Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Officer elections by the school board

At last night's school board meeting the annual election of officers was conducted near the end of the meeting.   (See at (2:20:08))

About a month ago I noticed an inconsistency in Board Policy BD, which states that "the elections will be conducted by the superintendent, who will preside and act as temporary chairman at the meeting until a chairman is elected." Therein lies the problem.

Paragraph 2 reads, "Elected officers will take their positions immediately upon completion of the election."

The first election is for the office of Board Chair. Does the newly-elected Chair take office as soon as elected and then conduct the elections for Vice Chair and Secretary?

Chair Agostini excused herself from the meeting and turned the meeting over to Supt. Gregory to conduct the elections. Supt. Gregory read Policy BD which states, in part, that "Officers will be elected by majority vote of the board using paper ballots unless there is a single nominee, in which case a show of hands will be used."

Niki Porter nominated Monica Scott for Chair. Angela Nash nominated Joe Trapp.

The trustees already had color-coded ballots and were directed to use the purple ballots for the election of the Chair. 

Monica Scott then spoke up without asking to be recognized. She requested that trustees write their names on their ballots "so that we would know how the votes go." Supt. Gregory initially agreed. WHOA! WHAT DID SHE ASK? 

Trustee McFadden objected and said it was to be a secret ballot. OF COURSE, IT IS. Monica Scott asked, "What's so secret about it?" That's the whole purpose of a written ballot when there is more than one nominee. 

The ballots were counted off-camera by some unknown person(s). The vote was announced as three votes for Trapp and three votes for Scott. 

Then without asking to be recognized, Scott conceded the election to Joe Trapp. A new vote was taken, and the vote for Trapp was 6-0 (and one person not present). A second vote wasn't really necessary. Because Scott conceded, Trapp was the winner.

At that point, according to Policy BD, Joe Trapp should have taken office and conducted the elections for Vice Chair and Secretary. But Gregory continued.

Trustee Washington nominated Angela Nash for Vice Chair. As the single nominee, a hand vote elected her.

Scott nominated McFadden for Secretary. Porter nominated Washington. Blue ballots were used. Washington was elected 4-2-1 (Yes, No, Not Present at Vote).

At this point the new officers were seated, and Joe Trapp conducted the balance of the meeting.

Watch Board Announcement of New Supt.

Be sure to watch the portion of the June 27, 2023 school board meeting, when the successful candidate for superintendent is announced. The board had met in a second Executive Session, and it reconvened in open session at this point (2:10:30) in the livestream recording at 

The board then addressed the naming of the new superintendent. This time, when Chair Agostini asked for a Motion, there was no delay. Vice Chair Scott, who had served as head of the Superintendent Search Committee, moved that the Board employ Dr. Kim Moore as Superintendent. The Motion was seconded by Trustee McFadden, who was returning to her seat as she seconded the motion.
When discussion was called, no trustees spoke. Chair Agostini stated that she would not support the motion, because she wished the process had gone differently and had not been so rushed. 

Then Trustee Scott launched into a statement of elation at the choice of Dr. Moore, saying "I am giddy, like a little kid in a candy store...," complimenting Dr. Moore on her credentials and her beauty (yes, beauty) and saying tht Dr. Moore will be a mentor to teachers, administrators, cafeteria workers and bus drivers. Seriously? Then she welcomed Dr. Moore with "big hugs" as the first African American female superintendent of Richland School District Two.

Keep in mind that the board had not yet voted.

Scott's comments were during discussion before the vote. She continued, expressing how excited she was to have Dr. Moore "here, to walk alongside me". Kim Moore, as the Superintendent, is the Board's employee! She is not there to walk alongside Scott or any other trustee. Then Scott invited Moore to come to the microphone and let the community hear from her.

Still, the board has not voted. 

Then the board voted 6-1. Motion carried. Then  Scott then invited the "first African-American female superintendent" of the District to the microphone.

Was all that really necessary?

Richland Two was either going to have its first black female superintendent or its second black male superintendent. That choice was clear from the finalists - two black women and one black man. 

Will Moore have the support of the majority of the board to continue down the road of DEI? Unfortunately,  it looks like it from here!

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Kim Moore - the next Superintendent

At 5:34PM the Regular board meeting for June 27th was called to order. Forty-eight remote viewers were perched on the edges of their seats, awaiting the start of tonight's festivities. We watched the splash message that read Executive Session begins at 5:30PM. We knew that, but the Board has to first convene in Open Session before recessing to executive session.

Six trustees and the interim superintendent were present.

The board headed for executive session at 5:36PM. There were 65 remote viewers at that time.

At 6:33PM the Board reconvened in public session. The number of remote viewers was 184 - the highest in a long time. All trustees were present.

A public hearing was opened on the General Fund Budget for 2023-24. No one was present to speak. The board waited about five minutes and then closed the public hearing.

I was hoping for a short Inspirational Moment tonight. The teacher took over 2½ minutes to introduce the two students with him, both rising seniors. 

Joyce Brooks was announced as the sole speaker during Public Participation. She was a no-show. The Board should develop a plan to confirm speakers who sign up online and determine whether they will be attending the meeting.

When Chair Agostini called for Item 9.1, NO Trustee spoke up. What is up with Board Members who are unwilling to speak up and make the motion called for? Finally, the Chair had to make the motion.

An option could have been, "Hearing no Motion, we'll move on to the next item, which is ___." But then there would have been no action on the Policy for "Retirement of Professional and Support Staff".

At 7:18PM the Board entered Executive Session 2 to finish what they did not complete in the first Executive Session. The last item in the first Executive Session was "Discussion of Superintendent Employment".

Since that was the most important item on the Executive Session agenda (IMHO), why didn't they schedule that one first? Or make sure they had sufficient time to "discuss" whatever they had to discuss?

7:38  Kim Moore was selected as Richland Two's next Superintendent.

Don't miss Monica Scott's comments! Scott said she was "giddy", and she was. Scott called Dr. Moore forward to speak, before she was even elected by the board.

The vote was 6-1 for her selection.

After Dr. Moore addressed the board and the community, Chair Agostini excused herself, turning the meeting over to Mrs. Gregory for the board elections.

Monica Scott and Joe Trapp were nominated for Chair. Monica said she wanted the members to write their names on their ballots! That was discussed and rejected. The vote was 3-3, and Monica stepped back. A hand vote was then taken, and the vote for Joe Trapp was 6-0. Joe Trapp is the next Board Chair.

Benjamin Henry, Ed.D., Argosy (2011)

For those who have been wondering where Finalist Benjamin Henry got his doctorate, the State of Florida has the answer.

According to the resume posted on Florida's Department of Education website, Benjamin Henry received his Education Doctorate from Argosy University* (Tampa, Fla.) in 2011. His dissertation topic was "Hopelessness and its Impact on Middle School Male Students".

His Master's degree is from University of Phoenix in 2004. 

The online resume appears to be somewhat out-of-date, because it doesn't list his last four years as Regional Superintendent of Polk County (Florida) Schools.

At tonight's school board meeting, we'll learn who Candidate X is. The District's website reads, for tonight's meeting, "Richland Two Board Meeting - Will Formally Announce New Superintendent".

I read that "Will" as Candidate X has accepted the position and agreed to terms of employment.

Now the question is, Who is Candidate X?

* Argosy University closed permanently on March 8, 2019.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Who is your pick?

Somewhat over 72 hours from now, Richland 2 may announce its new superintendent.

I say "may" because it really depends on whether they can strike a deal with their Number 1 pick, Candidate X, before the board meeting. We, John Q. Public, don't even know who is doing the negotiating for Richland 2. 

Is it up to the lawyers to handle negotiations? Let's hope not. Is one board member authorized to negotiate on behalf of the Board (District)? I didn't hear any discussion or vote about that. Does a 4-day negotiating period give the advantage to the candidate? The Board is under the gun to make a deal by 5:30PM Tuesday.

Who is your pick? I'd say, "Choose X. Y, or Z", but ... Should I ask "A, B, or C?" Or #1, #2, or #3? OK, in alphabetical order...

Nia Campbell?
Benjamin Henry?
Kim Moore?

I heard that the superintendent search firm presented six candidates to the board, out of the 39 applicants from 20 states.

Were there any South Carolina candidates? Were there any internal candidates?

Any questions about any of the finalists?

Friday, June 23, 2023

June 27 Board Agenda - marathon?

The agenda for the last board meeting of the school year (June 27, 2023) has been published, and it's a doozy.

5:30 Executive Session - SIX ITEMS
6:30 Public Hearing - Budget
Inspiration Moment - hope for a 2-minute "moment"
Consent Agenda
Public Participation 1
Voting on Executive Session items
New Business - Action Requested - FIVE ITEMS
New Business - Action No Requested - Two Items
Draft Agenda
Public Participation 2
Executive Session 2, if needed
Voting on Executive Session 2 items
Old Business - Action Requested - Re: Supt.
Board Officer Elections for 2023-2024
Board & Supt. Comments

WOW! Bring your X-Large cup of strong coffee and NoDoz. If that doesn't work, bring your pillow and blankie.

How about revising the agenda on Monday?
Pledge of Allegiance
Report on status of job offer to supt. candidate
Elect officers for next year
Go home at 7:30PM

You're worn out.
We're worn out.

Offer goes to Candidate X

And the winner is ........

Candidate X

At today's Special-Called Board Meeting the board voted to extend the position of superintendent to Candidate X.

The Special-Called Meeting started at 1:00PM and, after a hiccup in getting the Motion to enter executive session, the Board did so at 1:03PM. Trustee Niki Porter was absent from the meeting.

The Board returned at 3:55PM. 16 hearty souls were tuned in remotely.

After the Motion to re-convene, Chair Agostini (she must be exhausted) asked for a motion to adjourn. Oops. Then she asked for a motion for executive session.

Then Trustee Washington made a Motion to enter into contract negotiations with Candidate X. The motion was seconded by Trustee Scott.

SURPRISE! For those of us who sat around for three hours expecting to hear the name of the selected finalist, we were greatly disappointed.

The vote was 6-0-0-1  (Yea-Nay-Abstain-Not Present at Vote)

Trustee Nash moved to adjourn the June 22, 2023 special-called board meeting. She had to be corrected, because today is June 23.

To view the portion of the meeting after the executive session, go to and advance the timer bar to 2:59:04

Perhaps I'm the only one who mistakenly thought the board might announce its choice. Could the Chair or the interim superintendent have said earlier in the week, "So that there won't be any misunderstanding on Friday, the board will not announce the name of its choice on Friday. A contract offer will likely be extended, and the name will not be released until the offer is accepted and negotiations have been completed."

An Embarrassing Opening of 6/23 Board Meeting

Be sure to watch the opening of what may be the most important board meeting of the current school year. This Special-Called Board Meeting is the one where the board will likely vote on which of the three Finalists will get the offer of the superintendent's position.

Six trustees were present; Niki Porter was not. No roll call was taken. There was no explanation given for her absence. 

You'll notice right away that Angela Nash is seriously distracted by whatever is going on with her purse on the floor.

After the standard motion to adopt the agenda, Chair Agostini asked for a motion to go into executive session.

It was the Secretary's place to make the motion, but she was still distracted. Vice Chair Scott looked at Nash but didn't say anything to her. And what happened? 

Nothing. Nothing is what happened! Silence for ten seconds!

And Chair Agostini waited. And waited. Finally Trustee McFadden made the motion to go into executive session.

That was flat embarrassing. Kudos to Chair Agostini for waiting it out.

How long will they be in executive session?

Thursday, June 22, 2023

How exciting? Seven remote viewers!

Seven remote viewers were all ready for the Richland 2 school board to start its meeting on time at 7:00PM.

I was thinking today about the order of interviews. I guess there is no reason that the Board could not have announced the order of candidate interviews, but perhaps they had one.

If you were one of three finalists for the position, would you want to be first? second? last?

In the world of sales, a strong salesman would want to make his sales presentation last. He'd want to be closest to the decision time. If he made a real zinger of a presentation and had a strong product or service, he might just get the nod; i.e., the Yes. 

I always wanted to be last. But the risk is that the deck could be stacked, and a decision might get made before I got my time at bat.

I recall a time when I was first. I was in Denver and a regional stock brokerage firm advertised for a person who would train their stockbrokers to sell life insurance. The ad was in the newspaper on Sunday and looked legit. I called at 8:30AM on Monday and arranged a 1:00PM appointment with the VP.

I arrived at 12:45PM and he hadn't returned yet from lunch. When he did, he greeted me and motioned for me to follow him into his office. As he went through the doorway, he held his hand out and asked for my resume.

"I didn't bring one," I said.

He asked why not, and I told him that I didn't know if I wanted the job, adding, "In five minutes I'll know if I want the job and you'll know if you want to see a resume." Pretty bold, eh?

An hour and 45 minutes later, he looked at his watch and asked me to bring him a resume. 

I wrote him a five-page proposal on why he should hire me. I had all the information I needed to sell him on my being everything he was looking for.

I called him a few days later and learned that he liked what I had given him, so I asked him for the job. He told me he had promised his boss in Kansas City to interview for two weeks. I suggested he give me the job; that would solve both our needs. And then tell his boss in two weeks that he had found the perfect hire. He wouldn't do it.

Two months later I found out that his company had not approved hiring anyone and had not funded the position. They were just testing the waters to find out what was available.

Two years later I wrote to him and thanked him for not hiring me. I was sincere. I meant it. I had finally broken free of being an insurance salesman! That was 1987. Free at last!!!

Third Finalist Interview - tonight

The Richland 2 school board will conduct the third and last Finalist interview tonight in a special-called board meeting scheduled to start at 7:00PM.

Last night's meeting was another three-hour meeting.

Each board member should now know whether s/he prefers Finalist #1 or Finalist #2. If tonight's meeting is three hours in length, then at 10:00PM and after the meeting ends, each board member can begin to decide between Finalist #3 and their choice of #1 or #2.

At 1:00PM tomorrow (June 23) the board will "debrief", whatever that is supposed to mean. It's the wrong word, because the board will receive the input of the several stakeholders' groups that met with the finalists this week. Will the board members read or hear anything to change their minds?

The agenda for tomorrow's special-called meeting has already been published on the District's website.

Item 4 (in Public Session) is "Voting on Executive Session Items", and Item 4.1 is "Personnel Matter: Selection of New Superintendent". 

Board Members will be voting in public for the next superintendent. 

You've read their bios; right? Whom do you pick?

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

FOIA Violation repeated tonight

The same FOIA violation that occurred last night occurred at tonight's Special Called Board Meeting.

Trustee Nash moved that the Board go into Executive Session for the purpose of "an interview of a superintendent search finalist."

That's a good Motion, but it didn't agree with the written purpose that was stated in the Agenda for tonight's meeting, which was "Item 3.2 Personnel Matter Related to Superintendent Candidates".

The same problem will occur tomorrow night, when the board meets to interview the third finalist. The agenda for the June 22, 2023 Special Called Board Meeting has already been published, and it contains the same Item 3.2. And it's too late to amend the Agenda, because it has to be published 24 hours before the start of the meeting.

The Board now faces a dilemma. If a Board member makes a motion that follows the wording in the agenda, a FOIA violation will occur because the agenda wording is wrong. It's not specific, and it's not what the Board will be doing.

If a Board trustee makes a motion that is more correctly worded (and is different from the agenda), a violation occurs.

Doesn't the Board want to comply with South Carolina FOIA law? It's really not that hard.

Board to select Supt. on June 23

The Richland 2 school board is scheduled to select its new superintendent in a Special-Called Board Meeting on Friday, June 23. The meeting starts at 1:00PM in the boardroom at R2i2. The announcement of the Meeting on the District's website reads, "Special Called Board Meeting: Board Debriefs and Makes Decision Re: Superintendent Selection"

The board will, no doubt, quickly go into executive session, where they will discuss the three finalists.

Executive Session rules are that the board cannot make decisions in private, and it cannot even come to a consensus or agreement who will get the offer.

Watch the agenda for June 23, which must be published by 1:00PM on Thursday. It should show the board returning to Open Session and the next item should be the selection of the superintendent by vote in public session and a motion to offer the position to the person selected.

Is that how they will do it? Will the terms of the offer be disclosed? Will they disclose the selected finalist's name and the terms of the offer?

If they make the selection in private (in the Executive Session), should I have S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson on speed-dial?

Trustee Monica Scott has been in charge of the Superintendent Search Committee. Let's see what happens on Friday. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Special-Called Board Meeting - June 20, 2023 - FOIA Violation

The announcement on the Livestream page says the board meeting is supposed to start at 7:00PM. Okay, so where is the meeting?

The meeting was called to order at 7:02PM. After the approval of the agenda, Trustee Nash made a motion for the board to go into Executive Session for the purpose of "an interview with a superintendent search finalist."

BINGO! FOIA Violation

The Agenda reads at Item 3.2, "Personnel Matter related to Superintendent Candidates."

Yesterday I contacted the District and expressed my opinion that Item 3.2, as presented on the Agenda, was too general. State law requires the Purpose of an Executive Session to be specific enough for the public to know what will be discussed.

Interviewing a candidate is not a "Personnel Matter related to Superintendent Candidates." The wording used by Mrs. Nash was changed from the agenda description to something closer to what will actually happen. 

However, the agenda did not get changed. There was time to change it. The agenda had to be published by 7:00PM yesterday. So the Public, believing the published agenda, had every right to expect that to be the purpose of the Executive Session. 

Will the I.G. or the Attorney General find a problem? 

At what time did tonight's meeting actually start? Did the trustees gather for dinner? At what time did they gather? 5:30PM?

If so, THAT is when the Special-Called Board Meeting began. It began as soon as four trustees (under State law) gathered, even though the Board's "quorum" (for matters like firing a superintendent) reads five trustees to be present.

It's already too late to correct the agenda for tomorrow night's Special-Called Board Meeting. 

Will the District correct it before Thursday's Special-Called Board Meeting?

Monday, June 19, 2023

3 Special-Called Board Meetings? Yes or No?

Is the school board holding meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday?

Richland 2 homepage: "Finalist Interviews for Superintendent", June 20, 21, 22 "Special-Called Board Meeting", June 20, 21, 22

The official place for announcements of board meetings is on the District's website.

If it is not announced on the webpage, will only up-to-three board members attend each night, avoiding a quorum?

Are these interview sessions open to the public?

[Edited. Agendas have now been published for the June 20, 21, and 22 Special-Called Board Meetings, and the District's website will be updated for those dates. And, finalist interviews will be conducted in Executive Session.]

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Summit Parkway remembers Cyrus carried this piece on June 1st about Cyrus Carmack-Belton, a 14-year-old Summit Parkway Middle School student who was shot on May 28. The reporter "conveniently" omitted from the story that Cyrus was carrying a gun. This was apparently written by someone or some people at the School.

"Cyrus Carmack-Belton, a SIDI Magnet student, has been taken from us far too soon. A light in The Nest will be missed among the faculty and staff, as well as his peers. He was intelligent, humorous with quick wit and well-liked by his classmates. We could always depend on Cyrus to ask questions beyond the scope of the topic as he often would seek to understand, rather than accept and move on. He often had conversations with members of the faculty & staff about his dreams, goals and aspirations. He dreamed of owning a tattoo shop and being famous one day. We all poured into him daily and we were pleased to see the results of his hard work when he was promoted to high school. We remember his infectious smile and tenacity. We were blessed to have Cyrus a part of The Nest and pleased to see some of the seeds that were planted grow and blossom. He will be remembered forever in our hearts. Soar high young Eagle, soar high."

There is no doubt in my mind Cyrus was liked. But his possession of a gun - illegally - was a direct contribution to his death. How do we get students, teenagers, and others to realize that, when they engage in risky behavior, they may not get another chance?

The sheriff says that Cyrus "touched" a water bottle (or bottles) in the convenience store. "Touching" would be opening the cooler door, reaching in, and touching a bottle. Another story is that Cyrus removed four water bottles from a cooler and returned them, after he saw he was being watched. That's not "touching".

After a confrontation near the exit of the store, Cyrus left the store. Another story said he ran from the store.

The sheriff said a gun was found "near the body". Exactly where was the gun? "Near the body" implies some short distance from the body. Inches? feet? arms' length? 

Why hasn't the sheriff said what type of gun it was? Was it loaded? Exactly where it was found? Were Cyrus' DNA and fingerprints on it? Whose gun was it? How did Cyrus get it? Was it purchased by a family member or friend? Acquired by some other means?

Oh, I know. It's all part of an on-going investigation. Not really. 

Then read the story that is linked in that article. The headline is "Officials release more details on Cyrus Carmack-Belton case"

Only you won't read "more details" from "Officials". You'll read old news and a racially-inflammatory and untrue statement by the attorney for Cyrus' family. There is no statement from RCSD about racial-profiling or that Cyrus was "shot down in the street like a dog".

Credentials of Supt. finalists

Several readers have reacted to the academic credentials of the finalists for the position of superintendent of Richland 2. Comments have focused on Argosy University and Nova Southeastern University.

Finalist Nia Campbell holds two degrees from Argosy. Argosy shut down in 2019. See a Wikipedia article and this article from Inside Higher Ed.

Finalist Kim Moore has two degrees from Nova Southeastern University. One reader commented that that private school is quite popular with administrators at Richland 2 for advanced work. 

The bio of finalist Benjamin Henry does not mention the institution that awarded his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.

One or more of diversity, equity, inclusion, DEI are mentioned in the bios of each finalist.

How high on the criteria from Richland Two were those areas? How likely is the Board to hire a superintendent who believes in Fairness without running down the path of DEI?

Is the majority on the current board silently heading into Woke?

If so, they are NOT preparing today's students to succeed in life. Graduates must be able to read, write, add, understand, comprehend, do homework and learn from it, and they should be learning facts about the history of the U.S.A. without bias or indoctrination. They aren't going to get it from DEI.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

If I were Superintendent of Richland 2,

If I were the Superintendent of Richland 2, 

- I would tell the board to stay in the boardroom and out of my office. Give me their directions at board meetings.

- I would take matters to the board for decisions, not endless discussions.

- I would treat employees fairly and set clear expectations for those who report to me;

- I would tell my Administrators to be clear with their subordinates, set clear expectations, and hold subordinates accountable; and duplicate that down the line;

- I would tell Administrators that their work and work of teachers is to be limited to what they can accomplish during normal working hours; their free time and that of the teachers is not to be intruded upon!

- I would tell board members to stay out of the schools, unless they are there as a parent of their enrolled child. Their job is directing the District, not meddling in the schools.

- I would tell board members that employees work for me, not for them. Stay away from them. If employees whine to board members, re-direct them to their superiors;

- I would tell all employees that I expect to hear about problems fast - through the chain-of-command. Only contact me if their complaint is not resolved. 

- I won't read anonymous complaints. There will no retribution or retaliation for complaints with merit.

- Students are expected to conduct themselves with good manners and respect for others. The principals will have paddles on their walls. Don't find out what they are for!

- Teachers are not babysitters. They are not to be threatened, cussed out, disrespected. 

- We are going to turn out students who will be productive citizens, capable of earning a living and staying out of jail. 

- The Student Handbook will be reduced to one page. Students won't have to spend nights and week-ends reading it.

- Make school and life fun!

- If you don't like the way I run things, fire me.

Three Finalists - now what?

Richland 2 has announced three finalists for the superintendent's job. Go to the District's website for information about them. Now what?

The stamina of the finalists will be tested on June 20-21-22, when each comes to the District for meetings with the Stakeholder groups and the Board. 

District visits are two-way streets. The District looks at them. They look at the District.

Will any of the three want the job? Presumably, they know the basics of the compensation package, or they wouldn't even come. They know of the dysfunction on the current board. They will have studied and analyzed online board meetings.

After reading the prominent placement of DEI in each description, I wondered, "What did the Board really give McPherson & Jacobson as criteria in a candidate?"

The board chose three finalists out of 39 candidates. Diversity vanished in the selection. Inclusion vanished. The three look like nice people; in fact, they look like the majority of the students. That will please many. 

The candidates' descriptions say where they've been, not where they are going. Only one mentioned a distinction awarded to a school of which he was Principal. Details are general. Where is any expression of conservative values and leadership in citizenship?

Had the Board started its search in February, would it have a finalist with real experience as a superintendent leading a sizable district?

The Board expects to offer the position on June 23, a Friday. The offer letter must already be drafted and awaiting a name and address. It will be emailed late Friday. When will negotiations occur and with whom (at a Richland 2)? Saturday? Sunday? Monday? Last-minute on Tuesday? What if the #1 pick withdraws?

The Board expects to announce the name of the superintendent on Tuesday, June 27, and expects him or her to start on July 3. Will it happen?

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Three Finalists Announced

Richland Two has announced three finalists for the position of Superintendent.

Read all about it on the District's website. Or click here.

I.G. Committee should finish its work

At the June 13, 2023 school board meeting a trustee asked about the I.G. Recommendations Committee meetings and when the next meeting would be.

I think it was Niki Porter, member of the I.G. Recommendations Committee, who said it would be after the new superintendent starts.

When were the past meetings? Jan.18, Feb. 21, Mar. 21. None in April. None in May. None in June.

On May 19 the committee published a summary of actions completed by the District and claims 70% of the I.G. recommendations have been completed.

Now, what's the deal about waiting for the new superintendent? The I.G.'s Report came out in October 2022 and was based on the District then and the old board.

Why not finish cleaning up the mess, and let the superintendent start with a clean slate? Why burden the new superintendent with straightening out something of which he'll have no knowledge?

Passing the buck is a cop-out. The District, the board, and the committee have had seven months. As with most projects, the final part can be the most difficult. 

So complete it!

[Edited 6/14/2023]

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

This must stop!!!

Tonight's Public Participation was "interesting". 

The first speaker, Irina Stevens, blasted the District for its gender-ideology practices. She begins at 1:11:50 on the Livestream recording,

Ms. Stevens, at 1:13:30, had just said, "Will Anderson diligently replied to ...", when Trustee Niki Porter interrupted her with "Point of Order".

Instead of waiting to be recognized by the Chair, Porter continued, "Our speakers are not supposed to name individuals that [sic] work in Richland Two..." (This is often the habit of Trustee Porter - to begin speaking without being recognized. She has resisted waiting to be recognized since the beginning of her term.)

Chair Agostini asked Ms. Stevens to refer to Anderson as the COO, eliciting a "I apologize" from the speaker.

No apology by the speaker was warranted, because the Point-of-Order was wrong.

Speakers are not to express complaints about people associated with the District. That is how the Board Policy BEDH reads. And Ms. Stevens had not.

Robert's Rules of Order addresses Point-of-Order. Porter should have waited to be recognized. After the Chair recognized her, then she could proceed to state her objection. The correct response from the Chair should have been to recite the applicable portion of Board Policy BEDH, explain that the speaker had not violated the BEDH, over-rule the Point-of-Order, apologize to the speaker, and invite her to continue with no penalty on time for the interruption.

I was the next speaker (starting at 1:15:37). I had prepared a request to the Board to ask the superintendent to direct staff to follow procedures laid out in Board Policies and Administrative Rules, without arbitrarily and unilaterally expanding them.

However, I was reactive to the first 12 minutes of tonight's meeting at its 5:30PM beginning.

Chair Agostini had wanted to remove discussion of Board Policy BC - Board Conduct from the Agenda and place it on a workshop agenda in August. The claws (of other board members) came out. The Chair was voted down 1-6.

I pointed out that problems with Board Conduct can be solved with "being civil, being respectful, and being polite." I asked the board members to listen to the beginning of the meeting and to listen to themselves.

The last speaker was Katie Gage. She had signed up online to speak but her name didn't make it to the list. She begins at 1:22:22. She ripped the District for the Pride event at Blythewood High School. She labeled the Pride event and sexual-identity politics as "ideological grooming". She is an eloquent and patriotic speaker.

Later in the meeting "board conduct" became an issue, when Board Policy BC - Board Conduct was discussed. Porter explained (1:34:58) why certain items were added to the proposed revision, directing her remarks toward the Chair, and saying " that you understand why we put these statements in place..." Why did she feel it necessary to make pointed statements toward the Chair?

Trustee and Vice-Chair Scott was worried about someone feeling "uncomfortable." Board Members, grow up! If you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen! 

That whole discussion about BC was the exact reason it should have been handled in a workshop and not in a board meeting!

Monday, June 12, 2023

Read about CCSD's supt. search

Read the Post and Courier's article about the superintendent search by Charleston County School District that ended with just one candidate.

Here's the story

You'll be able to read it, even if you aren't a P&C subscriber.

What will the story be about Richland Two's search?

Look at this schedule of Board Meetings!

This is the schedule of Richland 2 board meetings that are posted on the District's website today.

June 12 4:30pm Special-Called Board Meeting
June 13 6:30pm* Regular Board Meeting
June 20 7:00pm Special-Called Board Meeting
June 21 7:00pm Special-Called Board Meeting
June 22 7:00pm Special-Called Board Meeting
June 23 1:00pm Special-Called Board Meeting

* 6:30pm is the expected time for the Board to re-convene after the Executive Session

June 20-22 Finalist interviews with Board and Stakeholder Groups.

June 23 Scheduled date for Board to offer superintendent position

June 27 __?_pm Regular Board Meeting. Last Board meeting of School Year 2022-2023. Election of officers for SY 2023-2024. Announcement of new superintendent.

Will June 27th be a short meeting? Elect new officers. Thank out-going officers. Announce the new superintendent. Go home. One hour?

July 3 Start date for new superintendent.

Will the Board have exhausted its number of paid meetings by June 30th? Board Policy BID provides that board members "will not be paid for more than 30 board meetings in any one calendar year".

The calendar year ends December 31, 2023. Does this mean the Board will work without compensation from July 1 to December 31?

Or will the Board revise Policy BID? Can they change their own compensation while in office? Is there a state law that prohibits that?

Can they meet the Timeline? or not?

On the superintendent-search Timeline for today is 
1) Presentation of Candidates to the Board of Education; and
2) Board of Education Determines Finalists.

I guess no one told McPherson & Jacobson that Richland 2 does not have a "Board of Education". 

Aside from that, how will the School Board "determine" Finalists today? Does that have to be done in open session?

Interviews with finalists will be June 20-22. Finalists are apparently expected to be interviewed by the stakeholders' groups. In the stakeholder input report, the following groups are mentioned:  "administrators, business and community leaders, classified staff, community members, parents, students and teachers". Oh, yes, and by the Board members (I hope).

If I were a candidate, I'd say, "You guys must be nuts to think I am going to be interviewed by six stakeholder groups!"

Who pays the expenses for candidates to come for interviews (last-minute flights; hotels; ground transportation; meals)? Is that part of the search fee paid to McPherson & Jacobson? Or does Richland 2 foot the bill?

The timeline provides for the decision to be made by the Board on June 23.

And for the Board to announce the new Superintendent on June 27. And for him/her (assuming the Board will select a male or female) to start on July 3.

Where is the time allowed for negotiation of salary, benefits, etc.? Where is the time allowed to consider the offer?

If the person selected is employed, where is the time for him or her to give a responsible amount of time for the notice of resignation?

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Finding Old News

Have you ever tried to find old "news" that you read on the District's website?

I received this helpful information from a reader. Many thanks.

"You have written previously about information being removed from the RSD2 homepage.  If you click on 'View All News', you will find the (Stakeholder Input) survey as well as all of the news articles that have ever appeared on the homepage. Obviously ALL news can not remain on the homepage, but it is not deleted!"

The reader added,

"I can not imagine someone being able to start as the new superintendent on July 3rd, unless they are currently employed by RSD2.  It will be interesting!"

Friday, June 9, 2023

Scholarships truth?

Did you read the banner on the District's homepage?


Did they "earn" them or were they offered them?

I suspect that number of $168¾  million is the total that was offered. What is the purpose of that number?

This number works out to an average of $84,505 per graduate.

How about reporting the amount of scholarship money that was accepted by the 1997 graduates?

Schools like to publish numbers like these, even if they don't make any sense.

Remember the news about the high school graduate who received total scholarship offers of more than $9,000,000? Dennis Barnes of Louisiana, whose GPA was 4.98, was offered aid from 125 colleges and universities. There is a young man who is serious about education.

But why would someone even apply to 125 colleges and universities?

Stakeholder Report - where to find it now

The District has moved the Stakeholder Input Report off its homepage, and one parent has told me that it is now very hard to find. (To search on the District's website, first click on EXPLORE (top right); then enter a keyword in the Search field.)

For your convenience the Stakeholder Input Report, prepared by the superintendent-search firm of McPherson & Jacobson, can be found by clicking here. (For those who don't like to click on blind links, you'll find the survey at

This report contains what McPherson & Jacobson heard in May from six groups: Business & Community Leaders; Classified Staff; Community Meetings; Parents; Students; and Teachers.

Read for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

The Clock Is Ticking

The next Superintendent for Richland Two is supposed to start on July 3, 2023, according to the search timeline. Today is June 8th. That's 3½ weeks from now.

Is anyone getting nervous yet?

The Board hasn't even received the list of candidates yet!

On Monday, June 12th, the search firm is supposed to present its list of candidates, and the Board is supposed to select the finalists. Somebody, explain that to me! How will this board possibly choose a number of finalists from the candidates in one session on June 12. Seriously?

The Search Timeline can be viewed here.

June 20-22. Interviews with the Board and with "Stakeholder Groups". Stakeholder groups? Who? Why? Who came up with that idea???

On June 23 the Board is to select the finalist and offer the job. Tell me, how will they possibly do that? Will they care at all about feedback from the Stakeholder Groups?

The timeline says the Board will announce the new Superintendent on June 27, the last board meeting of the School Year. That means that the selected candidate will be expected to make an immediate decision. What about time to negotiate the terms of his/her contract?

And s/he (dare I say "it"; will the board go for a non-binary (breathing person?)) is expected to start on July 3rd. 

I ask again, Is anyone getting nervous yet?

Board Policy BC - Conduct - 6/13/23 Agenda

On the agenda for the June 13, 2023 board meeting is Item 9.1 - Board Member Conduct.

Why in the world is this school board wasting valuable time on that? Aren't they grown-ups? Can't they be polite and professional and speak nicely to one another? I guess not. But just having a revised Policy won't do much to improve relations between the board members.

First, read the current Board Policy BC. Go to the District's website; then click on EXPLORE; then School Board; then BOARD POLICIES; then (on the left side) B - SCHOOL BOARD GOVERNANCE AND OPERATIONS; then Policy BD Board Member Conduct. Read the existing policy.

Then read the proposed revisions to BC. This link will take you directly to it. Or click on the attachment with the June 13th agenda. The underlined words/sentences are what is proposed to be added!

The I.G. may have expressed some concerns in his Report. However, this revision is over-kill. The board ought to be making things simpler, not more complicated. First, I wonder who wrote it? Did it come from Deputy Supt. Franklin or from Karla Hawkins, the Legal person on Richland 2's staff? Where did she get her guidance? How much time went into the draft of the proposed revision?

And why now? There is nothing more important right now than hiring a new superintendent - which leads me to my next blogpost.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Lawsuit against Richland 2 by stabbing victim

On April 28, 2023 the Post and Courier newspaper reported that on the previous day, April 27, attorney John Mobley had filed a lawsuit against Richland School District Two for failing to provide safe spaces for students.

The lawsuit pertains to a stabbing of a 16-year-old Ridge View High School student on April 25th. The article says that Abrams assaulted the same victim with brass knuckles on the previous day (April 24) and stole jewelry from the victim.

Did the victim report that assault and theft? Why was Abrams in school on the following day, April 25?

The parents of the victim are also suing the mother of Tony Abrams, who is accused of stabbing the un-named victim.

An interesting fact is that the lawsuit against Richland 2 cannot be found * on the Public Index of the Richland County Fifth Judicial District. 

The Court Clerk can find no record of the lawsuit, and Attorney Mobley did not respond to an email last month, requesting the Case Number.

It is unclear if these are separate lawsuits. 

* [Edited: Case No. 2023CP4002181 was filed by Attorney Mobley against Richland County School District Two. No wonder the Court personnel could not find it!]

Superintendent Selection - Status?

The superintendent-search firm, based in Omaha, should now be sorting through the applicants and preparing its recommendations to the Richland 2 board. Actually, they should have been sorting through the applications and ranking them as they came in?

The closing date for applications was May 31. On June 12th McPherson & Jacobson is to present its candidates and the board is to select Finalists.

So here is something I am not understanding. It takes "Mac & Jake" from June 1-11 to pick through the applications, and the Board is supposed to pick Finalists in one meeting (June 12)?

Finalist interviews are to be held June 20-22.

Board will choose to whom to offer the position on June 23.

Board will announce the new Superintendent on June 27. Will this mean they will offer the position only to someone who is unemployed? 

What could possibly go wrong with this Timeline? (See the full timeline on

Where is the adequate period of time for negotiating the deal with the new candidate?

What if the #1 candidate delays or doesn't accept?

Why did the Board lose three months (February, March, April)? Why didn't it start immediately on January 18th? (Too late for that answer!)

Monday, June 5, 2023

Notice the difference?

(This blogpost was written Saturday morning, but publication was delayed until Monday.)

Last week the attorney representing the family of Cyrus Carmack-Belton issued a press release. The attorney is Todd Rutherford, attorney in private practice in Columbia and South Carolina State Representative. One of the local TV stations carried it on its website.

"When Cyrus Carmack-Belton’s mother sent this picture to me I had to do a double take because he looked so much like my middle son,” Rutherford said. “What happened to him wasn’t an accident: it’s something that the Black community has experienced for generations: being racially profiled, then shot down in the street like a dog. Words can’t describe the pain I feel having known this family for decades. One beacon of hope is seeing the resilience of the Black community as they wrap their arms around this family that has joined the club that no Black family ever wants to be a part of. As our firm moves forward with this case, we are working to ensure that justice prevails and work towards building a safer community for all residents of Columbia and the greater South Carolina area, regardless of race. This is why I can’t help but fight to ensure history isn’t whitewashed or forgotten. This isn’t an anomaly, but I know America can be better. And that is what we’re fighting for. Because no family should have to deal with this in 2023."

"this picture" accompanied the release.

The first thing I noticed about this picture was "RUTHERFORD LAW". My immediate thought was, "When was such a current picture of Cyrus taken at Rutherford's office?"

I noticed the institutional tile wall behind Cyrus, and I wondered whether that photo had been taken at a school.

Was it photo-shopped?

The second thing I noticed was my strong negative reaction to Rutherford's assertion that Cyrus had been "racially-profiled". I had never read any such claim in articles or words of the sheriff. So why would Rutherford write that? Is it just his own "stuff" about a black boy's being suspected of (attempted) shoplifting?

And the third thing, worse than the second and even the first, was Rutherford's claim that Cyrus had been "shot down in the street like a dog." That isn't just "lawyer-talk". That's the talk that results in more protests, rioting, street crime, property destruction, vandalism, graffiti.

Then on Friday of last week I learned of the GoFundMe account that lists Todd Rutherford as the Organizer.  And there was a very similar (identical?) photo of Cyrus, but without "RUTHERFORD LAW".

I re-read Rutherford's opening sentence, "When Cyrus Carmack-Belton’s mother sent this picture to me ..."

Was the photo that Rutherford used really the picture that Cyrus' mother had sent to him? Was it deceitful and dishonest of him to add RUTHERFORD LAW to the photo?

So, what you think of Rutherford's comments and the difference in Cyrus' pictures?

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Summit Parkway M.S. website

This morning turned out to be a good time to check the website for the Summit Parkway Middle School. Teachers and staff have been in the news this week.

So, what did I find on the school's website?

SUMMIT UP NEWS - where Eagles soar

The page is 18 months out-of-date!

to stay safe and be successful, 

     - wear face mask while on campus

Upcoming Events

     - these are December 2021 events

EARLY DISSMISAL........  Seriously? Somebody needs to go back to school and repeat Third Grade.

(I was reminded of a temporary sign on the front lawn of a high school in Illinois back in about 2012: "KNOLWEDGE IS POWER")

APM Food Truck Festival - Saturday, December 11. That was in 2021.

Maybe the person managing the SUMMIT UP NEWS went home sick and never came back.

Friday, June 2, 2023

LGBT Pride Month - Why???

This is one of Dennis Prager's best Fireside Chats. Just 30 minutes; it seemed a lot shorter.

What's the difference between tolerating and celebrating pride?

Why did Dennis study Russian and read Pravda?

Why did I study Russian and not read Pravda?

I'm so glad school is already out, so that students won't have LGBT (etc.) Pride stuffed down their throats.

I'm about to buy this t-shirt. Will it trigger The Left and Liberal people who see it?