Monday, August 21, 2023

Do school board members like 4-hour meetings?

The last school board meeting (8/8/2023) was over four hours long, including the executive session that lasted over an hour. The video on starts at 01:55

There was a sound problem until 03:47, when words can first be heard. When the sound begins, it seems that Trustee Scott was questioning an agenda item for a program that had not existed for several years. Trustee Agostini questioned another agenda item. Then Trustee Agostini made a motion to remove two items from the agenda. 

The Motion failed (3-4). Agostini, Porter, and Scott were in favor. Trapp, Nash, Washington, and McFadden voted against.

Then somebody spoke without being recognized and said she wanted Item 10.1 removed, because "that program" (f the SCSBA) is no longer operating. What she should have done was make a motion. That's how you get business done. Trapp and Scott made comments. There should have been a motion! Everything that was said, should have been said after a Motion and Second.

Finally Trustee Porter made the Motion to remove Item 10.1. The vote was 6-1. Nash voted No. The Motion passed.

How many more months will it take for Trustees to learn to ask for recognition and not just starting talking?

Do the trustees really like having four-hour meetings? By now, nine months after being elected, trustees should know how to conduct business.

The problem is there are not enough executives on the board, and there is no Parliamentarian.

A Motion was made to approve the Agenda without Item 10.2 The vote was 6-1; Agostini voted No. Motion passed.

Finally they got to the Motion to enter Executive Session, which was approved 7-0. At 17:12 the board left for Executive Session. What should have taken 2-3 minutes took 15 minutes!

Later in the meeting, during the discussion of the Release Time for Religious Instruction, again the desperate need for a Parliamentarian arose, when many comments by trustees were not germane to the issue being discussed. 

Clarification on Liability

At the August 8, 2023 school board meeting, there was a robust discussion of the Religious Instruction item on the agenda. You can watch that on, beginning at 3:06:05

Late in the discussion, Trustee Scott mentioned liability.

At 3:35:34 Supt. Moore responded to Trustee Scott and said "... the school district is not liable". She said the District is not liable for vehicle insurance or vetting people associated with the religious instruction program. "We have zero liability..."

"Once that student has signed out (for the day's religious instruction), we are no longer liable for what takes place for that student..."

That is not what the statute says. 

Mrs. Gregory read the statute earlier in the meeting. The statute (S.C. Code of Laws 59-1-460 (A)) reads, in part, "4. the sponsoring entity makes provisions for and assumes liability for the student that [sic] is excused."

The statute does not say that the District will not have any liability.

'"Wall" at school board meetings

What is the purpose of the "wall" at school board meetings?

At the August 8, 2023, three large tables were placed in front of the four board members' desks. Sure, they were covered with nice, white tablecloths.

But why were they even there?

Were they there to "protect" the board members from the public?

Were they were to protect the public from the board members?

If they were there for protection, they are useless. Anyone can see why.