Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Oops, We Forgot! CCSD Address Verification Scandal

Address verification "fell between the tracks" during the transition from Goodloe-Johnson to McGinley, did it? Weren't we told one of the benefits of hiring McGinley was a seamless transition? Guess the seams leaked a little. An article on such printed in the P & C revealed that "District officials said they investigated the allegations [of false addresses used in the Buist lottery process] and didn't find any problems."

That means the district considered the following list of discrepancies for eight students in the 2006-07 kindergarten class provided to it by District 20 proponents in 2006:

  1. Used 83 Hester Street to enter the school. The house has been for sale and is now under contract.
  2. Used 22B Mary Street to enter the school, but parents claim 4% (primary residence for tax purposes) on Sullivan’s Island. Family never lived on Mary Street.
  3. Used 40 Bee Street #205 to enter the school, but parents claim 4% for a home on Johns Island. They own and rent out the Bee Street condo.
  4. Used 28A Addlestone Avenue to enter the school, but parents claim 4% on Folly Beach. The family never lived at this address.
  5. Used 33 Calhoun St Unit 236 to enter the school, but parents claim 4% in Mt Pleasant. Parents own this condo but do not claim at as a primary residence.
  6. Used 70A Church Street to enter the school, but lives with mother in Mt Pleasant. Father lives out of state.
  7. Used condo at 32 Vendue Range #300 to enter the school, but parents claim 4% residency on James Island.
  8. Lives in South Windermere according to records.
According to Courrege, "The address inconsistencies were never explained publicly." Or privately either, it seems.

These 8 (out of 40 members of the entering class) will be allowed to continue in the sham process instituted by CCSD and promulgated by Buist Principal Sallie Ballard. This list doesn't even include further class members who claim to be eligible on the failing schools list but whose addresses prove they are not!

Funny how when the seams leak, one verifiable item of major concern to residents of District 20 gets dropped, even though administrators in at least two other constituent districts have stated that additional verification would not be burdensome. These complaints, reported on the national TV news last year, were essentially brushed off by Goodloe-Johnson. Can we assume that McGinley will ignore new ones for the Class of 2007-08? Does anyone believe that all addresses used for THAT class will be kosher?

McGinley states the oh-so-very-complicated verification process will be phased in with magnet schools including Buist. She said it. Let's hold her to it.
The cloud of suspicion that hangs over Buist needs to be cleared up NOW; otherwise, McGinley's "street cred" will evaporate.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!
Finally someone who isn't afraid to print the truth!

Anonymous said...

I know who used 28 A Addlestone to enter Buist...It was George Kefalos, wasn't it?
That man and his wife own so much property throughout this town, it's not even funny.
What is he doing using his ex-wife's rental property to get his kid into Buist? Silly me...he's an attorney...he's ABOVE the law. Driving by his wife's beautiful gallery on the corner of State and Broad will never be the same...

Anonymous said...

You missed the Walters family who has their rental property on Coming Street...or better yet, how about the families who live on Menotti St. directly NEXT to the damn school??? They weren't in last year's class...Those parents have enjoyed years of free private education at the expense of Dist. 20 kids.

Anonymous said...

What about the single mom whose daughter has been on the waiting list as #9 for years? Her child tested very well, but fell further behind at Memminger with none of the extras that Buist provided over and above for its students every year. As other parents cheated to get into Buist by giving downtown addresses they didn't have, this non-management level public safety employee of the city believed the system was fair. She couldn't lie without compromising her integrity. As a poor excuse for not aggressively seeking out Dist. 20 minority applicants for Buist like this one, Sallie Ballard says she doesn't want to "take away" from downtown schools the kids who "test well", because it will hurt those school principal's report cards. What the hell? What about the kids who want to have a chance at doing well on a Buist report card? Well, Memminger Elem. School will loose this kid anyway and so will CCSD (and the state and federal dollars that she entitled the district to receive as long as she was trapped by the system). The mom got tired of waiting for Buist to be fair and a private school offered her highly qualified and academically motivated child a scholarship. It was offered and they accepted it. This concerned mom and this "well tested" child will finally leave the plantation and reach her full potential, or at least higher than CCSD would allow her to reach. She's free, free at last, but not without the associated costs of years left waiting. No thanks to Sallie who wanted only those she thought would fit in, or Janet who runs the numbers any way you want 'em or Maria who couldn't have cared less because its all about the school report cards. Just so we don't forget. It's not just downtown whites who are being kept out of Buist by the address cheats. Downtown residents, regardless of race, are being equally discriminated against by CCSD. Will this ever end?

Anonymous said...

Goodloe-Johnson tried to distance herself from responsibility by saying Sallie Ballard and Earl Choice would "investigate" the "alleged" fake addresses and "recommend" their "findings", as if Goodloe-Johnson was totally "dependent" on the competence of others. How convenient!

Anonymous said...

Dist. 20's Associate Supperintendent, Choice often doesn't know what teacher vacancies exist at Burke, much less, differences between two downtown side streets like Strawberry vs Shaftsbury Lanes. He's unaware that Sunnyside Dr and Lowndes Point, both north of Mt. Pleasant St., are in N.Chas. Dist. 4, not Dist. 20. Last year's Buist kindergarten parents who moved there last summer knew it as they took pains to imply they still lived in a house they had already sold on President St. If the P&C won't name them, I will, along with the two families that claimed fake addresses on New St.

Anonymous said...

Of the 40 kindergarteners, the number of fakers last year was actually far more than eight. Goodloe-Johnson didn't require that addresses be check for accuracy when claiming assignment to low performing schools. What about those who gained admission on earlier fake addresses claiming downtown and/or low performing schools whose sibling were suddenly given access on that list? Are those languishing on various Buist waiting lists aware that as schools are annually added or removed as low performing their positions on (or even not on) those lists remain unchanged? Was it fair to the those sitting patiently for seven years on the county-wide list as #109 (or higher) to not tell them that there were 12 vacancies in the seventh and eighth grades at Buist last year? Will Dr. McGinley show us that she can spell i-n-t-e-g-r-i-t-y?

Anonymous said...

If anything is Byzantine, Mr. Meyers, it's the management of the Buist admissions process which has long been subject to your micro-management. It's not the existance of eight constituent boards that stands in the way of good schools. They were effectively rendered moot long ago. If Dist. 20's board hadn't led the charge on behalf of their constituents to uncover so many inequities and policy discrepancies long tolerated by the CCSD board, life would certainly have been a lot easier for those who have gamed the system with your approval. Yes, the constituent boards are a pain in the neck for those who continue to cheat kids and taxpayers all over Charleston County. Too bad for all those who you have cheated that they can't be more than just a pain in the neck for those who continue to cover for the cheaters.

taxpayer said...

There's another 2006-07 kindergarten family that faked their downtown address. Sallie Ballard has no excuse for believing the Hill's lived on Bee Street when they really have lived for years on Headquarters Island. Earl Choice wasn't going to cross his bosses by saying anything. And Goodloe-Johnson just held everyone in contempt by not giving a damn. Sallie Ballard really calls the shots on who gets into Buist and who doesn't. It all has very little to do with honesty or academic performance. Private schools have more transparency and consistancy in their admissions process than Buist.

HB Stowe said...

Earl Choice is an Uncle Tom. He has the same concern for the kids at Fraser and Charleston Progressive as he has for those who have been cheated in the Buist lotteries. None! He's only concerned about his job. It's all about status. He still can't get over the fact that the Burke principal makes $30,000 a year more than he does as the area superintendent that includes Burke. He doesn't see it as a problem that most downtown black kids have little or no chance to get more than a limited education.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cumins has a child admitted to the 2006 K-Class. Their application said the family lived on New St. The parents were divorced and only dad lived on New St. Mom and the kids were then (and are now)living happily in the suburbs as per the divorse decree. Dad's house was up for sale anyway, just not before it could be used to get junior into Buist. Sallie Ballard knew this because junior is also a sibling and Ms. Ballard knows the parents. She also knew where the kids really lived. Mr. Cumins went so far as to place an oversized & tacky Buist emblazoned bench on his New St. front porch to throw off suspicion. As they say, the more they protest their innocense the more guilty they look. His child was admitted to Buist in August and dad closed on the planned sale of his house soon afterwards. This child's parents just used their assets to increase their odds by being on all four lists. The child was only entitled to two (county & sibling)shots at the lottery. Or was it just one shot. On what list did the older child enter Buist? Was the sibling status obtained by false pretenses, too? The parents seemed to be experienced at this game. Cheating won them a seat in the only school with a consistantly excellent rating in Dist. 20, but it also deprived at least one real downtown kid from ever getting a seat in Buist or the likelyhood that they would be allowed to get into any equally qualified school in Charleston County.

Anonymous said...

Displaced downtown kids who qualify for but can't get into Buist have little or no chance of getting into Jennie Moore, St. Andrews Math and Science, Ashley River School of the Arts, Sullivans Island or even plain old ordinary Harborview. These are just a few of the home schools that the Buist admissions cheaters would ordinarily have attended as true residents of those neighborhoods. They would have priority at those very successful and popular schools because those schools follow CCSD policies and serve their neighborhood kids first. Buist follow's the policies it chooses to follow. Buist serves its neighorhood kids last. CCSD and Buist officials reward cheats while the other schools turn them away. If CCSD's board delays an honest verification process at Buist it is validating those who continue to cheat and affirms the actions of a principal who has counseled the cheaters for years.

Anonymous said...

The Cumins child was on the county-wide, failing school and sibling lists, too. Only the downtown list put the child into the winning top top ten which guaranteed admission. This raises the question, was the older child admitted to Buist using a fake downtown address, too?

Anonymous said...

If every qualified Dist. 20 child who applied was admitted to Buist, there would still be room for every qualified sibling to be admitted, too. If the 2007 applications were any indication, there would also be room left over for at least ten qualified applicants drawn from a county-wide list. The minority enrollment at Buist has been shrinking for years. Under this solution the percentage of minority students at Buist would increase to about where the original targets were without even using the now illegal quotas and the most of this admissions cheating problem would be solved. Total minority enrollment is now less than 31% (with African-Americans at less than 22%). So white enrollment might drop from 69% back to what it originally was at 60%, and black enrollment might rise to 30%, or half again more than it is now. The other 10% reflect the rising number of Asians, Hispanics and other minorities that already attend the school. Buist's academic quality would be just as high as it has ever been. It's integrity would be restored and this whole problem would disappear. As for the cheaters, they would be left to go back to their already great neighborhood schools. Or they could turn their creative skills to change conditions and their desire to make things be what they aren't into something legal and positive. We need help in turning around other potentially great downtown schools. If they really want their kid in a downtown school that is considered to be equally successful when compared to Buist, without living here full time, then we're good with that. We would probably welcome them as legitimate transfers into our downtown schools under those more honest and respectful terms.