Friday, March 18, 2022

Open Letter to School Board re Policy KE

The following email was sent to the school board (and others) today, March 18.

You can read the proposed revision to Board Policy KE on the Agenda for the March 22, 2022 board meeting. Scroll down to Item 8.3. Click on it, and then click on the Attachment. Note: the attachment has two pages. The first page is the existing Policy KE, which the Board will consider replacing. The second page is the proposed Policy KE.

Email and call board members before Tuesday with your comments and requests. Do you agree that the proposed revision diminishes any Complaint you might make?

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

At the March 22, 2022 board meeting Administration brings to you a revision to Board Policy KE Public Concerns and Complaints.

I urge you to reject the revisions to Board Policy KE. The existing Policy KE is sufficient to give the "Public" a right that is proper.

This revision would likely not even be on the Agenda but for the disruption that occurred on January 25th and the fact that Gary Ginn and I are not quietly sulking in a corner. You know who caused that disruption. That is the elephant in the room.

The revision, following the Model South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) policy serves the administration, not the public. Beginning in the first sentence the word "patron" shows up. Who is that in the school district? That reflects bureaucratic design and influence and it disrespects and diminishes the "Public".

Why should Public Concerns and Complaints be resolved in "as informal a manner as possible"? Complaints should be properly accepted, registered and resolved by a formal policy. A Complaint is just that, and it should be taken seriously.

How can the Human Resources Director be tasked under Board Policy AC with resolving Public Concerns and Complaints which, by definition, are not personnel issues.

The SCSBA represents the bureaucratic arm of school boards (the board and the Administration), not the Public.

Board Policy KE should represent the Public.

The paragraph addressing defamation of a staff member is completely unnecessary. That employee is adequately protected under common law. That paragraph is just a bullying technique or hammer to warn off the public. There again is the influence of the SCSBA. The SCSBA does not run the Richland 2 school board. You do.

The superintendent is accountable to the school board. Removing the board's obligation to ultimately resolve a complaint is unfair to the public. If you approve the revision to Policy KE, you abdicate your responsibility as elected officials. 

When Item 8.3 comes up on Tuesday, please vote NO.

Gus Philpott