Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Where is the Sense of Urgency?

I admit I would be a terrible committee person.

If the school building were on fire, I would not be concerned with what color the firetruck was painted or whether its paint was dry.

I'd want water on the fire and rescuers in the building.

That sense of urgency is not present with the Richland Two Safety Committee.

Why so easy on the new board?

Yesterday I received a telephone call from a community member who asked why I was being so "easy" on the new board. That person reminded me (correctly) that I had been hard on the old board.

Indeed, I had. And they deserved it.

And the caller was right that I've cut the new board some slack. Why is that? It's not because they are doing better than the old board. I explained that the reason is that I'm tired.

More than once I've thought to myself, "OK, the honeymoon is over." It's time to call it like it is.

This last election was proof that you don't need to be qualified to be a school board members. What you need is more votes than the others. 

How long will it take them to learn to function as a board? Board meetings should not be longer than 90 minutes. That's how long they were five years ago. 

If they wonder (and I doubt they do) why the public is not showing up at meetings, all they have to do is look at the clock.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Three meetings today (March 21, 2023)

Here is how the school district has announced the THREE meetings for this afternoon:

The Richland Two Board of Trustees will hold three committee meetings this week. All meetings will be held at the R2i2 Conference Center. Please see below for meeting rooms.

The Richland School District Two Board of Trustees will hold a Parliamentary Procedure Workshop on Tuesday, March 21 at 4:45 p.m. workshop will be held in the executive conference room.

Review the agenda for the March 21 Parliamentary Procedure Workshop.

*********************************************************************

The Richland School District Two Board of Trustees will hold a Safety Committee Meeting on Tuesday, March 21 at 6 p.m. The safety committee meeting will be held in boardroom 1.

Review the agenda for the March 21 Safety Committee Meeting.

*********************************************************************

The Richland School District Two Board of Trustees will hold an I.G. Committee Meeting on Tuesday, March 21 at 6 p.m. The committee meeting will be held in boardroom 2.

Review the agenda for the March 21 I.G. Committee Meeting.


Is the Parliamentary Procedure Workshop a meeting of the full School Board or of a yet-to-be-announced committee? Will it be structured to end on time, so that the two committees can start on time?

If you have a split-personality, then you should be able to attend both the Safety and I.G. Committee meetings. Each is important. It's unfortunate that the I.G. Committee announced its meeting for exactly the same time as that of the Safety Committee.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Why Two Meetings at the Same Time?

With many days and hours available in March for the two first committees of the school board to meet, why are they meeting at the same time on Tuesday, March 21?

The first committee to announce March 21 at 6:00PM was the Safety Committee of the school board.

Then the Inspector General Recommendations Committee picked exactly the same date and time for its March meeting!

This demonstrates very poor regard for the public and even for the committee members of the other committee who might wish to sit in on the other's meeting.

Of course, should even one of them decide to attend, that would create a quorum under State law and present a legal problem for the School Board.

Although Richland 2 decided that quorum is five board members (for the purpose of terminating a superintendent), there is still that pesky South Carolina statute that says a quorum is four.

Scheduling the meetings on the same date and at the same time prevents a member of the community, parent, teacher, staff member, or student from attending both meetings. Let's hope this does not happen again!

Ilya Shapiro for R2 Superintendent

Credit - Fox News Digital

Should Richland 2 quickly contact Ilya Shapiro and consider him for the job of Superintendent?

Read this FoxNews article about Professor Shapiro, who commented on the stupidity (my term) of the Stanford Law students when they interfered with a speaking engagement that invited Federal Circuit Court Judge Kyle Duncan to campus.

The woke crowd at Stanford shouted him down. Worse, DEI associate dean Tirien Steinbach supported them and further disrespected Judge Duncan.

Read what Prof. Shapiro, formerly with Georgetown Law, has to say.

What if Richland 2 had a leader like Prof. Shapiro? Would he correct the years of DEI leanings in Richland 2?

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Who is Lily Bou?

No one had every heard of Lily Bou. Now everyone can know her name.

Lily Bou is a Stanford Law student who apparently thinks it is all right to disrupt a meeting and shout down a Federal Judge, but then she takes offense when a newspaper prints her name.

See this FoxNews article about the bravery of the Washington Free Beacon newspaper, whose journalist said, "You can't make it up." Some would have said it slightly differently.

U.S. Circuit Court Judge Kyle Duncan had been invited to speak to Stanford Law students on March 9th but was interrupted, shouted down, and prevented from speaking.

Don't miss the part about the associate dean of DEI.

Don't you just love it, when kiddies want their way and then whine after the tables are turned on them?

Lily, BOO! (Pass the tissues to her.)

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Violation of Board Policy GBEB - Staff Conduct

Did a violation of Board Policy GBEB - Staff Conduct occur during the March 14, 2023 board meeting?

Read this Board Policy. Start at the District's website, click on EXPLORE; click on School Board; click on BOARD POLICIES; CLICK ON "G - PERSONNEL"; click on "Policy GBEB - Staff Conduct.

The District's website doesn't permit copy-and-paste. So look for these words:

- setting a good example.

- set the kind of example (to students)

- conduct ... attitude ...professionalism

- mutual respect 

- treat each other with respect

Now go to the recording of the 3/14/2023 school board meeting at   https://livestream.com/richland2/events/10797768/videos/235427364 and fast-forward to 2:56:18

That's where you will see long-time (28+ years) Blythewood High School teacher, Pamela Davis, snub five board members during the ceremony to recognize Certified Teachers.

Should the District investigate these violations?

Did the same teacher violate Policy GBEB on January 25, 2022?

- will not use profanity

- lying or providing false information

- disrupting the educational environment

- using obscene language

A complaint about that teacher's conduct was made and, to my knowledge, it was never investigated or acted upon. 

The State Inspector General's Report on Richland 2 referred to problems with the process of handling complaints. I can certainly agree with that.

I made numerous other complaints, which were ignored by the District and the Board (the board that existed at that time). 

A New Record? 6 1/3 Hours!!!

The Richland 2 school board may have set a new record on Tuesday, March 14th. 

The board convened at 4:00PM, went to Executive Session, re-convened at 6:30PM, went to Executive Session 2 at about 10:00PM, re-convened in public session at 10:17PM, and then adjourned at about 10:20PM.

That's SIX HOURS 20 MINUTES.

The six trustees present had to exhausted, so perhaps the careless errors made right at the end of the meeting can be excused.

Who among readers and other members of the public is going to watch the Livestream recording of that meeting? Which board member, wanting to review who said what, will watch that recording?

Wouldn't it be nice if the District prepared a summary of the Livestream recording, indicating which agenda item started at what point in the video-recording?

Ex., if a viewer wanted to watch Pamela Davis snub five trustees on 3/14/2023, he could advance the counter to 2:56:18. (OK, so the District would probably not put that one on the Index.)

Ex., if the viewer wanted to watch 3/14/2023 Public Participation, he could advance the timer to 3:00:00.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Minutes of I.G. Committee - worthless

I've been monitoring the District's website for the Minutes of the January and February meetings of the I.G. Recommendations Committee. Finally, they have been posted.

If you read them, you will not have a clue as to what happened during those two meetings. If you weren't there, you won't know, because the meetings were not livestreamed.

Did anything happen?

Go to the Minutes, which are posted on the District's website. Click on EXPLORE, then on School Board, then on COMMITTEE MINUTES. Then click on each link.

There is no information about what was discussed!

Where is the written record of discussion about different sections of the IG's Report that were discussed. Where are the comments of Committee members about those sections?

So much for transparency!!!

Ditch the Dive

This image is still projected in the board room before school board meetings.

Richland 2 received some kind of award from an organization that seemed to me to have some political leanings or ideological positions.

I say it is time to Ditch the Dive and post something current in the board room, even it is just the Richland 2 "flame".

Pamela Davis snubs five Board members


 Pam Davis ignores Dr. Scott's extended hand

At last night's school board meeting the District's nationally-certified teachers were recognized. All were respectful toward the board members EXCEPT ONE.

Trustees were lined up to greet those being recognized and to shake hands with each teacher.

When Pamela Davis' name was called, she walked right past Trustees Trapp, McFadden, Washington, Scott, and Nash without any acknowledgement and did not shake hands with them.

Davis shook hands only with Interim Supt. Gregory and Trustee Porter.

Chair Agostini was absent from the meeting but attended by telephone. Would Davis have shaken hands with her? (Will the sun come up in the west tomorrow morning?)

It's too bad that Mrs. Agostini couldn't find her way through the telephone connection to trip Davis. I thought about boo-ing or hissing. Maybe I should have stood up and shouted, "YOU MISSED FOUR TRUSTEES!" After all, she had shouted at me a year ago.

You can see this clearly on the livestream recording. Move the timer to 2:56:18, so you can see this disgraceful act of disrespect.

Davis should be disciplined by the District for conduct unbecoming a teacher. I hope the superintendent or an employee will file a complaint against her.

I'll take the liberty of apologizing to the snubbed trustees on behalf of the public in Richland 2. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

It's Pi Day

π


Do Richland 2 students learn what pi is? Even the math students - do they?

How many digits of pi can you name? Do you know many digits of pi there are?

Here's a starter. To 39 places, pi is 
3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197

But many people just think of it as 3.14. Or today, March 14.

4:00PM Opening of 3/14/23 Board Meeting

The school board convened in Regular Session at 4:00PM. Vice Chair Monica Scott chaired the opening session, because Chair Lindsay Agostini was not attending in-person; she attended by telephone.

Niki Porter objected to the agenda item for the executive session that included discussion of the hiring of a superintendent in closed session. A hand vote was taken (4 (Scott, Agostini, Nash, Trapp) -2 (Porter, Washington) -0-1 (Not Present)), and the motion passed.

The board then voted 6-0-0-1 (Not Present) to enter executive session.

Normally, sound goes silent at that point. Today, however, a male voice could be heard, saying, "I am now ending the phone call of this meeting, so that you guys can go make executive session. Miss [sic] Agostini, please stay connected if you could."

Being picky, I wondered how he was going to end the phone call and not disconnect Trustee Agostini.

The public session reconvenes at 6:30PM.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Are you an informed voter?

What do you know about the $1.7T bill that was passed in December?

Watch U.S. House Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) take off on the 4,100-page bill that the U.S. Senate passed on the same day it got it, and then sent it to the House.

He names the 18 U.S Senators who voted for it? They are Blunt, Boozman, Capito, Collins, Cornyn, Cotton, Graham, Inhofe, McConnell, Moran, Murkowski, Portman, Romney, Rounds, Shelby, Thune, Wicker, and Young

Too bad that the U.S. House of Representatives doesn't have 434 more Representatives and 50 Senators just like Chip Roy.

Whom Do You Believe?

How many times have you been lied to? By one or a few media sources? When do you begin to question what you are hearing?

This PragerU video, by podcaster Tim Pool, is worth five minutes of your time.

He has great advice for deciding what, and whom, to believe.

Click on this link for a quick five-minute lesson.

https://www.prageru.com/video/lying-liars?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=campaign_6369329

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Attend March 14 and speak up

The next school board meeting is March 14. That's this Tuesday. A good time to arrive at R2i2 is 6:20PM.

The board will go into executive session shortly after 4:00PM.You can watch that from home or office or on your smart phone. View at https://livestream.com/richland2/events/10797768

Parents, community members, teachers, staff and students: show up in person and plan to speak up during Public Participation. BUT you must sign up in advance to speak. 

To sign up electronically, go to www.Richland2.org. Then click on EXPLORE; then on School Board; then on PUBLIC PARTICIPATION; then on the green button under the fourth paragraph. 

Or click here.

You can register to speak in person at the meeting before 6:15PM.

Remember, you do not have to avoid mentioning any board member or school district employee by name. Board Policy BEDH only prohibits any expression of personal complaints about an employee or board member; it does not prohibit your mentioning them by name.

Prediction - 6-7-hour board meeting

Take a look at the agenda for the March 14th board meeting. I predict a six-hour meeting; maybe longer. You'll find it here.

The executive session is scheduled to start at 4:00PM. There are seven items listed, including a discussion "of Employment Matter Regarding Hiring of Superintendent".

The Regular Session starts at 6:30PM. Just look at the length of that portion of the agenda!

The Board is set to vote on four revisions to Board Policies.

Previous comments have included board member complaints about the delays in hiring teachers. Can you spot what is wrong with this proposed change to Board Policy BDD?

The superintendent will recommend all administrative candidates for approval by the board. The board authorizes the superintendent to execute the preliminary employment of certified teachers on a temporary basis, subject to final approval by the board. The board further authorizes the superintendent to execute the employment of all other candidates on the board’s behalf.

Is a clerk or a secretary considered an "administrative candidate"? Or are Administrators (whoever they are) those candidates to be approved by the Board?

Why in the world is the Board involved in hiring certified teachers? That's the superintendent's job. Why is the Board meddling in that part of the hiring process? No wonder there is delay. And what teacher will accept employment on a temporary basis, subject to the board's blessing?

Then look at the proposed revision to Board Policy DBJ. Why is the Board meddling with budget transfers of $25,000? How does a typo ("vandilism") slip into a proposed revision?

I remember a typo in a sign on an office display in the lobby of the Sears headquarters, where I worked from 1996-2002. The glaring typo appeared on four of the five signs. When I finished laughing, I said, somewhat loudly, "This is what happens when you ask too few people to do too much work in too short a time." 

Who can get across to this Board what the role of a Trustee is?

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Members of two R2 Committees

The Richland 2 school board chair created two committees of the board. I haven't found anywhere on the District's website where the committee members are listed, so here they are.

Safety Committee *
Angela Nash, chair
Lashonda McFadden
Monica Scott

Inspector General (I.G.) Recommendations Committee
Tamika Washington, chair
Niki Porter
Joe Trapp

If you wish to communicate with any of the Committee members, you can find their contact information of the District's page for Board Members.

* It appears that persons have been identified to represent segments of the Richland 2 community on the Safety Committee and that they are now part of that Committee. I'm inquiring who those persons are.

3/14/23 Board Meeting: 4:00PM/6:30PM

The next Regular Meeting of the Richland 2 school board will be Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

Note the special starting time for the Executive Session: 4:00PM.

The Regular Meeting will re-convene at 6:30PM.

The Agenda has not yet been published. What's up with a 2½-hour Executive Session?

The Agenda must be published by Monday, March 13, 4:00PM, but it will likely be available online at the end of the day today (Thursday (3/9)) or Friday (3/10).

March 10 Board Meeting - Planning Session

The Richland 2 Board of Trustees will hold a Strategic Planning Work Session tomorrow, Friday, March 10, 2023, at 9:00AM.

How will you know about this?

It is announced on the School Board's "Agenda" page on the District's website. That's down several clicks into the website. A place where you might not easily find to look for upcoming meetings.

Where is it not published?

It is not on the listing of Upcoming Events on the District's homepage.

It is not on the page of upcoming livestreamed meetings on livestream.com/richland2.

Has this public meeting of the Board been properly announced ("noticed"), in according with FOIA and Open Meetings laws? The Agenda fails to disclose the location of this meeting.

Many will guess, perhaps correctly, that it is at R2i2. But the Notice needs to disclose the location.

How long will the meeting last? No ending time is included in the agenda. Will the meeting be conducted expeditiously? Will "Parkinson's Law" prevail?

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Safety Committee Meeting - March 21

 A meeting of the Safety Committee of the Richland 2 School Board has been posted for Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at 6:00PM. Watch the R2 website for the location, which will likely be R2i2.

The posting was found under the School Board category on the District's website. From the homepage, click on EXPLORE (top right), then click on School Board, then click on COMMITTEE MEETINGS.

On the right side of that webpage, see the green button for COMMITTEE MINUTES.

The Safety Committee hasn't met yet, so there are no Minutes to be posted.

The IG Recommendations Committee met on January 18 and February 21, but no Minutes are posted. 

Each Committee has three Board Members on it. But who are they? Why aren't their names on the District's website?

[Edited 3/9/23 8:50AM - this meeting now appears on the District's homepage.]

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

100,000 Pageviews - Thank you!

Within the past few days the counter on this blog rolled over 100,000 pageviews. Thanks to all the readers and those who have called me with tips.

If you like an article, share it with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Share the link for the article, or simply click on the M in the box at the end of the article and type in your friend's email address. I never see that email address or your use of it. It remains private.

At this point I am mostly interested in the safety and security issues.

Will they be solved by the people who have been charged for years with solving them (and who haven't)?

Should more parents, community members, teachers, staff, and students be involved?

Personally, I think the BeSMART program is meaningless, and Richland Two should separate itself from the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that Baron Davis touted so heavily. 

BeSMART is part of MOMs Demand Action and Michael Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety. They are left-wing, anti-gun groups. Passing out gun locks will not stop the gun violence in Richland Two schools.

I have requested the schedule for meetings of the Richland Two Board's Safety & Security Committee. When (if?) I get it, I'll post it. I missed the last meeting due to a conflict, but there should be 100-200 parents and community members there.

What are your concerns with safety and security? Post them in Comments below.

If you are hesitant or fearful about posting comments, email them to me at gusphilpott@gmail.com  I'll post them, as written, and without your name or email address. Confidentiality is assured.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Safe and Secure PSA - Thoughts?

Watch the new, short Safe and Secure PSA on the District's website. It's  production of Richland 2. 

And that's exactly what it is - a "production". 

Do you think it will stop one kid from taking a gun or a knife to school?

I am writing to the Trustees today to ditch that ineffective BeSMART M.O.U. that Baron Davis put together and to get serious about a plan and a program to make Richland 2 schools safe.

It's not metal detectors at every door. It's not drug K-9s sniffing their way through the halls. It's not dumb, "professional", glitzy PSAs like the one currently on the District's website.

"Another... another... another..." Whose idea was that???

Watch the PSA. Email your opinions to the school board and the interim superintendent.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The 2/28/2023 board meeting. Were you there?

Or did you watch it online?

Budget transfers under Board Policy DBF are discussed, beginning at 2:01:12 on the 2/28/24 livestream. Here.

Frankly, it's painful to watch.

I sent the following email to the Board, Mrs. Gregory, and Dr. Miley:

Board members,

There must be a better way to conduct business than trying to revise a Policy (DBJ) on the fly. 

Trustee Trapp's proposed revision should have been projected on the screen for all to see, read and follow during his proposal. He could have presented it briefly and generally, since this was a No-Action-Requested item. If it made sense to a majority of the trustees, it could have been included in the draft for the next meeting. At the next meeting, it could be fine-tuned, then adopted or rejected.

I urge the board to retain a consultant to explain how to function as a board, so that business flows smoothly, rapidly, clearly, and in accordance with generally-accepted business procedures.

I appreciate that everyone is "trying", but it certainly is painful to watch.

You are micro-managing the District with the proposed revision to DBJ. I agree with Chair Agostini that DBJ is fine just the way it is. No one on the board has hands-on experience in dealing with millions of dollars. You either trust Mr. Miley and the superintendent, or you don't. He has earned the trust of the District, and I hope you won't drive him away.

It appears that you have other micro-managing revisions on the way. 

Gus Philpott

Teachers' union president meltdown

This is what is leading teachers in the United States now. 

Watch this FoxNews clip of Randi Weingarten as she earned her pay, ranting and raving about the Supreme Court's pending decision on blowing Biden's student-loan pay-off out of the water. 

And, of course, that is exactly what the SCOTUS ought to do.

She didn't die in the saddle yesterday, but she certainly appears headed for a heart attack. Will that be a line-of-duty death, with a huge pay-off from the American Federation of Teachers?

Her gross salary in 2020-2021 was over $426,000 in 2020-2021, according to the union's Federal LM-2 filing. Not bad for a gay Democrat. What do you suppose she really does to earn that amount of money, besides mail out dues notices to lots of teachers? I wonder how all those $30,000/year teachers feel about her pay. 

Time to cancel her?