks. Leaning back in his chair. Rotating on the swivel. Arms folded. Body language says so much!

Notice also the long periods of time when Holmes holds her face-shield, rather than having it on her face!

Be sure to watch the segment for Item 5.0, approval of the Consent Agenda. That starts at 06:35. There were many parliamentary errors. Trustee-elect (and acting chair) Teresa Holmes ran over Trustees Agostini and McFadden, resulting in an important error in the Minutes' not getting corrected.

The Agenda for the December 14, 2021 had listed a hearing on ESSER 3. Holmes blew right by that at the December board meeting. Yet the Minutes reflect the ESSER 3 hearing, even though it was never held. The Minutes should have been amended.

The original motion to approve the Consent Agenda was made by McKie, seconded by Caution-Parker. Agostini made a motion to have the Consent Agenda broken up and each of the three items discussed separately. Agostini stated no second was required. Holmes didn't know. The superintendent agreed that no second was required. BUT THEN the superintendent erred in his opinion that McKie's motion had to be decided first.

This was wrong, because Agostini's motion was a secondary motion.

The Superintendent was wrong. The Chair was wrong. Manning was wrong.

Yet Holmes railroaded the Consent Agenda item through as shown on the Agenda. Big mistake.

Watch how Holmes (mis) handles Trustee Agostini's secondary motion to amend the Consent Agenda. Agostini's motion never got a vote.

Trustee McFadden's claim was accurate that proceeding with a vote on trustee-elect McKie's motion would eliminate any chance of amending the motion. And that's exactly what happened.

Why didn't Trustee Manning or Supt. Davis speak up and remind Holmes, yet one more time, about how to handle secondary motions? Why did they disregard that it WAS a secondary motion and brought up at the correct time?

Holmes wrongfully called for a vote on McKie's motion, and the Core Four, naturally, approved it 4-2--1 (Yes 4; No 2; Abstain 1)

SHAMEFUL!!!

Be sure to watch the Public Participation segment, which begins at 15:45

At least three of the speakers addressed the board's complete failure in handling the Consent Agenda item.

Why I address Holmes and McKie as trustees-elect

When I write to Teresa Holmes and Amelia McKie, I address them as trustee-elect. I do not address them as Trustee Holmes and Trustee McKie.

Why do I do this? I assure you - it is not intended as disrespectful. I address them in this manner because it is correct.

Holmes and McKie have never taken the oath-of-office legally. They remain trustees-elect.

An oath-of-office was administered to them on November 13, 2018, but neither was eligible to take the oath on that date. They had not filed their Statements of Economic Interests (SEI) with the South Carolina Ethics Commission, as required by State law.

As a result of contact by The Voice of Blythewood & Fairfield County newspaper, both filed their SEIs on December 4, 2018.

On December 4, 2018 each first became eligible to take the oath.

Neither has ever taken the oath since December 4, 2018.

I can only assume that a lawyer has advised the school district on this matter. If the lawyer told the District that there was no problem, I am doubtful about that advice.

The law is the law. The law was not followed. It's a short, simple law. Easy to understand. Easy to follow.  The South Carolina Code of Laws states:

ARTICLE 11

Disclosure of Economic Interests

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. If a public official, public member, or public employee referred to in this section has no economic interests to disclose, he shall nevertheless file a statement of inactivity to that effect with the appropriate supervisory office. All disclosure statements are matters of public record open to inspection upon request.

Here is the correct order.
1. File the SEI
2. Take the oath-of-office
3. Enter upon official responsibilities

The correct order is 1-2-3. The order is NOT 2-3-1.

It was suggested to me that the error was just a "technicality." Nope! Sorry. Good try. No pass.

Why have Holmes, McKie, the school board, and the school district dug in their heels? Why haven't the five legal Trustees insisted that Holmes and McKie take the oath-of-office legally? Why doesn't this come up at every board meeting?

If the board insisted that Holmes and McKie recuse themselves from any vote on the matter, a Motion to direct Holmes and McKie to remove themselves from the board until they take the oath-of-office legally would get a vote of 3-2, a passing vote. Agostini, Scott and McFadden would vote in favor. Manning and Caution-Parker would vote against, although they too ought to vote in favor.

In every communication to the board, I address Holmes as "trustee-elect Holmes" and McKie as "trustee-elect McKie". I shall stop so addressing them, as soon as they become legitimate members of the school board.

And because they are not legitimate members of the board, they cannot serve as Chair and Secretary, respectively. This means that all documents (school bond resolutions, etc.) are worthless, because legal signatures are not affixed. Thanks to Manning and Caution-Parker for creating this legal mess on June 29, 2020, when they nominated Holmes and McKie as board officers.

I invite you to do so, too.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Supt. Davis - ill at board meeting

Apparently, Supt. Davis became ill at tonight's board meeting. I had left after the Public Participation.

Later I began watching the livestream recording and then decided to watch the remainder tomorrow. I received a text that Supt. Davis had become ill and that the meeting had adjourned.

When I returned to the livestream recording, it was password-protected; i.e., locked. 

The District is in error to lock the video. It is a public meeting. Everything that happens in a meeting that has been properly noticed to the public, as this one was, belongs in the public view.

This is the second time that Richland 2 has locked a video. 

If South Carolina had a strong Open Meetings Act law, there would be a way to appeal decisions made by public bodies. 

EDITED:

1/12/22 The recording of last night's board meeting is improperly locked by the District, just as they did a couple of months ago. One viewer was quick enough to capture a short segment of the recorded meeting.

View it here: 

Click on the link above to view video


The purpose of including this is so that you can see clearly just what happened. Supt. Davis was seated in his chair. He didn't collapse. He didn't pass out, as commented on Facebook. 

You can decide for yourself who close to him responded and how much they appeared to help. 

The District will probably edit out the superintendent's health incident and then publish the meeting on YouTube. The District fails the public, when it shuts down the recording of a public meeting. 

Notice Teresa Holmes' cell phone standing on her desk, propped open. Was she again recording speakers and streaming to her personal Facebook page? I was going to ask about that in public but got distracted by the dog-and-pony show during the Consent Agenda fiasco.


Chair Mishandles Consent Agenda Item

The opening of tonight's board meeting was a complete joke, and three speakers addressed the errors during the Public Participation segment.

When the meeting arrived at the Consent Agenda item, a motion was made and seconded to approve the Consent Agenda item.

Trustee Agostini then made a motion to split the agenda. What she meant was to separate the items and not approve them as a group.

Holmes wanted to approve the consent agenda and then address the items which Agostini wanted to separate.

It would have been clearer if Trustee Agostini had made a motion to remove Item 5.2 Approval of the Minutes from the Consent Agenda. After discussion and a vote, then a motion would have been made to remove Item 5.4 Request for an Innovative CTE Course from the Consent Agenda. And it would have been discussed and voted on. And only then would the original motion, as amended, have been voted on.

If both Items 5.2 and 5.4 were removed, then the board would have voted on the Consent Agenda, which would have contained only Item 5.3. After that each of the other two Items would have been discussed and voted on.

Holmes has a lot of trouble understanding secondary motions and generally objects to them because she doesn't know how to handle them, in spite of having been educated by Trustee Manning at several previous meetings. 

Trustee Agostini stated that her motion did not require a Second. After brief discussion between the superintendent and Holmes, the superintendent agreed with Agostini that a second was not required.

What did Holmes do? She wanted to move on to a vote on the original motion. Why didn't the superintendent step up and correct her? Isn't part of his job to assist her in not making a fool out of herself?

Trustee McFadden stated that, if the orginal motion was voted on, then it would not be possible to discuss removal of the two Items. And Mrs. McFadden was exactly right.

Holmes ran all over Trustees Agostini and McFadden and bullied her way through to vote on the original motion.

Three speakers tonight attacked what had happened.

I was the final speaker. I showed my notes and said I had written comments on two topics, but I said I was going to address what had just happened in the meeting. I got away with mentioning Trustee Agostini's name but, when I mentioned Trustee McFadden's very correct comment, Holmes woke up and came out of her shell, demanding that I not mention anyone's name.

Why not? Mrs. McFadden was sitting right there and had just said what I was repeating. I was complimenting Trustee McFadden.

I think the problem is that Teresa Holmes is just ignorant of organizational procedures. She's not a completely dumb person; after all, she did get an Ed.D. degree from an online school in California. The procedures have been explained to her in public in school board meetings many times, and she is either unwilling or unable to learn them. Or maybe she just wants things her way, even when she is wrong.

Any other board would removed Holmes from the position as Chair by now. Manning made a huge mistake last June 29 when he nominated Holmes for the office of Chair. Just as the board (the Core Four) elected her last June 29, they could hold a new election and elect someone else as Board Chair.

For the good of the District, that's exactly what the board should do.

Is R2 Violating Board Policy AC?

Is the 100 Premier Men-of-Color Program ("Program") a violation of Board Policy AC?

Board Policy AC was created just three years ago, in October 2018, and it reads, in part,

"“The Board affirms the right of all individuals to be treated with respect and to be protected from intimidation, discrimination, physical harm, and/or harassment. Respect for each individual will be a consideration in the establishment of all policies by the board and in the administration of those policies by district staff.

“The district is committed to providing equal access to educational and employment opportunities regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, pregnancy (including childbith and other related medical conditions), age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity status, spousal affiliation, or any other protected characteristic as may be required by law.”

In how many ways does the Program violate not only board policy, but also Federal and State laws? Is it not discriminatory?

How do employees, including teachers and staff, feel about the 100 Premier Men-of-Color Program?

Are employees afraid to speak out? Are white men afraid to speak out? Are women afraid to speak out?

What would be the result, if the District conducted a survey of all employees (and of parents and community members) about the 100 Premier Men-of-Color Program? A survey that was 100% confidential, with absolutely no way that responses could be tracked down to those who completed a survey?

If employees were absolutely sure that they could answer honestly and without fear of retaliation or retribution, how would they answer?

How did it happen that Service Solutions decided to cough up $15,000/year, to be used in this Program?

Was it purely out of the goodness of their corporate heart?

The superintendent told the board that his performance evaluation does not include this Program. 

If he is not evaluated on it, then how is it getting so much emphasis and why is it even being conducted?

Is anyone who questions it considered to be a racist? 

Why isn't the board making a very careful examination of this Program and reporting to assure the public that it is not a racist or discriminatory project?

Monday, January 10, 2022

What's THIS Garbage??? (billboard)


Why isn't this overt racism?

Can you imagine the uproar if a white-owned business advertised its desire to hire 100 White Employees?

BLM and Antifa and the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center and who knows what else would be picketing and boycotting tomorrow morning at 8:00AM.

How much is Richland 2 paying Lamar Advertising of Columbia, S.C. to display that ad? How long will it be up there?

Who authorized this billboard advertising? Who thought it up? Well, obviously Supt. Baron Davis gave it a thumbs-up. Was he the one who came up with the idea?

Richland 2 School District should be committed to hiring the best candidates, be they black, white, brown, yellow, red, for the money they have available in the budget to pay for new teaching staff.

No hiring bonuses, no freebies from that "donation" received from the contract janitorial firm. 

If you are upset about discrimination in hiring practices, as demonstrated by the Premier 100 program, sound off to the trustees - all of them, and especially to the board chair. Tell them to get the superintendent under control. Tell him to hire the best available teacher, not the best black male teacher available.

Why aren't the women teachers (white AND black) yelling and screaming?

Why aren't the Feds all over Richland 2? Where is the DOJ when you really need them?

Time-Limit on Board Meetings

Should Richland 2 school board meetings have a time-limit? Say, two hours?

Poor planning by the board chair and the superintendent resulted in a December 14th board meeting that lasted four (FOUR!) hours until 10:30PM. And that was after a one-hour executive meeting from 5:30-6:30PM.

There is no real reason for public meetings to last more than two hours. Perhaps at 8:30PM three trustees should stand and walk out. Without a quorum the meeting should end.

Why do meetings last so long?

Sometimes, executive sessions run over the one-hour mark.

Sometimes (often!) the Inspiration Moment is excessive in length.Often Amelia McKie's introduction of the Moment is itself 2-3 minutes. And the Moment itself should be limited to three minutes; perhaps only two. And it should be inspiring!

The pace of Public Participation could be increased by calling the next two speakers to a "ready" area near the microphone. The chair could announce the next speaker and say "Followed by ____ and ____."

And then those lengthy dog-and-pony shows of staff presentations to the Board could be shortened. They are far too long. The board has already received the presentations in written form in the Board Packet. Do very many of the board members bother to read them?

A couple of years ago Holmes asked a question of a staff member after a presentation. The staffer hesitantly said that the answer to her question was actually in the Board Packet. I wanted to cheer. I wonder where that staffer works now. As I recall, Holmes' question had to do with classroom visits by a board member. 

Staff presentations should be five minutes and the rest of the time should be spent answering questions, if any, from the trustees. We all know now that trustees cannot get questions from staffers without first being stuffed through the roadblock of the superintendent's office. And there is no need for individual trustees (ex. McKie, Caution-Parker) to "stroke" the staff members with thanks. Thanks should be expressed on behalf of the board by the chair.

Caution-Parker was critical recently of parents who asked questions of the board and then didn't hang around for hours to hear the answers. She totally ignored the fact that parents could tune into livestream recordings to hear whatever was said later in the meeting.

So, Trustees, when it's 8:30PM, why not make a Motion to adjourn the meeting? If (when) it fails, walk out. Holmes will get the message after 3-4 meetings and prepare agendas to cover everything in two hours. 

Sort of like training a puppy, don't you know?

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Will Fireworks Continue on January 11?

Has the Richland 2 superintendent made peace with Trustee Lashonda McFadden?

At the December 14, 2021 school board meeting, Mrs. McFadden related that she has been "ex-communicated" from speaking with the superintendent, was under an "order of confidentiality" and wondered whether she ought to be consulting with an attorney. You can heard her comments on the livestream.com/richland2 recording, beginning at 4:43:35 on the timer.

How does a superintendent get away with severing a professional, business relationship with an elected and legal member of the board?

What does "ex-coimmunicated" mean in this context? 

Does it mean that she cannot speak to him? Or that he will not speak to her? Just how would the superintendent keep her from speaking to him?

For the record, Mrs. McFadden has not spoken to me about difficulties with the superintendent. If she has to get an attorney, the District should absolutely be on the hook for the bill. That will require the Board's approval. What will the Core Four* decide, if a Motion is made to pay her legal expenses?

Mrs. McFadden has identified a serious problem for the School Board. The superintendent apparently wants every request for information filtered through him. Will all Trustees be afraid to perform their fiduciary duties?

Recently, the superintendent got the Board (well, the majority, anyway) to go along with a request from him to deny board member requests that he considered unreasonable. If, in his opinion, staff will have to spend too much time answering such a request, then the superintendent can nix it and say he will only respond if the request comes from the full board. 

We all know what happens when a member of the minority on the board makes a Motion. The seven board members (five legal members and two illegitimate members) seldom agree. 

A good solution will be for voters to replace the Core Four in the November 8, 2022 election. Bring in smart, educated, business-oriented people who understand they are running a business. The business is education. Board members need to be, first, good business people, not educators.

Watch carefully what happens over the last six months of this school year. The next election of Board Officers will be June 28, 2022. Begin lobbying the board to elect as officers (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary) only trustees who are legal board members and who have the ability to run meetings professionally, smoothly, politely, and quickly.

* The Core Four are Trustees Manning and Caution-Parker and trustees-elect Holmes and McKie.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Board Minutes omitted from 1/11/2022 Agenda

On every agenda for a school board meeting is an item in the Consent Agenda to approve the Minutes of a previous meeting.

On every agenda except the January 11th Agenda, that is.

Let me quickly add that I believe it was an oversight of the District employee who prepares the Agenda. An item on her checklist should be "Have Minutes been attached?"

I'm a great fan of checklists. They keep you from forgetting important items. When I was flying, the pilot's checklist had an item "Put Landing Gear Down." 

When you are landing a plane, you don't have to put the landing gear down. The plane will land, if you don't put the gear down. The airport people don't like the skid marks on the runway, and it takes a lot of power to taxi to the terminal!

Why are the Minutes of the December 14, 2021 board meeting important? That was the meeting at which Trustee McFadden remarked that she has been ex-communicated from speaking with the Superintendent, had received some type of "order of confidentiality" and wondered whether she might need to confer with a private attorney.

All that should be in the Minutes.

If it's not there, a trustee should make a Motion on Tuesday night to amend the Minutes. That'll be a secondary motion that Teresa Holmes has such a hard time handling. The Core Four will vote it down, although they shouldn't. At least, it will be on the record.

Watch for a revised Agenda on Monday before 5:30PM. That's tje magic hour. After 5:30PM the agenda cannot be changed. Revised Agendas should be so noted, including the date and time of the revision. But that is not how District 2 notates them.

Friday, January 7, 2022

S.C. Legislature - how responsive?

The South Carolina legislature will return to action soon. At whom will they rattle their swords this year?

I just emailed the Ethics Committee of the S.C. House of Representatives. 

My email read as follows:

"I am writing to ask that you put some teeth in the Ethics Laws.

"At Richland 2 School District Amelia McKie owes $57,100 to the S.C. Ethics Commission. She has made only small irregular payments. The Ethics Commission filed a judgment in Richland County Common Pleas Court on 7/10/2019, and the SC DOR has done little or nothing to collect on it, as evidenced by the balance remaining at the high level. S.C. law should be changed to prohibit public office holding by such a debtor. McKie was elected 11/6/2018 and has never taken the oath-of-office legally since filing her SEI on 12/4/2018. Yet she remains in office."

House Ethics Committee members are 

Ethics

Contact | Subcommittee Assignments





Know any of them? Care to pile on?

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Is CRT in Richland 2 Schools?

Read this article titled "Applying CRT in Lexington and Richland County Public Schools". "CRT" is Critical Race Theory.

You know - that "thing" that is not taught in Richland 2 schools, according to Helen Grant and Teresa Holmes.

Author Freddy Hill explains that CRT is practiced and applied to K-12 students, not "taught" to them. CRT is done "to" students.

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy is mentioned, too.

Theorist Richard Delgado and one of his books are mentioned. Delgado's name was pronounced "Degaldo" by Helen Grant, Richland Two's "expert" on culturally relevant teaching who could not answer a question from a board member about what Critical Race Theory is.

A whole section in the article is devoted to Helen Grant, "who works with Lexington District 2 schools, while working officially for Richland District Two"

What? For the salary that Richland Two pays Helen Grant, they don't get her full-time efforts?

The article also states this: "Dr. Helen Grant also will discuss gender issues with students who are thinking they are not the gender they were biologically assigned at birth."

Helen Grant has a law degree - a J.D., so she wants to be addressed as Dr. Grant. How many students go "Dr. Grant" to discuss gender issues and think that they are talking to a doctor? Why does she have any student contact at all? 

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Public Participation - 12/14/2021

The Public Participation segment of the December 14, 2021 meeting being at 1:28:08 on the livestream.com/richland2 recording.

Holmes read her threatening warning once again. This time she added "gossip" to the prohibited comments. While the word "gossip" is actually mentioned as a prohibited category for speaking, has there ever been a Public Participation segment when a speaker repeated gossip? Not in any of the board meeting I have attended in three years!

Nor have I ever heard any of the other prohibited categories mentioned: defamatory words, or abusive or vulgar language.

I wish I could say the same for comments by certain board members during and after meetings.

Please listen to the comments. If you can't be at the meetings, this is where you hear parents and community members unload on the board.

Occasionally, you'll hear a "friend" of the board stand up and praise the board. Decide for yourself how "real" those comments are.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

McKie files Amended SEI with Ethics Commission

Trustee-elect Amelia McKie filed an amended report with the South Carolina Ethics Commission on December 23, 2021, finally reporting her 2020 income from the Richland 2 School District.

When she filed the original Statement of Economic Interests Report (SEI) on January 12, 2021, she omitted her School District income of the $9,600 stipend (paid monthly at $800) for the Year 2020. She reported only that she had private consulting income from NLLC (whatever that is).

The purpose of the SEI is to reveal any potential conflicts-of-interest. What is NLLC?  It is impossible to know what NLLC is, when the Ethics Commission allows identifying a business only by initials. The amount of personal income is not required to be disclosed.

She also failed to report any Private Income for Immediate Family Members on either the original or amended SEI for the Year 2020. McKie was addressed at several board meetings as Mrs. McKie. Was she married for any part of 2020? If so, she should have reported the source (but not the amount) of any private income received by a family member.

McKie, who has never taken the oath-of-office legally since filing her SEI on December 4, 2018, served as Board Chair from November 2018 until June 30, 2019. Since she wasn't a legal board member, she should not have continued to serve as chair after November 6, 2018.

On June 29, 2020 she was elected Board Secretary, after Trustee Caution-Parker nominated her. That was the board meeting at which I beseeched the board to nominate and elect only fully-qualified board members.

When the elections began that evening, James Manning immediately nominated Teresa Holmes, the other illegitimate board member (same reason; Holmes has never taken the oath-of-office after filing her own SEI on December 4, 2018).

McKie has had problems with the Ethics Commission in the past, resulting in her now owing $57,100 to the S.C. Ethics Commission, including a judgment for $51.700 filed in the Richland County Common Pleas Court on July 10, 2019.

This is the officer of the school board elected as Secretary and with the fiduciary responsbility for attesting to the proper and legal signature of the Board Chair on bond documents and other legal instruments requiring board signatures.

Are you feeling nice and secure, knowing that two important officers of the board are not legitimate board members?


Sunday, January 2, 2022

Socialism in R2: what are kids learning?

Parents, ask your kids what they are learning about socialism in Richland 2 schools.

What are teachers teaching? 

Is socialism better than capitalism? Is socialism the be-all, end-all?

Where did their teachers go to college and grad school? How liberal was their education? Ask your kids' teachers about socialism and what their views are of it.


Print the four pages and discuss them at dinner or at a family meeting. 

Admittedly, I grew up in a different generation, when Russians and Communists weren't our friends. It was clear that they weren't our friends. And they aren't now. I wasn't sucked into the liberal viewpoint of the 1960s. Heck, going to college in Iowa, I'd say I missed the Sixties.

I favor Education, not Indoctrination. 

Make certain your kids get educated.