Tuesday, May 22, 2018

With School Board Pay Veto, CCSD Gets What It Pays For


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Want school board trustees moved by noblesse oblige

You got 'em.

Want trustees too busy making a decent living to spend time on school board matters? 

You got them, too. 

Evidently, the State of South Carolina has its own Catch-22. When trustees of the Charleston County School Board voted to raise their pay, they were informed that action was illegal.

Now the Governor says that the state legislature's voting to allow pay raises for school boards is also illegal and has vetoed the bill that would allow Charleston school board pay hike.

You can't make this stuff up.

"Charleston County School Board members currently make a $25 stipend per meeting plus gas mileage, making the board one of the lowest-paid among large school districts in South Carolina. The rate is set in the 1967 Act of School Consolidation, a state law that combined numerous small districts to create the Charleston County School District."

"State Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms, said he intends to challenge the veto, which would take a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate to override. 'We have special authority constitutionally to legislate in this area because of the constitutional provision that the General Assembly must provide for and fund public education,' Campsen said."

"Proponents of the pay raise have argued that it would allow a broader range of people to serve on the board."

No joke.

Monday, May 21, 2018

CCSD Kicks Sanders-Clyde Principal Off the Horse


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Appalling, what the Charleston County School District does to principals brave enough to take on the perennial challenge of Sanders-Clyde School. Despite stories to the contrary (supposedly Principal Roshon Bradley quit because of his ailing mother), what really happened is that once again CCSD refused stability to the failing school. 

Now, Dunston Principal Janice Malone gets her 15 minutes of fame, or as S-C principal. The district needs to get off the merry-go-round. If it can't give a principal more than a year to turn the school around, hand it over to the experts

No, not those turkeys at the Taj Mahal--to Meeting Street Schools--and provide the necessary funding!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Mick Zais Confirmation Another Partisan Disgrace


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We can hope that Republicans will treat nominees of the next Democrat President in the same manner. "The 50-48 vote ended a months-long wait."

Zais has incurred the ire of "teacher groups" and SC Board of Education minions. Horrors!

Yet even Lindsay Graham approved.

"Supporters of the former [South Carolina] schools chief expressed optimism when he was nominated that he would be able to push conservative policies on the national level with more like-minded allies in DeVos' department."

No more "same old same old" is what voters wanted in the last Presidential election. 

With Zais, they've got it.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

CCSD Gives Prestige a Chance to Get Its Act Together


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Given the years allotted to previous failing charter schools, the Charleston County School District Board of Trustees made the right decision in giving Prestige Prep Academy another year to mend its problems. The all-male school serves a portion of CCSD's students whose overall achievement has remained grim despite gains in other areas. The school is completing its second year of operation.

Conditions imposed on the school include "a revised budget by May 1, and an academic plan for each student as well as a plan to increase enrollment to 85 students by June 30."

"Prestige Prep officials acknowledged that the school had a difficult first year in 2016-17, including near-total staff turnover and an enrollment drop-off that hurt the school financially due to the per-pupil funding formula for charter schools. They also presented a plan for fixing their problems."

"The school's staff members have agreed to a reduction in pay to help balance the budget, according to Executive Director Joyce Coleman. The school is talking with Word of Life Ministries about using part of the church's North Charleston campus as a facility at a reduced rental rate. Board member Willi Glee is spearheading a fundraising effort, and the school is posting flyers and recruiting students for next school year."

"When you look at where we are in the district as it pertains to serving students just like they're serving, we have not historically served that subgroup well," board member Michael Miller said.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

CCSD Offers Carrot and Crickets to Math Teachers


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English teachers may need to worry about unemployment, and yes, even art teachers, but math teachers know that if they leave teaching, plenty of higher-paying jobs await them. As districts compete for a dwindling supply of teachers overall, math teachers are feeling the effects of the free market. Now Charleston County Schools offer them a $9,000 signing bonus. 

The question is, once lured to CCSD, will they stay? After all, they're free agents. 

"For math teaching positions at 16 high-poverty schools in Charleston County, the district now offers a base starting salary of $45,000 — about $9,000 more than the starting rate for other teachers in the district. . . . The new pay scale, approved by the Charleston County School Board March 12, applies to new and current math teachers alike, and district leaders hope the money will help retain quality math teachers in schools that have historically faced near constant teacher turnover."

CCSD lost almost half of its math teachers in the last two years.

Golly. It's hard to believe that's due to low salaries alone. In fact, it's not.

"As teachers leave the profession, citing low pay, lack of support and back-breaking assessment loads, in-state teacher colleges are not keeping up with demand."

So how will CCSD change its ways in order to keep these teachers in the district? 

Crickets.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Fixing CCSD's Sanders-Clyde Begins with Stability


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Who is going to stand up and take responsibility for the revolving-door principals at Sanders-Clyde in the past few years? 

Who will admit that merely announcing a partial-magnet program to entice parents whose children go elsewhere to transfer to the school was a stupid idea? 

What white family would pretend that Jonathan Green's mural at the school contains a single white child? 

Does the P & C's reporter even know of the scandal of false test scores that several years ago should have sent its acclaimed principal to jail instead of another state?

Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.

We grieve for the parents and children at Sanders-Clyde who have had their hopes raised again and again. 

"But a new principal with a new vision says he's made strides in his first year — and some members of the Sanders-Clyde community believe he can right the ship, if he's able to stay. And if he stays and succeeds, his example could help similar schools thrive."

"Roshon Bradley, Sanders-Clyde's fifth principal in seven years, knew the odds before he took the job in the spring of 2017. He previously worked for almost 16 years in the schools of Rochester, N.Y., a place with similar levels of poverty to Sanders-Clyde's attendance zone."

No one can turn around a failing school in one year or even two. Such endemic problems do not disappear overnight. CCSD has a choice: either it keeps Bradley on for at least two more years, or it turns over the whole school to an outside entity such as Meeting Street Schools.

It's that simple. 

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

CCSD School Board Pay About Time and Money


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Maybe now some middle-class folks can serve on school boards.

"Members of the Charleston County School Board could soon make $9,600 a year under a bill that recently passed a key vote in the South Carolina House of Representatives."

"This year's Senate bill was introduced by a bipartisan group of Charleston lawmakers. The pay increase would not be automatically guaranteed to reach that amount but the school board members would decide how high it should go toward that ceiling."

Taxpayers should keep in mind that school boards oversee one of the largest employers in the entire county with a budget in the millions. Doing a proper job of oversight requires many hours on the job. These positions should not be considered stepping stones to higher office but needed oversight of a bloated bureaucracy.

Now, if we could just get the legislature to allow single-member districts and partisan races, we'd be "cooking with gas."