Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Paid Vacation for teacher with fatal DUI ticket

On December 14th I wrote about a Blythewood Middle School teacher, Aja Adams, who was charged with four motor vehicle violations, including hit-and-run and felony DUI involving a death. That earlier article is here.

The Voice of Blythewood dug out more details. Its December 22nd article is here.

The crash occurred on November 29 on Hard Scrabble Road at Clemson Road. Brown apparently collided with a moped about 10:30PM. One man on the moped died; the other was injured.

How did Richland 2 react? The District, according to the Voice of Blythewood, put Brown on paid administrative leave.

WHOA! What kind of deal is that???

So Brown gets arrested on a felony fatal DUI charge and gets a paid vacation for a while?

Sure, she is presumed innocent until found guilty. She supposedly was the only occupant of her car. Did the moped back into her? How much doubt is there that she caused the crash? 

The Voice of Blythewood is still trying to get the trooper's report. What was Brown's BAC? Where was she partying before the crash?

Do you feel it is wrong to put her on "paid" administrative leave?

Why not put her on unpaid administrative leave? Oh, I know. This is where diversity, equity and inclusion come into play!

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Board Members - how available?

Board members are the executives, elected by the voters, to direct, guide, steer the District. They cannot be subject to the whims of each District resident or employee. 

Board Members should guard their time jealously, receiving communications from interested persons but not feeling bound to reply to every email or return every phone call. 

Only a reasonable numbers of hours per month should be expected from them. Shortening the number of Meeting hours might increase their availability to the public. They cannot have an "open door" policy. They may or may not reply to your emails.

Nonsense from Teresa Holmes


Look at this nonsense on Facebook from former Richland 2 school board member Teresa Holmes. This tripe is posted on her Facebook page titled "Dr. Teresa Holmes, School Board Member Richland Two" and it was published December 1, 2022. That's after her term on the board expired!

Thanks to the citizen who provided this to me. Teresa's page is locked as private, and she has blocked me from reading it. 

Teresa is fully entitled to spew whatever she wants about staying "woke"

First of all, she should not be posting anything after November 21, 2022 that refers to her as a school board member.

In Teresa's world there is her truth and your truth. What she has never acknowledged is that there is The Truth. 

It was Teresa and her crew in the "Core Four" that created the chaos and disorder of the last four years. That time has passed. They are gone. I wished her well in the last election, hoping she would come in no worse that 12th (in a field of 12 candidates for the four positions). Thank goodness, she came in a a clear Fifth and not good enough to make the cut.

Richland Two is being asked to direct Teresa to cease making any reference to current school board membership and to indicate clearly on any media pages that she is a former school board member.

Dec. 13 board meeting still on R2 homepage

Here's what happens when no one is in charge.

Libby Roof left in November. Greg Turchetta doesn't start until January 9.

Why is the December 13th board meeting still on the homepage of the District? It should have been removed on December 14.

Doesn't anyone in the Media Dept. know what to do (or have permission to do it)?

If a school catches on fire while the superintendent is away, does anyone have permission to call the Fire Department?

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

McKie should close FB page


Amelia McKie is no longer a school board member. Aside from the fact that she never took the oath-of-office legally at any time during her second term (2018-2022) and, thus, was never a legitimate board member, this page should be closed.

If she doesn't close it completely, it should clearly and prominently disclose that she is no longer a school board member.

Will the District take action to require her to close or remove identification about the school board? 

Since that was her public page as an elected official, she should not have blocked me (and others) from reading content on that Facebook page.

Her term-of-office ended on November 21, 2022, when the new board members were sworn in. 

Where is Amelia McKie?

Merry Christmas, Amelia McKie. Santa Claus is looking for you. He has some switches and a bag of coal for you.

On November 30, 2022 the S.C. Ethics Commission issued a Decision & Order (D&O) in the case of Amelia McKie. She was fined $1,550 for failing to include her 2020 school board income of $9,600 in her 2021 Statement of Economic Interest Report that was filed on January 12, 2021. 

The D&O was sent to her by Certified Mail, return receipt requested. This followed a hearing on October 20th at the Ethics Commission.

The D&O provides that she can appeal the D&O within ten days of receipt of the D&O. 

The Problem? McKie has not accepted the Certified Mail. This means that the 10-day appeal period has not started yet.

McKie's mailing address, on record with the Ethics Commission, is P.O. Box 291173 (29229). This would be the Post Office at 1805 Clemson Road. 

McKie may or may not still live in Richland 2 school boundaries. By using a P.O. Box, it is impossible to know where she actually lives. 

It is reasonable to assume that McKie is picking up her mail. She either leaves the USPS Notice of Certified Mail in her box or she takes it and discards it. She would have to go to the counter and ask for her Certified Mail and then sign the receipt for it. That receipt would then be sent to the Ethics Commission.

Once McKie receives the D&O, then 10-day period starts. If she doesn't appeal, then she has 90 days from receipt of the D&O to pay the $1,550. If she doesn't, then $1,000 will be added, and the Ethics Commission will file a Judgment for $2,550 in the Richland County Common Pleas Court. That's where they filed a Judgement on 7/10/2019 for $51,750.

McKie owes the Ethics Commission $57,100, excluding this latest fine. 

That is the person who was a Richland 2 school board member for eight years. That's the person who never took the oath-of-office legally for her second term. That's the person whom the (previous) board (the majority Four) chose to represent Richland 2 on the South Carolina School Boards Association. 

At the October 20th Ethics Commission hearing, McKie claimed she had not received the original, October 2021 complaint. She claimed not to know about the Complaint until an investigator called her in December (2021). 

If you spot Amelia McKie out and about, politely ask her to be responsible about this obligation. Do not harass her or argue with her. 

[Edited 12/22/2022]

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Florida 12-year-old shoots self

Read carefully this reporting of a shooting in Lakeland, Florida, where a 12-year-old boy shot himself at a friend's house. Apparently, the kid found the gun in a car at that house.

Richland 2 should institute safe gun-handling training for all students, starting in elementary school. 

In a year what has BeSMART really done, except learn how to repeat its "Did You Know?" questions? Or hand out gun locks?

How about some education?

You teach kids that, if you point a gun at yourself (or someone else) and pull the trigger, you may just cause an irrevocable act. 

"I'm sorry" isn't going to work. "I didn't know it was loaded" isn't going to work. "I didn't mean to" isn't going to work.

Even in that short article, you can see the parental failures. 

It's not just kids who are stupid and careless with guns. There is a link in that article about two cops who were roommates. One was fooling around and shot the other. Just. Plain. Stupid.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Drinking & Driving? Not a good idea

Most people will acknowledge that drinking and driving are not a good idea. And yet people still do it. 

Aja Adams (black, female, age 27) was charged on December 14, 2022 with four traffic violations, including hit-and-run with injury, felony DUI, DUI involving death. $75,000 Bond.

There is an Aja Adams listed on the teacher rolls at Blythewood Middle School.

So far, nothing in the news.

Persons charged are presumed innocent.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Libby Roof's Replacement

Libby Roof is gone. The new guy's not here yet. Who wrote the press release for the new guy? You can bet that the superintendent approved it.

Why does the press release lie about Libby's departure?

In the next-to-last paragraph, the press release read, "He will officially take the helm in Richland Two on Monday, January 9, 2023. Turchetta is replacing Elizabeth “Libby” Roof who transitioned to Lexington School District One in November."

NO, Libby did not "transition" to Lexington One. She quit. And she had a new job at Lex 1 lined up. Why the lie?

The new guy is Greg Turchetta, and he starts January 9.

Read the press release here. Read about his "background in digital marketing and media strategy ... (and) news director, assistant news director and executive producer at various television stations in Texas, Florida, Georgia and Washington."

And then ask yourself: Why does a school district want or need a person with those credentials to run the communications department of a public school district? There is no marketing needed. The District has nothing to sell. It's not Ford or Chevy or Subaru or Hyundai or Kia. The District is not selling houses or soap or TVs. It's not "selling" anything.

Wasn't Libby being paid $140,000/year plus benefits? What is Turchetta's salary? $160,000? $180,000? Plus benefits.

What is the purpose of a board of directors (here, called board of trustees)? What is the function of a board? 

Does this early decision by the new board bode well for the taxpayers? Did they get hornswoggled at their first meeting?

Friday, December 9, 2022

Exposing Newsguard

                                                                               Click to Play

Watch this Fireside Chat with Dennis Prager and Marissa Streit, CEO of PragerU.

They rip Newsguard. Listen to Dennis distinguish between The Left and Liberals. 

Find out who the most dangerous man in America is.

This will be 30 minutes well-spent.

Then go to PragerU.com and sign the petition

Thursday, December 8, 2022

CUBE Conference in Miami

Remember the infamous CUBE Conference in Miami that departing Richland 2 trustees were going to treat themselves to in September? The one that got postponed, thanks to Hurricane Ian?

Well, it's happening right now. December 8-10, 2022.

How many Richland 2 trustees are there? Will we get a report at the school board meeting on December 13th?

On July 1, 2022 each of the seven trustees' slots on the board became entitled to $7,000 in spending money for travel and training. Those trustees were Holmes, Manning, McKie, Caution-Parker, Agostini, Scott, and McFadden.

How much money was left in the accounts of Holmes, Manning, McKie, and Caution-Parker on November 21, when the term of the new school board members (Nash, Porter, Trapp, and Washington) started?

Maybe it's about time to file a FOIA request  for that information.

The new trustees should have have whatever is left over from the $7,000 awarded on July 1. They don't get the full $7,000. 

Will the superintendent provide a report to the board (in public) for each account, listing how much was spent during the period 7/1/2022-11/21/2022 by the four who left the board and how much is remaining for the four new trustees?

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

McKie fined $1550 by Ethics Commission

Former Richland 2 school board member Amelia McKie has been fined $1,550 by the South Carolina Ethics Commission. The Decision & Order is dated November 30, 2022.

McKie had failed to report her 2020 Richland 2 income of $9,600 on her 2021 Statement of Economic Interests (SEI). Her original 2020 SEI was filed on January 12, 2021. 

After a complaint was filed in October 2021 with the Ethics Commission, McKie amended her SEI on December 23, 2021 and reported her Richland 2 income.

In April 2022 the Ethics Commission found probable cause and the complaint became public. A hearing was scheduled for June 2022, but it was postponed until October 20, 2022. The Commission held a hearing into this matter on October 20th and began deliberations.

McKie told the three hearing commissioners that she did not intend to violate the Ethics Act and that she had misinterpreted the requirement of the Act.

McKie didn't seem to have any problem with interpreting the Act correctly in previous years, because she reported her Richland 2 income on her SEIs for Report Years 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015. The "Report Year" is for the previous calendar year.

Under the Decision & Order, McKie is "Publicly Reprimanded" and is fined $1,000 for the violation plus an administrative fee of $550, totaling $1,550. The full amount is payable within 90 days of her receipt of the Decision & Order. 

Should she fail to pay the full amount within those 90 days, a Judgment for $2,550 will be entered in the appropriate court.

McKie has ten days from her receipt of the Decision & Order to appeal to the full Ethics Commission.

Should she appeal, a transcript of the October 20, 2022 Hearing will be created. I am especially interested in reading the transcript for anything she had to say about being harassed and followed. I shall carefully scrutinize those remarks for their truthfulness.

A Judgment of $51,750 was filed in the Richland County Common Pleas Court on July 10, 2019. Her balance owed to the Ethics Commission, prior to this new fine, is in the neighborhood of $57,100.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Board Members' Email "To All" OK?

The Inspector General's Report hit the previous Richland 2 Board hard about the use of "Reply All" in emails. The IG apparently felt that such use violated the FOIA statute in South Carolina.

I'm not a lawyer, and I disagree. 

Board members should be allowed to express opinions and discuss board business by email, including sending email to all the other board members and using "Reply All". This would save considerable time, because they can be educated between meetings. They should be careful not to solicit voting commitments or to "survey" other members about future votes.

Such emails would be subject to disclosure under FOIA requests, and such emails should not be used to avoid discussion in public at board meetings.

All board members now have and should be using the District's official email system. Personal email accounts should not be used to discuss official school district business. 

Because two board members used personal email addresses for 4-10 years, the school district should be proactive in securing those GMail accounts and preserving ALL emails related to official business. NOW is the time for the District to take action on this. It should not wait for any future FOIA request. Those two board members should not delete any  official emails from those accounts -ever. And they should not close those email accounts.

That problem with those two personal email accounts could have been fixed four years ago, but it wasn't.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

BeSMART MOU w/Richland 2 - worthless?

What are the odds that a student will be killed by a gun in a school in the United States? 

Would you believe 1 in 5,000,000?

An article in The Boston Globe (5/27/22) reported, "Yet the risk of such fatalities at school is actually low. ... with more than 50 million school children in America, the likelihood is about 1 in 5 million that a child will be killed by an armed assailant at school in any given year."

I'm not a fan of anything to do with Michael Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety. In my book, it is an anti-gun organization, not an anti-gun-violence organization.

At the November 29th school board meeting, two representatives of BeSMART which, along with MOMs Demand Action, is aligned with Everytown, spent much of their three minutes asking "Did You Know..." questions. They didn't provide any answers. It was as "flat" presentation without any energy. If you want to watch it, go to (1:40:19) at   https://livestream.com/richland2/events/10692311/videos/233986166

It was a year ago that Richland 2, with great fanfare, announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with other area school districts, healthcare facilities, and law-enforcement. But it seems to me that the incidence of guns at Richland 2 schools has increased.

BeSmart has given away lots of gun locks. Gun locks are not the answer. Education is the answer.

It is the mindset of students that must be changed. Safe handling of firearms will reduce some injuries, but stopping the kids from bringing guns to schools or stealing them from Richland County vehicles is what is needed. And stopping them from using guns to settle differences and in crimes will not be accomplished by gun locks.

School administrators know the kids most likely to bring guns to schools. Identify them. Watch them like hawks. Engage with them. 

Is that profiling? Even if it is, do it. Are we going to reduce gun violence or just talk about it?

Saturday, December 3, 2022

District Investigations - Who is involved?

Remember when the news came out about the Blazers' football team scandal of Ridge View High School?

There are many unanswered questions. The public wants to know the answers. Parents want to know the answers. I'm sure members of the football team would like to know the answers. 

And I'm also sure that there are some faculty and administrators who would like to know the answers.

What are just some of the questions?

- Who was RSD2's P.I. for the football players' residency investigation?

- Does Richland School District Two (RSD2) have a private investigator on retainer or salary?

- Why does RSD2 have a P.I.?

- Under what conditions is a P.I. used?  

- How much is a P.I. paid?

- Who EXACTLY determines when they are to follow and whom they are to follow?  

- Does the School Board have to approve the target of the investigation or does the District Office (DO) decide on their own?

- Are they placing electronic surveillance or tracking devices on students', faculty, or staff automobiles?  

- Is the P.I. (or any RSD2 staff) driving by teachers' homes when they call in sick, to see if their cars are in the driveways?

- Are the DO and their PI able to track teachers' movements because they force teachers to use their personal cell phones as part of district computer safety protocols?

- Is having a PI standard practice for other districts?

- To what extent is RSD2 Safety & Security Director Marq Claxton involved as a P.I. or in the hiring of one? He is a former NYPD officer and detective. 

Do you have other questions? Post them below in Comments or email them to gusphilpott@gmail.com

Mold already on the RVHS Football Scandal

How quickly the scandal involving the Ridge View High School Blazers football team was buried! 

What is really the whole story? Who is investigating? Is anyone investigating?

Who is leading any investigation? Principal Brenda Mack (Foxworth no longer appears on the school's webpage)? Deputy Superintendent Marshalynn Franklin? Superintendent Baron Davis? Anyone?

The residency violation(s) or recruiting violation(s) should not be swept under the rug. 

The Blazers' entire football year blew up. Who was responsible?

It is the superintendent's responsibility to get to the bottom of it, and the board of trustees should demand a report with a full examination of the details. Oh, the District will want to say, "We can't talk about it; it's a human resources issue." Or, it's an Executive Session item. Wrong!


Was it utter carelessness in the Administration? Not likely. Were there recruiting violations? More likely. Did people in-the-know speak up? Were they shut down?

The Inspector General's Report indicated a huge lapse in the District's policies and procedures are investigating wrong-doing. 

This makes it a Board matter.

Index for Nov. 29th Board Meeting

Following is an index for the November 29th board meeting, to help you find specific portions of the meeting without listening to all of it. The recorded meeting is at   https://livestream.com/richland2/events/10692311/videos/233986166  The times shown are for the time-marker on the recording.

05:54 Beginning of the 5:30PM brief open session, after which the board moved to Executive Session.

1:19:36 Open session re-convened. Executive session ran late.

1:21:37 Inspirational Moment and Pledge of Allegiance

1:31:34 Approval of Agenda

1:32:42 Approval of Consent Agenda

1:35:28 Public Participation. First two names called were no-shows. 

     1:36:50 Gus Philpott

     1:40:19 Angela VanDelay for BeSmart

     1:43:35 David Oberly

1:46:24 Voting on Executive Session items

2:08:03 SCSBA Resolutions

2:28:35 Superintendent's Highlights

2:35:36 Q1 Pupil Services Report

2:51:11 Q1 Financial Report

3:19:03 Draft Agenda

3:25:54 Board and Superintendent Comments

3:34:24 Adjourn

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Inspector General's Report - Now what?

The South Carolina State Inspector General released his report on Richland 2 early in November. My first story was on November 3rd. (Go to TheState.com and search for "Inspector General". The Report is not among results.)

OK, now what? 

Will Richland 2 just sweep it under the rug? Just file it under Miscellaneous?

At the November 29th board meeting I asked the Board to appoint a committee to examine the Report and make recommendations for action. And there is a LOT of action that should take place. One board member could be the liaison with the board, and the committee could include parents, community members, teachers and staff (if they are brave enough), and other interested parties.

Have you read the Report? 

Read it now (or again). Go directly to it by clicking here.

If you believe the School Board should take action on this Report, email them now. Their email addresses can be found here: https://www.richland2.org/School-Board/Members

Click on a Trustee's name for the next webpage, which shows the email address and phone number.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Trustees' Dream List

Here are some items I think the school board trustees should consider early in the remainder of the school year.

- Direct the superintendent to rescind the no-contact letter from his attorney to Trustee McFadden. She is an equal board member and deserves the same respect that all other board members should have from him.

- Start the 6:30PM meetings on time. The public is waiting. This may require better time-management in the executive session or a change in the number of items on its agenda. Adjourn at 6:20PM. Finish business in the second Executive Session.

- If the 6:30PM meeting will be delayed, have an announcement made as to the delay and the reason.

- The motion at 6:30PM should probably be to re-convene in open meeting, not end the executive session. Consult a Parliamentarian.

- Take roll call at 5:30PM and again at 6:30PM. Announce the presence of a quorum. If a trustee departs early, verbally note that for the record and state whether a quorum continues to be present.

- Direct the superintendent to reverse Libby Roof's decision (or whoever made it) to restrict District meeting recordings on Livestream and YouTube from the use of clipping software such as Vibby.

When I complained about the new block earlier this year, Mrs. Roof replied to me on March 29, 2022, "The district's media production team recently standardized the settings for all videos uploaded on the district's YouTube channel. This standardization ensures that, no matter which member of our team uploads a video to the district's channel, we will apply the Video Details settings consistently and in line with our best practices."

I'll refrain from expressing my honest reaction to that email. I realized it would be futile to try to persuade her otherwise. Either it was she who made the decision or the decision was made higher up. Vibby and similar tools allow the clipping of a segment of a recording. (It was very useful for calling attention to the antics of the former chair in the 2021-2022 school year.)

- Shorten the meetings. Work against an Ending Time; for example, 8:00PM Maximum!

- Reduce the number of staff members required to show up. If they need to know something from the meeting, they can be directed to the relevant portion of the meeting and can watch it on Livestream.

- Severely curtail the length of the dog-and-pony shows by the superintendent's staff.

- Re-title the Inspiration Moment to "Student Showcase". Last night's was good, but not inspirational. Establish a time-limit for that agenda item. 

- Determine the superintendent's role in board meetings. These are meetings of the Board. He is not a member of the Board.

What else should be on this list?

Handling the SCSBA Resolutions

At last night's school board meeting (11/29/2022) one of the Agenda items was a list of 34 Proposed Resolutions to be voted on this week-end by Richland Two's two appointed delegates to the South Carolina School Boards Association meeting.

The whole process could have been simple and direct. The Chair might have said, "I would like a motion to authorize the delegates to vote Yes in favor of each Proposed Resolution. Do I have a motion?"

A trustee could have said, "So moved."

A second trustee could have said, "Second."

The Chair then would have called for Discussion.

Trustee Scott could have said, "I move to remove Resolutions 1 & 2." Trustee McFadden could have said, "I move to remove Resolutions 14 & 15." 

If no trustee wanted other Proposed Resolutions removed, then the board would have voted on all the Proposed Resolutions except 1, 2, 14, 15.

Then the board could have discussed and voted on #1; then #2; then #14; then #15.

The four new board members may have had little exposure to parliamentary procedures, but the others have 2-10 years' experience. 

But they got through it. 

Did you observe the superintendent's demeanor during the opening at 5:30PM and during much of the board meeting? You can see it on the recorded meeting at  https://livestream.com/richland2/events/10692311/videos/233986166
He made little or no effort to assist or coach Chair Agostini. The brief opening of the initial session starts playing at 05:34. The board had to re-do the motion to enter executive session to correct the wording of the motion. The recording of the Regular Session begins at 1:19:36

I think he'd be well advised to lose the attitude and get past the last four years of dislike for Lindsay Agostini. He no longer controls the board and no longer has a board that will give him whatever he wants. He will be accountable to the board in ways quite different from the past four years. He should seriously consider shaping up or shipping out.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Board Meeting - Tues., Nov. 29

The next school board meeting will be this Tuesday, November 29, 2022, at 6:30PM at R2i2. An Executive Session will be held at 5:30PM; the public cannot observe it (or view it online). I think we can now expect meetings to be in the regular board room on the first floor, with normal, side-by-side seating.

Social-distancing seating seems to gone out the door with the old board members.

Check out the agenda. Let's hope the new board takes control of meetings, works against an Ending Time of, say, 8:00PM, and cuts off lengthy staff reports that eat up large blocks of time.

Remember to sign up to speak! Do this electronically. Go to the District's homepage.

Click on EXPLORE (top right)

Click on School Board

Scroll down and click on PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Be sure to click Next at the bottom of the page and complete the second page, so that your registration to speak is complete.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Change for the Sake of Change?

The District has engaged in unnecessary busywork by revising the Board Member page (as of 11/22/2022) on the District's website and moving a board member's email address to a second page.

This change already affects board members Agostini, McFadden and Scott. Now, instead of seeing the email address under the photo, a viewer sees a title and "About (board member)".

If you click on the About link, you go to the next page, which is a bio, the email address and a phone number. Email addresses for the new board members are shown, pending development of their biographical sketches.

Phone numbers for Board members should not even be listed on the website. Plus the I.G. has recommended District telephones, not personal phones for official business.

Considering how much time it takes for a board member to answer the phone, listen to someone's complaint or comment, and then do something about it, board members must work many hours every week performing non-executive duties.

If a board member receives an email from a parent or community member, it is easy and quick to forward that email to the superintendent to handle.

Of course, it would be more efficient to forward it to a staff member who could do something about it and copy the superintendent, but board policy is to communicate with the superintendent, not directly with staff.

A dumb bottleneck decision, but that's it for the time-being.

Hear ye. Hear ye. Could you hear last night?

I know I have some hearing loss, but I'm not deaf (yet). Last night I forgot to ask for a hearing device, and so I heard little of the meeting. I wondered why those on the board were not instructed to speak directly into their microphones and why their voices could not be heard throughout the room. Or could they?

Lindsay Agostini was absent last night and did not attend telephonically. 

I watched the Livestream replay this morning. The first part of the livestream recording was the swearing-in ceremony, and the Special-Called Board meeting begins at 36:45 on 


Due to the fact that none of the past officers is now on the board, the meeting was called to order by the senior board member, Trustee Monica Scott. After reading the names of the new board members and who had administered their oaths of office, Trustee Scott skipped Item 2.1 on the agenda, which was Approval of the Agenda. That was the first item and necessary before proceeding. However, she first asked for a Motion to suspend Board Policy BD for this meeting only.

Hopefully, the Board will adopt the procedure used by the Richland County Council to speed along a meeting. When the chair calls for a motion (for example, to suspend Policy BD for this meeting), then all that another board member needs to say is "So moved" and another board member says "Second". There is no need to expand the Motion.

The Motion can be explained during discussion, if any. This shortens the handling of the Motion and makes the job of the recording secretary much easier. 

Trustee Scott began to proceed to the election of board members, but the superintendent interrupted to suggest that the suspension of Policy BD should be only for that meeting. That had been covered in Trustee Scott's request but not in the motion as made by Trustee McFadden. The limitation was added.

Then the superintendent spoke on the record that the board needed to approve the agenda for the meeting. (He could have coached Trustee Scott directly (whispering), unless he was following State law and Robert's Rules of Order that everything said in a meeting is to be audible to all board members and to the public.). The vote should have been read as "6 Yes, 1 Not Present at Vote. Motion passed."

Then Trustee Scott called for a Motion "to second", but what was needed was a Motion to approve the agenda. Trustee McFadden made the motion, and a female voice could be heard seconding it. The chair did not state who seconded the motion. The chair called for the vote, and the displayed version of the motion indicated that Trustee Niki Porter had seconded it.

The recording secretary had failed to include Lindsay Agostini's name in the voting list. Because she was absent, a "1" should have been entered in "Not Present at Vote." All seven voting positions should be accounted for.

Item 3.1 was addressed again, with Trustee McFadden reading the long motion and Trustee Angela Nash seconding. The vote was 6-0-0-0 (Yes-No-Abstain-Not Present at Vote).

The chair passed the meeting to the superintendent for the election of officers. The following officers were elected:

Chair - Lindsay Agostini

Vice Chair- Monica Scott

Secretary - Angela Nash

For Item 3.3 a female board member, who did not request recognition by the chair, asked if more than one Delegate could be certified to the South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA), and the superintendent stated two delegates and one alternate could be certified. Trustees McFadden and Porter were nominated as Delegates and Trustee Joe Trapp was nominated as Alternate Delegate. 

The result was achieved, but the process was a mess. The presiding chair read what should have been the motion and then asked for a second (without having asked for a Motion). She called for the vote and then remembered to ask for discussion. The Motion was actually incorrect, because it called for McFadden and Porter to be approved to serve as "a delegate"; it should have read "delegates". The vote was 6-0-0-0.

The final item was the nomination of a board member to serve as the SCSBA Region 8 Director. Trustee Scott was nominated. 

Frankly speaking, she should have declined and allowed another board member to serve in that position. As Vice Chair, she'll have plenty of duties, one of which will be to brush up on her role as back-up to Chair Lindsay Agostini for running a meeting.

The last item was to adjourn the meeting. Trustee Scott asked for a motion to adjourn, which was made by Trustee McFadden. There was no request for a Second, discussion or vote. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Monday's Schedule - Ceremony & Meeting

Don't be misled by the published Agenda for Monday's Special-Called Board Meeting. On Monday, November 21, 2022, at R2i2:

5:30PM Swearing-in of four new board members.

6:00PM Special-Called Board Meeting.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

What's the Deal in Richland 2?

FoxNews reported today on Tucker Carlson's interview with a 14-year-old girl in Randolph, Vermont who complained about a biological male in the girls' changing room after a volleyball game. See the print article here.

So what happens in Richland 2 schools? Are there policies or rules that apply to use of bathroom or changing rooms by boys and girls? Are there policies or rules that apply to "respecting" others? Are boys allowed in girls' changing rooms?

What about bathrooms in the schools?

At R2i2 I was surprised before one board meeting to see a communal bathroom at the back of the first floor.  The sign on the wall of a previously "Women" bathroom had been changed to a - what would call it - communal bathroom?

Has a man ever used that bathroom?

What does "all gender" mean? 

According to Women's Health magazine, there are 16. See the list here.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Oath-of-Office Date Changed

The four new school board members will be sworn in on Monday, November 21, 2022 at 5:30PM at R2i2.

The date was changed from November 18, because State law dictates that the term-of-office for a newly-elected board member must start one week following certification of the election. 

Because of last Friday's recount and that it did end until the early morning hours, and because Certification was announced about 10:30AM on Saturday, the new trustees could not be sworn in on this Friday.

The District is updating its website.

No Ethics Decision on McKie yet

On October 20th the S.C. Ethics Commission held a hearing on Amelia McKie's violation of omitting her Richland 2 income in 2020 from her 2021 Statement of Economic Interest Report (SEI). The complaint was filed in October 2021.

In April 2022 the Commission announced that there was Probable Cause and a hearing was scheduled for June. On the day before that hearing, McKie called the Commission and told them she thought she had been exposed to COVID. The hearing was re-scheduled to October 20.

On October 20, 2022, a panel of three Commissioners heard the complaint and testimony from McKie. The Hearing Chair announced that the Decision would likely be announced in two weeks. That would have been by November 3rd. It still has not been announced.

Today I learned that Decisions and Orders must be announced within 60 days of a hearing. Ho-hum.

What is there to decide? McKie had failed to report her 2020 income. After she was notified of the Complaint, she filed an amended SEI and reported that income.

The hearing actually could have been quite short.

Q. 1 How much did you earn from Richland 2 in 2020?
A. $9,600
Q. 2. Did you report it, when you filed your SEI?
A. No.

Decision? Liable. (Guilty!)
Fine: Dollar cost of investigation ($550?) and penalty ($100?). Pay up.

And, no, we are not going to just add it to the $57,100 you already owe.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Recount done - Certification expected today (Nov. 12)

According to posts on Facebook, the Richland County Elections Commission completed its recount at about 1:30AM today, and Joe Trapp remains the 4th place winner of votes in the November 8th school board election.

Joe Trapp   12,500 votes (9.78%)
T. Holmes  11,995 votes (9.38%)

The official result and Certification are expected to be announced at 10:30AM.

Will today's Certification affect the November 18th Special-Called Board Meeting? The four new members of the board do not begin their terms-of-office until one week after the Certification of the election.

S.C. Code of Laws Section 59-19-315. "Commencement of trustee's term of office. The term of office of every elected trustee of a school district must commence one week following the certification of his election."

Several Facebook pages were blowing up yesterday with wild, chaotic posts. Civility and respect seemed to be thrown out the window by some.

This country has been consumed by complaints of election fraud in recent years.

Right here in Richland County we witnessed action by the Election Commission to carry out its duty. The recount was apparently triggered by a Mandatory Recount law: S.C. Code of Laws Section 7-17-280.

SECTION 7-17-280. Mandatory recounts.

Whenever the difference between the number of votes received by a candidate who has been declared nominated for an office in a primary election or who has been declared elected to an office in a general election and the number of votes received by any other candidate or candidate not declared so nominated or elected or whenever the difference between the number of votes received by a candidate who received the least number of votes to qualify for a runoff election and a candidate or candidates who did not so qualify shall be not more than one percent of the total votes which were cast for such office therein, the committee or board charged by law with canvassing such votes shall order a recount of such votes to be made forthwith unless such other candidate or candidates shall waive a recount in writing.

Whenever the difference between the number of votes cast in favor of and opposed to any constitutional amendment, question or other issue is not more than one percent of the total cast thereon, the Board of State Canvassers shall order a recount of such votes to be made forthwith."

Complaints on Facebook included that Holmes had not waived the recount, but I don't think anyone knew, for sure, that she had not.

But why should she have done so? I would not have. If the recount was mandated by State law and I thought it might give me a win, I definitely would not have waived it. Would you have?

Congratulations to Joe Trapp. He'll be an asset on the school board.

For my part, I'm glad Holmes did not make the Top Four. I wish she had come in 12th. Or 13th. Much of the disrespect, unprofessionalism, and failure to lead were caused by her presence on the board. I have saved all the snarky and rude emails she sent me over the years. Maybe I'll write a book.

Friday, November 11, 2022

I.G. Report - Holmes' name - how many times???

Do you know how many times Teresa Holmes' name appears in the Report from the South Carolina Inspector General?


That's ninety-two. NINETY-TWO times.

Go to the Report at 


Press (Control + F) for "Find" and enter Holmes in the Search window.

Her name is in the Report 92 times!

Teresa Holmes' last threat?

I have lost track of the number of times that Teresa Holmes has threatened to sic her lawyer on me. I think she never went to a lawyer. If she had done so, she would have been told that she didn't have a leg to stand on.

Now read this message from the soon-to-be former person who was allowed to sit on the Richland 2 school board during the 2018-2022 term-of-office. At 7:42PM on November 9th Teresa dispatched this missile (err, missive) to me:

"Slander may cost you now Mr. Philpot.  I suggest you watch what you say."

Does that sound like a threat to you? I do know that I'll keep at least four feet between us, if she is wearing all those heavy metal rings on her fingers.

Should I hot-foot it to the sheriff's department and have her arrested? What prompted this?

On Wednesday I emailed a number of people at Richland 2 who are in the food chain for FOIA, Open Records laws, preservation of official communications, etc. I wrote:

With the imminent departure of Manning, Holmes, McKie and Caution-Parker from the Richland 2 School Board, will you please make absolutely certain that no official emails are deleted from District-server accounts before or after their departure? When the new school board term starts on November 18, their accounts should be password-locked.

Teresa Holmes used a personal GMail account (docholmesschoolboard2@gmail.com) for official business since her election in 2018. She used that account as if she had been a legitimate Trustee, although she never took the oath-of-office legally. That GMail account should be preserved and under the control of Richland School District Two, to secure your ability to respond to any future FOIA requests made to the District.

Please acknowledge this message and let me know what steps the District will take to preserve its control over these email accounts.


Gus Philpott

Perhaps there is a lawyer, somewhere on the planet, who can point out to Teresa that nowhere in my message was she "slandered".

My guess? Richland 2 will not demand control over all the official Richland 2 communications in her GMail account. Will that cause a problem in the future for Richland 2?

James Manning replied to my email that Teresa has had a Richland2.org email address "from day one". Oh, really? Why didn't the District publish it, instead of her personal GMail address and require her to use it? Because she is "special"? Privileged? Why? It was available to staff, but not to the general public. 

Why did the District wait until the IG's Report was released to take down her personal email address and publish her District email address?


R2 Recount - Nov. 11?

A recount of votes in the November 8th Richland 2 school board election is scheduled to start today. Will it? November 11th is a Federal holiday. Will that affect the State of S.C. and the Richland County Elections Commission?

Rumors are flying that a person on the ballot requested the recount, but is that true?

I found this on the popular website called Ballotpedia.

Q. Can a recount be requested?

A.  Recounts may not be requested in this state.

I could not easily find a Statute that pertains to requests for a recount.

I did find this South Carolina law about mandatory recounts. S.C. Code of Laws SECTION 7-17-280. Mandatory recounts.

Whenever the difference between the number of votes received by a candidate who has been declared nominated for an office in a primary election or who has been declared elected to an office in a general election and the number of votes received by any other candidate or candidate not declared so nominated or elected or whenever the difference between the number of votes received by a candidate who received the least number of votes to qualify for a runoff election and a candidate or candidates who did not so qualify shall be not more than one percent of the total votes which were cast for such office therein, the committee or board charged by law with canvassing such votes shall order a recount of such votes to be made forthwith unless such other candidate or candidates shall waive a recount in writing.

Whenever the difference between the number of votes cast in favor of and opposed to any constitutional amendment, question or other issue is not more than one percent of the total cast thereon, the Board of State Canvassers shall order a recount of such votes to be made forthwith.

I added the highlight to make understanding easier. But what is the 1% rule? 

The "1% Rule" is pretty easy to apply if there are only two contenders for a position? But how does it apply in a "Vote for Four" race?

The term-of-office for a new school board begins one week after the election is certified. If the election is certified today (Nov. 11), then the presently-scheduled Special Called Board Meeting on November 18th will hold; otherwise, that Special Called Meeting will have to be re-scheduled, and the swearing-in of the four elected persons will be delayed. Watch www.Richland2.org for the valid date. Check the time, which may have to be clarified.

could delay certification, thus delay installation of new boamembers

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Holmes' Car Rental, April 2022 - - $807.30

When Teresa Holmes went to the April 2022 National School Boards Association conference in San Diego, she rented a car at District expense. She rented a white Dodge Grand Caravan.

The hotel was 4.0 miles from the airport.
The conference center was 0.2 miles from the hotel.

Why would she rent a car, when she could have taken a shuttle or a taxi (or Uber or Lyft)?

The first day of rental was Friday, April 1.
The conference was April 2-4 (Saturday-Monday).
The car was due to be returned April 5.

Was the car rental really for personal use?

The basic 5-day rental was $227.00.
The "other" charges were $360.30. *
Total - $587.30

In addition, the District paid $220 for the car to be parked at the hotel. The cost was $55.00 for overnight valet parking each night.

At a recent school board meeting she made a big deal out of telling other board members and the public that she had gotten pre-approval to rent a car so that she could provide transportation to other other members. 

But did she? At least two of the other four board members, and possibly a third, did not know she had even rented a car.

The return mileage was not shown on her receipt. How many miles did she drive after meeting hours? Wasn't that personal use?

Was it reasonable and necessary for her to rent a car? Did the car remain parked most of the time? If she used it at night or on Friday or Tuesday for other than from or to the airport, that was personal use.

* The "other" charges were
$120.00 Upgrade
$  99.96 Collision Damage Waiver
$  50.10 Airport Concession Fee
$  15.64 CA Tourism Fee
$  36.00 Airport CFC
$    3.96 Vehicle License Fee
$  34.64 Sales Tax

Did the District ask Teresa to pay for the Upgrade?
Does the District have a blanket damage waiver for rental cars that could have been used to skip that $99.96?

The entire $807.30 ($587.30 + $220.00) was a waste of District money.

But she ought to end up paying for all of it, because she was $2,529.27 over her $7,000 travel/training allowance, and the District should collect ALL of that from her.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Trustee Monica Scott - new email address

The District has finally created a District-server email address for Monica Scott. Her official email address is monicaescott@richland2.org

How many months ago (years?) did I urge the District to do that? Two years? Three?

Having all official emails on the District's server is essential under public records laws. As I wrote then, one day in the future that trustee (or trustees, as the case was, because Teresa Holmes also used a personal gmail address) would no longer be in office, whether by death, resignation, completion of term, failure to be re-elected, retirement, etc.

And then, very recently, the State Inspector General's Report was released, and bingo! Monica now has a District email address.

Why didn't the District just use common sense when the suggestion was made way back then? 

The District created an official email address for Teresa Holmes earlier this year, but it allowed her to continue to use her gmail address and published it on the District's website. I guess the District just couldn't figure out how to say NO to Teresa. Was the "equity" at work? Or "privilege"?

That personal email address has now been removed from the Board Member webpage.

Maybe Richland 2 will create a Wall for me at R2i2 and recognize me for the highest number of good suggestions submitted - and never considered or implemented.

And the Winners Are ...

Congratulations to the winners of the Richland 2 school board election!

Angela Nash, 14.06%, 17975 votes
Tamika Schuler Washington, 13.32%, 17022 votes
Niki Porter, 10.35%, 13324 votes
Joe Trapp, 9.78%, 12504 votes

They join Lindsay Agostini, Monica Scott and Lashonda McFadden as Trustees.

Assuming that the Richland County Elections Commission certifies the vote by November 11th, these four will be sworn in as Trustees at the special-called board meeting on November 18, 2022, at 5:30PM, at R2i2. 

The District began complying with State law in 2020, after disregarding it for ten years and installing newly-elected board members one week after the election. The law is that the term-of-office begins one week after the election is certified.

After these four are sworn in and seated, the full board will need to elect officers for the balance of the School Year (to June 30, 2023). All current officers will have left the board.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Your "board member on the move" - You know who.

From the Report of the State Inspector General, Page 43:

"Board member discussion of parental involvement

"The SIG identified derisive comments among Board member text messages. This was especially true in a group text message among Board members McKie, Manning, Caution-Parker and Holmes for the period of 6/14/22 – 8/5/22. 

"An example of the Board members’ disregard for the parents of District students occurred on 6/16/22 and the inaction of safety and security ad hoc committee chaired by Board member Scott. At 8:17 on 6/16/22, Dr. Holmes group messaged: 

“That's why I said in Exec. Let's just push forward. We do not need parents to decide. I think to let them fill [sic] involved we simply hold a parent only input meeting no committee members from them. That way they all were heard but we are moving on.”

The I.G. did not comment at this point on the illegality of such a group text involving four members of the school board. That's a majority of the board, although not a quorum (five).

Holmes clearly reveals her position that parents are not important. Just throw them a bread crumb and consider them fed. 

Teresa Holmes holds the record for the most-mentioned school board member in the Report. Her name appears 92 times.

Friday, November 4, 2022

R2 Response to I.G. Report

I shall begin reading the State Inspector General's Report on Richland 2 tomorrow.

However, this evening I did read Richland 2's response to the Report.

That response of the District is the biggest pile of horse manure in the USA. It's typical double-speak, deflection and diminishing tof he huge problems in Richland 2, from the Administration's leader right through the majority of the board. You know whom I mean: Holmes, McKie, Manning and Caution-Parker.

Good riddance to McKie, Manning and Caution-Parker. The District will be so much better off if Holmes joins them in their exit. They didn't quite make it out the door before the Report was released.

Those who have been following the incredible decline in reputation of Richland 2 over the past four years know exactly who is responsible for it. The Core Four, the cabal of Holmes, McKie, Manning and Caution-Parker, ruled with a lock on decisions.

If I had offered them the winning numbers for a $1.3 Billion Lottery, those four would have voted against accepting them. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Inspector General report released

The S.C. Inspector General has released his report, according to The P:ost and Courier. Read the newspaper article here:

Just read the article. So much wrong in it. Now to find the Report itself and see whether the Report is as described in the newspaper article.

More comments to follow.

[Edited 11/4/2022] Here is the full report on the Inspector General's website:

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

James Manning likes to deflect

Don't miss today'a article in The State newspaper about James Manning's attack on Lashonda McFadden over a $425 hotel upgrade and pet fee in September. 

What is the real purpose behind Manning's public attack? Is he trying to support Holmes in her re-election bid?

I believe McFadden's Atlanta conference was in early September. The District received reimbursement on October 19.

It is preposterous to think that a trustee traveling on school business must beg for advance permission to upgrade her room. The upgrade is a personal expense, and that is to be reimbursed to the District. The District got its money.

Manning is pretending to be Mr. Important, rather than just letting the District handle the collection of the money. Hasn't he got anything better to do with his time?

He sent me a long email about this matter. He never should have gone into all the detail that he did. 

I posted the following comment to The State's article:

"What in the world is OUTGOING board member and chair James Manning's crusade against Lashonda McFadden all about? NO pre-approval is needed for upgrades. The District got its money on October 19 for McFadden's Atlanta trip early in September. His complaint is merely deflection. If Manning wants to get all hot and bothered, he should go after Teresa Holmes for the $3,000 that she over-spent on travel & training in School Year 2021-2022. Holmes' car rental receipt from April has been requested (FOIA) from Richland 2. If she rented the car for ferrying other board members around in San Diego, you'd think she would have told them about it at the time. Holmes spent $807.30 on car rental and parking, so she wouldn't have to take a shuttle to the hotel that was 4.0 miles from the airport."

Manning's blustering is a deflection from the fact that Teresa Holmes owes about $3,000 to the District for exceeding her travel and training allowance in 2021-2022. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The DEI Disaster


Watch this new PragerU video, just released yesterday (Oct. 31, 2022).

When the next DEI meeting is announced at Richland 2 or at your business, insist on five minutes for this video.

Email it to every teacher and administrator at Richland 2 and ask them to watch it and give you their opinion. Here's the PragerU link:    https://www.prageru.com/video/the-dei-disaster or just use the Share button on the PragerU.com website under the video.

Christian Watson gets it exactly right!

Leevy Johnson - a volunteer coach, not employee

It took three requests, but I finally got an answer from Richland 2 about whether Chris Leevy Johnson is a Richland 2 employee.

My first request was through the Let's Talk functionality to Ridge View High School. Ridge View did not respond.

My second request was made after I reported an unsatisfactory result from the Let's Talk program. A woman called from the District and said she'd get me the answer, but it didn't come.

An answer came quickly to my third request, in which I mentioned a FOIA Request would follow if I didn't get an answer.

This answer came:

"Mr. Johnson is a volunteer coach with the Ridge View High School football team. He is not an employee of Richland School District Two nor is Mr. Johnson a chaplain for RVHS or any school. For any adult associated with a team to lead students in prayer anywhere, it would be student-initiated, i.e. a student request for a person to lead a prayer, and anyone who would join in the prayer would do so of their own volition."

What prompted my inquiry? I think it was back in early June when Johnson posted on Facebook that he had started "his job" at Ridge View the day before.

Ridge View Football cheating scandal - your thoughts?

What are your thoughts about the football team cheating scandal at Ridge View High School.

The South Carolina High School League appellate panel determined yesterday that at least one player was not a RVHS resident. That was enough to cost the Blazers all their wins in the entire season.

The panel did not hear the other two players' residency questions.

Read Coach Rosefield's l-o-n-g message dated yesterday, after the SCHSL decision. You won't even know what happened, or why, if all you do is read his message.

Here are some of the questions I've been asked by the Richland 2 community?

Who is the District's unlicensed private investigator?
Who paid for them?
Who authorized having a district employee follow a student?
Have they done this before?
Are they following teachers?
Why wasn’t Davis at the meeting?
Why wasn’t the “investigator” at the meeting?

Who will be held responsible?  The Superintendent? The Asst. Superintendent Suber?  The principal?  The AD? The Coach?

Who is paying for all those lawyers?

Post your own additional questions below. Some of mine are:
- How long has Richland 2 Administration known about this?
- Is the "private investigator" actually an employee in the Safety/Security Department of Richland 2? 
- Where was the breakdown after a football star at a private school outside the District transfers to Ridge View in his senior year?
- Why were there rumors that Ridge View was "recruiting"?
- What did the superintendent know, and when did he know it? 
- Was information held back from the supt., so that he'd have plausible deniability?

And post answers below to any of these questions.