Friday, September 30, 2022

R2: Publish to violence

Should Richland 2 School District publish information promptly on its website about gun and other weapons, fights, school disruptions?

Rumors were flying this week about shots fired at or near Ridge View High School. Some posters on social media thought they were fired on the campus of RVHS; others thought they were fired nearby. Some thought perps were apprehended in the RVHS parking lot.

Individual schools sometimes send out alerts to parents.

Why not post all the information on the District's website for all to see?

I can think of one good reason. That is that, then, many more people would know about the levels of violence and threat to the students.

Think more people would show up at school board meetings? 

Teresa Holmes and the Richland 2 logo

 


Teresa Holmes has a Facebook page that is private. I'm not supposed to be able to see it. But ...

Here's what she recently posted, after Richland 2 issued a press release that questioned the use of a District logo on a campaign ad.

Isn't that great? Watchdog Teresa is "on the move".

What she forgot to include was a copy of her own ad:


Care to play, "I spy"?

Sort of looks to me like the Richland 2 service mark. Comments?


Angela Nash on Richland 2 logo use

https://www.facebook.com/AngelaNashforR2schoolboard/videos/450883893521132/

School Board candidate Angela Nash delivered a very important and powerful message on Facebook. She began with comments on the school district's whining about someone who put together a flier with names and photos of four candidates and dared to include the District's logo. 

The District's friends in the media jumped on it like it was the biggest news story of the year. The candidates had not created the flier; it was created by their supporters.

No one in his right mind ever would have thought that the District was promoting those four candidates. People are wondering who complained to the District. Did someone? Or did someone on staff decide, "Whoa! This is a big violation. Stop the presses!"

When I saw the flier, all I thought was "those four are in the race that is happening in Richland 2." 

But Richland 2 made a big deal out of it. That's called going after "low-hanging fruit".

Then Angela addressed comments online by Chris Leevy Johnson. Chris is a good friend of the superintendent and of "certain" current school board members. One of Chris' posts referred to "MAGA-MAFIA". I saw Chris' post and he also referred to "neo-conservatives". 

One of those "certain" members is Teresa Holmes. Angela did not mention that Teresa created a campaign flier that very clearly uses the District's logo. I wonder - has Teresa removed all signs and campaign fliers with that logo?

Watch and listen to Angela's powerful message! She spoke only for herself, but her words could be those of other strong candidates in this race. Not all of them, but of some of them.

Thank you, Angela. Well said!

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Living High on the (Richland 2) Hog

When Teresa Holmes went to San Diego for the April 2022 National School Boards Association, her costs for attending were $4,006. No, she wasn't there for a month. She was there April 1-5.

That was for the conference fee ($600.00), airfare ($976.19), hotel ($1504.12), food ($248.00), car rental ($587.30).

What?

Car rental? 

She was making a business trip on the taxpayer's dime to attend a business conference. What was she going to need a car for?

The hotel was two (2) miles from the conference center.

How much did the District pay for her to have a car?

Teresa's expense report listed $587.30 for the car, plus $55.00/night at the hotel for Overnight Valet Parking. Four nights of that cost $220. So the car cost was $807.30!

Did she feel "entitled" because, after all, she was the Richland 2 Board Chair?

Was there a shuttle from the airport to the Hard Rock Hotel? 

Could she have taken a taxi or Uber from the hotel to the conference center? Even shared a taxi or Uber?

One trustee exclaimed to me, "Teresa rented a car???"

When Teresa calculated her local mileage to the airport here, she recorded 62 miles. At the District's Mileage Rate of $0.585, she entered $81.32 for that expense.

Remember now, she is a product of a Spring Valley High School education. And proudly so. Anyone eyeballing that expense would have instantly estimated it at $36.00 (rounded off, 60 x .60). So what was the correct expense? $36.27 (62 x $0.585). How did she get $81.32?

Somebody in Accounting changed her 62 to 52 and then multiplied it by $0.585, getting the correct expense of $30.42. 

Remember ... she was the Board Chair until 6/30/2022 and is the Board Secretary now. You should have lot of confidence when you go to the polls on November 8.

Comments on her stewardship of Richland 2 funds?

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Knife at Westwood High School

WACH/FOX-TV has reported that a 17-year-old student at Westwood High School (Richland 2) was found with a knife today.

Richland 2 will consider a knife to be a weapon. In some cases, it is. Most often it is a tool.

No details about the knife in the media, of course.

Does anyone know? Big knife? Little knife? Straight knife? Folding? In a sheath on a belt? In a back pack? Pocket?

A parent called me a couple of weeks ago because her child had been found with a knife at school. For the kid, it was a tool; not a weapon.

Remember (most readers won't) when all the boys used to carry pocket knives? I still have the Swiss Army Knife that I got when I was about 12 years old. It has been all over the country with me (by car and motorcycle). Across Mexico, into Belize; and back. 

And when pick-up trucks had gun racks in the back windows? With guns in them? In the school parking lot! And when students in ROTC had real rifles? And when schools had rifle teams?

No school shootings. No thefts from pick-up trucks.

So it's not the weapon. It's what between the ears that counts. And THAT is what Richland 2 ought to be working on.

What's cooking at Westwood H.S.?

Not much, from what I hear. Did students get bag lunches again today? No hot lunches?

Where is all the money going?

The District receives Federal dollars for meals for the free-meal program and the reduced-price meal program. Isn't it cheaper to serve a bag lunch than a hot lunch?

Who keeps the profit?

Does starving students cause better behavior?

When I was a kid and hungry, my behavior got worse. Is that still true? Yes. For me and for others. Just ask.

In Richland 2 school district how many students get their only hot meal of the day at school? If Westwood H.S. has stopped serving hot meals, what about their diet?

How is Principal Jackson communicating with the parents of students whose meal plan is being radically changed? Is it punishment for all, due to behavior of some?

What does Supt. Davis have to say about what is occurring at Westwood? 

Is the school being informed of the Draconian measures being implemented at Westwood?

Every student, teacher and staff member at Westwood is invited to comment below. Am I getting it right? No? Let me know.

CUBE Conference, Miami - Canceled

Thanks to Hurricane Ian, the CUBE Conference in Miami, scheduled for Sept. 29 - Oct. 1, has been canceled.

This is the meeting that three school board members whose terms expire in November were planning to attend on the District's dime just before leaving office.

So Ian has saved Richland Two somewhere between $10,-15,000.

The conference is postponed to December 8-10, which will be after Manning and McKie, and hopefully Holmes, will have left office.

Another 4-hour meeting!

When will the Richland 2 school board learn (re-learn) how to conduct a school board meeting and get the length back down to 75-90 minutes?

Last night's meeting was almost four hours, including the executive session that started at 5:30PM. Of course, the public didn't have to endure that first hour. The initial start time at 5:30PM shows up at (4:50) on the livestream timer. Then the board left for executive session.

The open meeting re-convened at 6:30PM. (1:04:38 on the timer)

The livestream clock indicated a meeting duration of 3 hours 59 minutes 56 seconds (3:59:56); that included the executive session.

Meetings are so long, because the board does not control them. The agenda is planned by the Chair and the Superintendent. The Board could vote and tell the Chair, "No more four-hour meetings!" Shorten the dog-and-pony shows put on by the superintendent's staff. That would drastically short staff preparation time and expense.

Perhaps the new board in November will do so. Might they decide 30-minute executive sessions and 90-min. board meetings?

One way to shorten meetings would be for the Chair to call the meeting to order and call for a motion to enter executive session for the purpose of xxx. . All a board member would have to say is, "So moved", and a second member would say, "Seconded". Chair: "All in favor, raise right hands. Opposed? The vote is 7-0, Approved. We will adjourn to executive session."

How long would that take? Less than 30 seconds!

And cut costs by sharply reducing the number of staff required to attend. Having 12-15 of them sit there for 3-4 hours is a complete waste of talent and money.


Trustees apoprove falsified Minutes

At every school board meeting the trustees are asked to approve Minutes of the previous meeting. The Minutes are under the Consent Agenda and are normally approved without batting an eye.

And, apparently, without having read them!

Last night was a good example.

The Minutes are supposed to be an accurate reflection of what happened at a meeting. They are the permanent record. They should be accurate and TRUE.

At the September 13th board meeting Holmes made a long, convoluted motion regarding the superintendent's evaluation and contract extension. It was so long that the recording secretary had to go to her for a written copy of the motion. Then the recording secretary typed it for display on the projection screen. In her haste, she included an additional sentence, "I move that we as a board conclude Dr. Davis [sic] Dr. Davis's employment contract."

In other words, let's fire him.

Apparently, no trustee read the motion before voting. The vote was 4-3, as expected.

It is the written motion that is the legal one; not the oral motion that precedes it. When the Minutes of that meeting were attached to the Agenda for last night's meeting, that sentence was gone. Some removed it. Perhaps somebody was told to remove it.

Last night's vote to approve the Minutes was 4-2-1. 

Manning, Holmes, McKie, and Caution-Parker voted to approve falsified Minutes.

That is NOT okay!!!

New Speaker Sign-up Procedure

Richland 2 has a new sign-up procedure, if you wish to speak at a board meeting. I was surprised by it last night and would have missed the registration, had I not arrived at 6:00PM.

Sign-up forms are no longer used. Richland 2 is going the way of McDonald's and discarding the sign-up desk with the attendant labor cost of an employee to hand you the forms and receive them, once completed. Say, "Hello, McDonald's ordering kiosk."

Now you scan the QR Code at R2i2 (outside the board room) with your phone and register. This assumes you'll be able to connect to the Richland 2 site (which I wasn't). Fortunately, there was a very helpful Richland 2 employee who used the available laptop to register me.

Or you can use the District's laptop there. There was apparently an announcement I missed in an email from the District with the link to the Agenda. 

Or you can register from home (or work) via your own computer. 

The new procedure was apparently announced in an email from the District. There is an assumption made by the District that you will receive and read the email. If you already knew the procedure to sign up, why would you read the email?

Here's where you find the electronic sign-up form:

Sign up during the period between the Friday before the board meeting and about 6:00PM on the day of the board meeting.

Go to the District's homepage at www.richland2.org
Click on EXPLORE
Click on School Board
Click on PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Click on CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Westwood H.S. - how bad are things there?

Richland 2's Westwood High School is located at in Blythewood. Its 2020-2021 Annual Student Improvement Council Parent Report (on its website) indicates an enrollment of 1,490 students.

The Principal is Robert Jackson. There are two Assistant Principals - Vanessa Rhoden and Bruce Davis. Three Assistant Administrators are listed on the school's website.

Westwood H.S. is located at 180 Turkey Farm Road in Blythewood. That's just west of Hwy. 21 (Wilson Blvd.) and just south of the interchange with I-77.

With that introduction, what's going on at Westwood?

What is the current level of violence on a daily basis at Westwood? Is it so bad that teachers must give up their 4th Period classes in order to escort students to lunch?

What was in the email to all teachers yesterday from Asst. Principal Rhoden?

What is required of students to pick up their bag lunches? 

Are all seniors required to stay on campus at lunch times?

One message to me indicated "prison-like" conditions. Seriously?

Should every student be punished because of the actions of a few (or, perhaps, not so few)?

Must teachers wait with their students in their classrooms until an administrator releases them to go to the cafeteria? Must they submit rosters of their students to the cafeteria staff? Must they escort their students to and from the cafeteria?

If you are a teacher, staffer or student (or parent of a student), let me know what is going on? You can safely (confidentially) contact me at gusphilpott@gmail.com  Your name and any identifiable information will never be revealed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Why Did Richland 2 hire Chris Leevy Johnson?

Why did Richland 2 hire Chris Leevy Johnson as a sports coach at Ridge View High School?

He's a preacher at Brookland Baptist Church Northeast, on Summit Parkway near Hard Scrabble Road. Isn't that a full-time job? Oh, and preacher at the church Baron attends, so I hear.

Was he one of Baron's "100 Premier Men of Color" hires?

Was he the best candidate? Even the best black candidate?

Did he get a hiring bonus?

Will he keep his preaching and "Chaplain" duties entirely off-campus?

Will he be recruiting for his church? I think that's called proselytizing.

Chris criticized a campaign ad for four candidates (Smalls, Nash, Moody, Trapp) that used the Richland 2 flame. Libby Roof jumped all over that use of a Richland 2 "Service Mark".

I haven't seen any complaints from Chris about his good friend's use of this ad:



What's false in Teresa's ad? Claiming to be School Board Chair. Her term as Chair ended on June 30, 2022, before she ever filed for re-election.

On Facebook Chris throws around terms like neo-conservatives and "MAGA-MAFIA". He doesn't even know the difference between "lose" and "loose". And then he spews "the truth will set you free."

Holmes owes R2 $2,529.27. Maybe more

Current trustee-elect Teresa Holmes, who has never taken the oath of office legally for the current 2018-2022 term, and candidate for election on November 8 owes Richland School District Two $2,529.27.

This is the amount paid for, or reimbursed to, her in excess of her $7,000 annual allowance for training and travel for the School Year 2021-2022. 

Who approved payment of the excess? Supt. Baron Davis.

Why would he, the superintendent, authorize a payment in excess of an approved allowance?

Somebody, way down in the Accounts Payable section, must have flagged Holmes' over-spending. Holmes had exhausted her training allowance on March 25, 2021; then she was already over her allowance by $99.43.

Yet the superintendent approved another $1,504.12 and $925.72. And after that Holmes may have gone to Myrtle Beach "on business".

It was wrong of Holmes to submit requests for reimbursements in excess of the $7,000 allowance, and it was wrong of Davis to approve them!

Will the District make a claim on Holmes for repayment? If she doesn't pay, will it attempt to collect the $2,529.27? Will she pay it?

Monday, September 26, 2022

Weapons in the board room?

Do NOT get in Teresa Holmes' way!

Have you noticed the size and weight of all those rings on her fingers? Can you imagine the damage they would do, if they connected with your chin or cheek? And that heavy watch she wears? One slap with that, and you'd be down for the count.

Why does Richland 2 Security allow those on school property?

Will McKie settle her Ethics Commission debt?

Amelia McKie's term-of-office as a school board member ends on about November 17, 2022.

During her last two months she is enjoying spending District money to attend conferences in Atlanta and Miami. These two are likely to cost the District about $5,000 and will leave her successor only a small amount remaining of the annual $7,000 travel and training allowance.

McKie owes $57,100 to the S.C. Ethics Commission. Will she pay off this debt before leaving office?

On July 10, 2019 the S.C. Ethics Commission filed a judgment against her for $51,700 in unpaid ethics fines. There appears to have been no collection activity.

Ms. McKie's debt to the Ethics Commission is now $57,100, and she has a hearing scheduled for October 20, 2022 on the latest violation.

The S.C. Department of Revenue appears to be taking no action against her. It could have garnished her wages from Richland 2, attached her banking assets, gone after her other income, and attempted to collect against any other assets she has.

At the school board meeting on September 13th, she stated that she will do her job "diligently" until her term ends.

Does that include paying her debt?

There is one right way

There is one right way to do things. And then there are all the other ways.

There is not "my" right way or "your" right way. There is A right way. There is not "my" truth or "your" truth. There is The Truth.

So why does the Richland 2 school board have such a hard time doing things the "right" way?

One reason is lack of training. 

The trustees were not trained in how to spend their $7,000 annual allowances for training and travel. That's why several of them blew right past their limits.

Another reason is inattention. And another is irresponsibility. How about entitlement? Privilege? And lack of intention to comply with the limit and stop spending when they were out of money.

After all, it's not their money. It's someone else's money. It's the public's money. So what?

And then there is training how to make motions correctly during board meetings. Two weeks ago the motion should have been, "I move to award a "Meets Expectations" evaluation to the superintendent and to add one year to his employment contract." That's all Holmes had to say. 

Instead, she overwhelmed the recording secretary. No wonder the motion was prepared incorrectly. And then four trustees failed to read and understand the motion, so they voted "Yes" to conclude the superintendent's contract.

But the trustees have not been trained in Parliamentary procedures.

Election Day is 43 days away. Early voting begins even sooner. Your vote in this Election can end the chaos and antics of recent years.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Holmes blows travel allowance by 36%

Teresa Holmes didn't just over-spend her 2021-2022 travel allowance by a few dollars. She went sailing past $7,000 by $2529.27.

On August 11, 2022 I filed a FOIA request with Richland 2 for her final two expense reimbursement requests for the School Year, along with the signatures and names of the Richland 2 folks who approved her over-spending. The District finally responded on September 22.

Teresa seems to enjoy living high on the hog, when it comes to spending public monies.

In addition to the conference fee of $600 for the National School Boards Association conference in San Diego, she roughed it in a $285.00 (plus taxes) room for four nights at the Hard Rock San Diego. 

The conference was over on Monday, April 4, at Noon. Why didn't she fly back on Monday? If she stayed Monday night (for pleasure), why did the District pay for that???

She also blew $587.30 on a car rental. Why would she need a car? It's a business meeting! Was ride-share or car-sharing beneath her lofty position as Board Chair?

She paid $140.00 in baggage fees. And $248.00 in meals.

AND she paid $55.00/night for Overnight Valet Parking. For April 2 $110.00 (two (2) $55.00 overnight valet parking fees); April 3 $55.00; April 4 $55.00 overnight valet parking. Total $220.00 for Overnight Valet Parking.

Why did she pay TWO overnight valet parking fees on April 2? (Maybe one of them was for the day of arrival, April 1. Maybe.)

So the car in San Diego cost Richland 2 $797.30 ($587.30 + $210.00) for five days!!! What kind of car did she rent for those five days?

Add her airline ticket of $976.19. Did she fly First Class?

So, it cost the District $4006.03 for that junket. What did she learn? 

Based on her behavior during the months of April, May and June (the balance of the School Year), did she learn anything? Did the District get any benefit?

Who gave the ultimate approval for her bills? Supt. Baron Davis.

Was that good stewardship of public monies??? $4,006.03 !!!

Friday, September 23, 2022

Strong stomach? Watch the last 45 minutes

Watch the last 45 minutes of the September 13th board meeting. Go to https://livestream.com/richland2/events/10609944/videos/232910367 and set the pointer to 4:30:28, which is where the open meeting resumes after the second Executive Session.

You may not want to view it as I did, taking notes. 

Watch who makes common-sense suggestions for the good of students and parents, and watch who criticizes the "wrecking balls". 

Watch who justifies the upcoming trip to Miami. 

Watch who says there are no lame ducks. (There are at least three.)

Watch who lies through her teeth. 

Watch how Manning argued with trustees, rather than letting them finish their statements uninterrupted. His job as Chair is not to argue or interrupt. Watch how many times he shut down discussion.

Watch who said, "We need to stop this politicking and playing games" and who then proceeded to do just that.

Watch how Manning over-rode Trustee Agostini's Motion (4:50:30) to add a grievance to the Draft Agenda, halting discussion and closing it out by saying he was not going to add that item to the draft agenda.

It wasn't his call. Agostini had made a motion. The Board should have voted on her motion. This is what happens when the board is not well-trained in Robert's Rules of Order and there is no Parliamentarian.

All these antics should come to a screeching halt on November 18, when the new board is sworn in.

Everybody, work really hard to help Teresa Holmes come in 12th.

Richland 2 and P.R.

How much does Richland 2 spend on P.R.?

Every week I receive emails giving me all sorts of information about which I care nothing. I suspect few in the media care about it.

Now, I don't want them to stop because, then, I would not know how much money Richland 2 is wasting on P.R.

It's not like Richland 2 has anything to sell. There is no "brand" that the business needs to keep in front of my eyes. Richland 2 has a captive audience and a guaranteed banker (that's you).

Richland 2's job is public education in this district. It sucks up money every year from residents within the District's boundaries and from the state legislature. It gets that money, whether the economy is good or bad; whether there is COVID or not; whether or not (you name it).

The personnel engaged in P.R. are managed by Administration, for which Baron Davis is the superintendent.

The Board is supposed to direct the superintendent. Is that how it works?

If you listened to Davis' remarks at the end of the September 13th board meeting, you heard him say, "... several members of this board continue to support the move and the movement that we are making..."

And there it is - plain as day. The "move and the movement" are his. The board supports it. Four of the board members support it.

What he should have referred to was the Mission of the school board and how Administration is following it. That isn't how he sees it. The brand is his.

Up until now he had had a board that he could manage. That's about to change. In November, hopefully four new faces will join the board. Then there will be a board that leads - that directs, not one that follows.

District Falsifies Minutes of 9/13/2022 Board Meeting

Richland School District 2 has falsified the Minutes of the September 13, 2022 board meeting. The Minutes for that meeting are attached to the agenda for the September 27th board meeting. See Item 12.1 in the Minutes.

I wondered how they were going to fix the error. They fixed it by just changing that wording of the Motion, after it was voted on.

Here is the Motion. Read the last sentence:


Now read the Motion as printed in the Minutes:

"Mr. Chair after reviewing Dr. Davis's report on the district's progress, and considering the Board members comments regarding Dr. Davis's performance I move that we conclude as a Board that Dr. Davis receive an overall meets expectation evaluation for the 2021-2022 school year. I further move that as a result of Dr. Davis' overall meets expectation evaluation that Dr. Davis' employment contract with the District be extended one year through June 30, 2026."

What's missing? Right! The final sentence.

It's easy to understand how the error happened. If Holmes had simply made the motion, without all the pomp and circumstance and fluff, it would have read: "I move that Supt. Davis be given a Meets Expectation evaluation and that his contract be extended one year." That's all she needed to say.

Instead, she overwhelmed the recording secretary with unnecessary language. Worse then, Holmes, Manning, McKie, and Caution-Parker did not read the Motion to ascertain that it was correct.

Hence, the majority of the board voted to conclude Dr. Davis' employment contract.

And they can't fix that by merely changing the words in the Minutes. No lawyer will tell them that is okay!

Meet Terrance Staley - Sat., Oct. 8, 3-5PM

You are invited to get acquainted with - and to vote for - a very strong candidate for the Richland 2 School Board - 

Terrance Staley

Saturday, October 8, 2022, 3:00-5:00PM. North Springs Park Recreational Center, Picnic Shelter 1 (1320 Clemson Road)

From Facebook:

"I am running for the Richland Two, South Carolina School Board because I believe we as a community need to ensure the safety of our youth. We are failing them by not providing them the adequate resources and knowledge to feel safe while attending school. With the climate of the world today, parents, faculty, staff, and students need to be provided the tools and skills necessary to feel safe in any given situation. It would be my duty to provide efficient and intensive training to all involved parties in the community while partnering with local law enforcement. With my background and training through the military, secret service, and developmental training, I have the skills to help guide our community. My role in my family has always been to provide and protect my wife, children and grandchildren to the best of my ability. I would love the opportunity to show that I not only can keep my family safe, but your children, and our community safe as well.
If anyone has any questions of me, I can be reached via email at:
TeStaley2022@gmail.com"

Terrance commanded a battalion (1500 personnel), in which 42 officers (majority white) reported to him. He has the leadership, business, management and professional experience to lead Richland 2 well as one of the four new board members.

Come and meet him. Bring your questions and suggestions.

Core Four Fire Supt. Davis


Why did The Core Four (Manning, Holmes, McKie, Caution-Parker) vote to fire Supt. Davis on Sept. 13th?

Teresa Holmes made a motion that was displayed to all the world on the screen, ending with: "... I move that we conclude as a board Dr. Davis Dr. Davis's [sic] employment contract"

The written motion that the trustees saw before they voted ended with those words. Did the illustrious majority not read it? Did they not pay attention to what they were about to vote on? 

Didn't Amelia McKie, the Board Secretary, need to say, "Just for clarification ..."?

Why didn't Supt. Davis object? Maybe he was just licking his chops over the $360,000 payday that The Core Four just handed him.

Is there any doubt that he doesn't have offers lined up and that he can be back at work on Monday? Does he already have another gig lined up?

When does he leave?

Does Deputy Supt. Marshalynn Franklin automatically slide up into the big office?


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Requests for Sept. 27th Board Meeting

The agenda for the September 27th board meeting has not been published yet. It is often published on the Thursday prior to the meeting, so it will likely be published tomorrow (Friday).

Requests by the public or by board members (after a board meeting) are made to the board chair and the superintendent, who decide on agenda items.

Today Trustee Lashonda McFadden requested the following items added to the September 27th agenda:

1. Disbanding the Safety & Security Committee

2. Board Member participation in CUBE Conference

3. Discussion of the report of the gun confiscated at Spring Valley High School, including the reports from the school, the District Office, and the Sheriff's Department.

Will Manning and the superintendent place these items on the agenda?

Terrance Staley for R2 School Board


 

Introducing Terrance Staley, candidate for Richland 2 School Board.

I met Terrance just before the September 13th school board meeting. He's a quiet, humble man, and I'm sure he'd much rather talk about how great others are than speak about himself.

I'll be providing more information about him as election day nears.

In the meantime, watch him and listen to his remarks at the Sept. 13th school board meeting. Click here (https://livestream.com/richland2/events/10609944/videos/232910367) for the recording of that meeting 

Fast-forward to 1:43:25 for his remarks.

Terrance deserves your most serious consideration for one of your four votes in this school board race on November 8. Be sure to get acquainted with him.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Did you forget about this?


 

Remember that $468,400,000 bond issue way back in 2018 (four years ago) when you approved the End of the Rainbow for Richland 2?

I don't remember how much voters approved for the Performing Arts Center, to be built adjacent to the Taj Mahal (R2i2) on Fashion Drive, but here it comes.

Does this District, with 60% of the students living below the Poverty Line and enjoying the free meals and reduced-price meals, really need a Performing Arts Center?

The District with almost 50% of students getting an F on U.S. History tests... 

It's probably too late to halt or delay that project. Is this an example of uninformed voters just saying "Yes" to whatever was put in front of them? 64.9% of the voters approved the PAC, depending on whether it was approved in Question One or Question Two on the ballot.

Recording secretary botches Minutes. Did Board fire Davis?



On September 13, 2022 the Richland 2 school board evaluated Supt. Davis' performance. They (The Core Four) didn't give him a glowing report, but they did give him a "Meets Expectations" decision and extended his contract for one year.

Take a look at this embarrassing Motion in the Minutes, made by Teresa Holmes and seconded by Amelia McKie:

Mr. Chairmain after reviewing Dr. Davis's report on the Distiricts progress, and considering the Board members comments regarding Dr. Davis's performance I move that we conclude as a Board that Dr. Davis receive an overall meets expectation evaluation for the 2021-2022 school year. I further move that as a result of Dr. Davis's overall meets expectation evaluation that Dr. Davis' employment contract with the District be extended one year. through June 30, 2026. I move that we conclude as a board Dr. Davis Dr. Davis's employment contract

No one has ever taught the board members how to make Motions or taught the recording secretary how to word them. The above motion is verbatim; i.e., as written and entered in the Agenda for the September 13th board meeting. 

Here's that Motion with the errors highlighted:

Mr. Chairmain after reviewing Dr. Davis's report on the Distiricts progress, and considering the Board members comments regarding Dr. Davis's performance I move that we conclude as a Board that Dr. Davis receive an overall meets expectation evaluation for the 2021-2022 school year. I further move that as a result of Dr. Davis's overall meets expectation evaluation that Dr. Davis' employment contract with the District be extended one year. through June 30, 2026. I move that we conclude as a board Dr. Davis Dr. Davis's employment contract

Now, what does this mean - "I move that we conclude as a board Dr. Davis Dr. Davis's employment contract"

Did Teresa Holmes move to conclude (terminate? end? discontinue? cancel?) Supt. Davis' contract?  If so, Supt. Davis is out the door. The Core Four approved that.

How should that motion have been worded?

Motion: to award Supt. Davis an annual evaluation of "Meets Expectations" and to extend his contract to June 30, 2026.

Actually, Teresa never said the words, "I move that we conclude as a board Dr. Davis Dr. Davis's employment contract".

BUT the words are included in the Motion on which the board voted. 

Four board members approved that original motion with all its misspellings and other errors. Inexcusable!!!

Wouldn't it be nice to know what Trustees Agostini, Scott and McFadden had to say about Supt. Davis' performance in Executive Session 2?

How smart are Richland 2 students?

Take a look at this brief summary of some results for Richland 2 students, published in The State newspaper on September 21, 2022.

"Here’s what percentage of students scored an F [emphasis added] in the four core courses on the exam in Richland and Lexington counties. To view results for other county school districts or even individual schools in the state, click here.

"Richland 2 
Algebra: 32.73% 
Biology: 46.06% 
English 2: 14.19% 
U.S. History: 49.74%"

Source: www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article266063151.html#storylink=cpy

Almost 50% of Richland 2 students scored an F in U.S. History. Think about that. 

What gets covered in U.S. History? The founding of this country? The American Revolution? The Declaration of Independence? The Constitution? The Civil War? WW I? WW III? The 1960s? 

Is Richland 2 preparing students for the future???

Supt. Davis had his performance evaluated by the School Board recently. The result? "Meets expectations"  

The Core Four Manning, Holmes, Cauiton-Parker, McKie) gave him that one. Trustees Agostini, Scott, and McFadden were unsuccessful, when they tried to removed the one-year contract extension.

O.K. what expectations?

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Reinstate Committee of the Whole

The following email has been sent to Chair James Manning and Supt. Davis, with copies to all board members.


Chair Manning and Supt. Davis,

Pursuant to Board Policy BEDH Public Participation at Meetings, particularly Agenda Items, which reads "Citizens wanting an item to be placed on the agenda..."

I, Gus Philpott, of 39 Barony Place Circle and resident of Richland School District Two, hereby make this request on September 20, 2022, which is more than three days before the next regular school board meeting on September 27, 2022, and request an Agenda Item for the September 27, 2022 regular board meeting for discussion of Chair James Manning's unilateral disbanding of the Committee of the Whole on Safety & Security.

Specifically, I request a full, fair, transparent discussion of the reason(s) that the Chair announced the dissolution of the Committee outside of a board meeting and without discussion or consultation with the Chair of that Committee.

I request that the board direct the Chair to reinstate the Committee because of the extreme importance of addressing the safety and security problems in the District and involving the participation of community members, parents, teachers, staff, and students. 

Because requests from the public are often disregarded and not approved by a board chair and the superintendent, I request board members also to request this item to be added to the Agenda for the next meeting. If it is not, please address during Board & Superintendent Comments or at another time during the September 27th board meeting.

Sincerely,

Gus Philpott

Departing Trustees about to waste District Money

The following email has been sent to Chair James Manning and Supt. Davis, with copies to the other board members, the State Inspector General, and media.

A similar request was made for the agenda for the September 13th board meeting. Neither Manning and Davis responded to my request.

Should there be repercussions for waste of public monies?


Chair Manning and Supt. Davis, 

Pursuant to Board Policy BEDH Public Participation at Meetings, particularly Agenda Items, which reads "Citizens wanting an item to be placed on the agenda..." 

I, Gus Philpott, of 39 Barony Place Circle and resident of Richland School District Two, hereby make this request on September 20, 2022, which is more than three days before the next regular school board meeting on September 27, 2022, and request an Agenda Item for the September 27, 2022 regular board meeting for discussion of Chair James Manning's unilateral disbanding of the Committee of the Whole on Safety & Security. 

Specifically, I request a full, fair, transparent discussion of the reason(s) that the Chair announced the dissolution of the Committee outside of a board meeting and without discussion or consultation with the Chair of that Committee. 

I request that the board direct the Chair to reinstate the Committee because of the extreme importance of addressing the safety and security problems in the District and involving the participation of community members, parents, teachers, staff, and students.  

Because requests from the public are often disregarded and not approved by a board chair and the superintendent, I request board members also to request this item to be added to the Agenda for the next meeting. If it is not, please address during Board & Superintendent Comments or at another time during the September 27th board meeting. 

Sincerely,

Gus Philpott


One Day - Two Security Events

Yesterday was a busy day for Richland 2 security.

All schools were locked down while RCSD deputies searched the area (not the schools) for two miscreants. They were later taken into custody.

Perhaps Supt. Davis will be kind enough to explain why ALL schools were locked down ...

And a 14-year-old girl had a knife at RNE. 

What is really happening at Richland 2 schools? Maybe, out of 28,000 students, a few incidents are not abnormal. You know; just another day at the office.

This problem isn't going away by being addressed in the superintendent's office or at school board meetings. Where it needs to be addressed is at the school classroom level. 

Does Richland 2 have a master list of the students most likely to bring weapons to school? to start fights? to bully? to be bullied? Would that be profiling? Yes? So what?

According to information received yesterday, there are 38 SROs used by Richland 2. I'm awaiting the balance of information I requested; How much do SROs cost Richland 2?

A while back I thought I heard the figure of $150,000/year for a SRO, his patrol car, gun(s), uniform, equipment, etc. Is RCSD charging Richland 2 $5,700,000 annually.

When a SRO is tied up with a student with a gun or a knife or dealing with a fight or some other criminal problem, does that then leave the school defenseless? How quickly does the SRO turn over the errant student to another RCSD deputy, so he can get back to his duty to the entire school?

There are 32 elementary, middle, and high schools. Add R2i2, Blythewood Academy, W.R. Rogers and other facilities. Are there two SROs at each high school?

Who covers when an SRO is transporting a detained student? is on leave? is sick or injured? I was told (unofficially) that each of the five high schools had two SROs. That's not possible, if there are 38 SROs. 

McKie Campaign Fund $4540

When Amelia McKie leaves office in November, what will she do with the $4,540.87 balance in her Campaign Fund?

The balance hasn't changed since the Third Quarter 2019 Report.

One of the things she cannot do with the money is pay down her $57,100 debt to the Ethics Commission. And she can't spend it on her "vacation" to Miami at the end of this month, when the taxpayers will pay her way to her final National School Boards Association CUBE Conference.

Let's just say that more than a few people think she should not be attending that conference at School District expense, since she leaves the board about a month later. The District will derive absolutely no value for that cost. Nor will it for Mannng's attendance at the same meeting.

McKie's last two school board meetings will be October 11 and October 25.

The term-of-office for the new school board members will start about November 17, and a Special-Called board meeting is planned for November 18 to swear in four board members and seat them.

Monday, September 19, 2022

How to Rate Candidates

When it comes time to make your final selection of the four candidates for whom you will vote in the School Board election in November, how will you choose?

Will you just wing it? Or will you give it thoughtful consideration?

You might even have already decided. Is your mind open? Or have you decided and shut the door on change?

Will you examine a candidate's experience for a Trustee-level, decision-making position? Does he or she have practical, Business experience? Does s/he have financial experience? Is s/he able to see the big picture of large-dollar expenditures? Does the candidate understand that being a school board trustee is NOT making day-to-day decisions about school business matters?

A trustee is responsible for directing the business of the District. How many times in the past year did the Trustees get mired down in "It's for the children"?



Print this grid. I came across it 40 years ago in Denver. It's the National Career Development Project Prioritizing Grid. If I knew where I found it, I'd certainly give credit here.

Working horizontally across the top row, for every choice, circle one number. Ex., do I choose Holmes or Mobley. Holmes? Circle the 1. Mobley? Circle the 2. Next: Holmes or Moody? Circle 1 or 3. Next? Holmes or Nash? Circle 1 or 4. The last one? Holmes or Wright? Circle 1 or 12.

Now do Row 2. Then Row 3.

To score the grid, count the number of circles. Enter that number to the left for each row.

Which row had the highest number? That's your first choice.
Which row had the second-highest number?
Third-highest?
Fourth-highest?

There are your top four candidates. Be sure to vote for them.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Teresa Holmes' real colors

 Here are "words of wisdom" from Teresa Holmes, which she posted on Facebook.


Here's where you get a chance to see the person she really is. 

Great work going on? Teresa is responsible for the chaos on the board, by leading The Core Four away from respectful dialogue, cooperation, collaboration. With Teresa, it was "My way or the highway."

So James Manning, Cheryl Caution-Parker, and Amelia McKie are taking the highway. By exiting now, they avoid the embarrassment of possible removal by the Governor, when the State Inspector General submits his findings.

No one is saying "the whole board" needs to go. Four DO need to go, and three decided to go. Holmes is going to stick around until November 8. Help her come in #12 out of twelve candidates. Just think, the worst she can do is come in No. 12.

We don't get to "vote out" Manning, Caution-Parker, and McKie. They are running out on their own, leaving Teresa to face the music alone.

We want you off the board, Teresa, because you were the Chaos Leader. 

All your good work? Seriously? Why did you disrespect Lashonda McFadden from almost her first day on the board?

"If" you return in November, you'll be on the short end of votes that will be 6-1. The Six will not treat you the way you treated Trustees Agostini, Scott, and McFadden. But you'll find some way to the oppressed and the victim. It's in your blood.

Community Member addresses Board

The following message was sent to the Richland 2 Board of Trustees by a Richland 2 parent and community member. Please read it carefully and then send your own email or letter.

Good Friday afternoon,
 
As my work schedule prevented me from attending the meeting in person, I did have the opportunity to observe via LiveStream.
 
I would like to address several items:
 
1) Board staff travel - This is an extremely troubling business practice that taxpayer funds would be expended for Board members who only have several months left on their term.  As stewards of taxpayer money, you have a fiduciary responsibility.    This attendance at conferences by outgoing board members is just bad business practice.  To that end, I would ask that the Board enact a policy regarding Board travel by members whose terms are limited.
 
2) Extension of contract for Superintendent - The fact that the contract was extended by 1 year by members who will no longer be seated in a few months is certainly troubling.    It is a known fact that there are four seats up in this election cycle.   From all appearances, it was like the majority knew that votes might change in a few months and in effect, rammed a contract extension through as a last gasp of power.  To that end, I would ask that the Board enact a policy regarding contract extensions by members whose terms are limited.
 
After the meeting, I learned that the Security(Safety) committee had been disbanded.  How in the world does this even make sense?   Rather than get community engagement and support on this very critical issue, the Chair decided to pull the plug.  This of all decisions is the most perplexing to me.  Safety and security should be front and center.   It is quite evident that this committee was formed to appease angry residents and parents and once things quieted down a bit, the Chair decided, community be damned.   
 
I'm continually amazed by the lack of self awareness, grandstanding and embellishment by members of this board.    As elected officials, you are held to a higher standard of accountability and transparency.    It is quite evident to some on this Board, that your oath means very little and your term is to satisfy your egos that are large enough to fill Williams-Brice Stadium.  
 
It is my fervent hope that in a few months, the voters will see the power grab for what it is and transparency and accountability will return to R2.
 
Good friday!
 
Monica Glowinski
Apparently one of the small group of residents who likes to make noise


Published with permission. Before moving to Columbia the author was an elected public official for more than ten years.


Richland 2 Community - show up 9/27/2022

Community members, parents, teachers, staff, students:

The next school board meeting is Tuesday, September 27, 2022, 6:30PM, at R2i2.

Please attend. Arrive by 6:00PM, if you'd like to sign up to speak.

Three current board members whose terms expire in November may be going to Miami on Sept. 29 - Oct. 1 at District expense to attend a National School Boards Assn. CUBE conference. This is a waste of public funds. 

Manning and McKie will not be on the board after November 18, only six weeks after their junket to Miami. That's when the new term-of-office starts for the four who will be elected on November 8th. 

Holmes will hopefully not be re-elected. If you paid any attention at all to the chaos of the past school year or have been reading this blog, you'll know why I feel this way.

Whatever would cause them to think it is okay to spend District money in this way on their way out the door?

Another item of outrage is James Manning's unilateral decision to disband the Committee of the Whole on Safety & Security. Without any discussion with the Committee chairperson, Trustee Monica Scott or with the rest of the board.

Who does Manning think he is? Vladimir Putin? Xi Jinping? Kim Jong-un? Ali Khamenei? Joe Biden?

What about solving the problems of the fights in schools? the rumble at the Spring Valley-Ridge View game? guns in schools? the mess at Blythewood Academy?

How will the trustees and the public find solutions to these problems, when Supt. Davis hasn't solved these problems?

See you on September 27. Bring friends.

Statement by Terrance Staley

Read this great statement by Richland 2 school board candidate Terrance Staley. He addressed the school board on Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - the link to his remarks follows this statement.

Good evening Friends of District Two. I am glad to have attended the meeting on the 13th. Many thoughts come to mind concerning the many questions, issues and concerns that were and weren’t spoken of during the meeting. I must first say how encouraging the presence of all the parents, teachers, and concerned citizens was to my heart. Unfortunately there was also an obvious presence of disorder, unaccountability, and a lack of transparency, responsibility and leadership from the current school board members. Seemingly no notes were being taken by board members, no pursuit of answers to questions or concerns by the community, and no positive moral. Questions concerning board spending and board activities funded by taxpayers also went unanswered. This has got to stop. We as a community we deserve more. Parental, educational, business, and community stakeholders have payed and deserve a school board with the pursuit of solutions always in mind and pro-active paths to get the job(s) done. Again, there may not be any one answer to all the issues facing District Two. But the first steps will be to: 1. Acknowledge and take responsibility for the problems 2. Remove all negative influences and reasonings for those problems 3. Establish an accountability complex where integrity, transparency and accountability are MANDATORY 4. Begin COA’s (Course of Action) where ideas and problem solving and solutions are pursued This will not happen overnight. This will take a lot of time and effort and self-discipline. I ask for your patience, and most of all faith. But it is possible if we work together and embrace the mindset that it takes a village to raise a child. Every individual pursuing what’s best for the community, especially our children. I can be reached via email at: TeStaley2022@gmail.com I look forward to meeting you, hearing from you, and being of service to you. Sincerely, Retired Colonel Terrance E. Staley

Listen to his remarks to the school board on September 13, 2022 by going to https://livestream.com/richland2/events/10609944 and fast-forwarding to 1:43:40