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.