Monday, March 09, 2009

Buist Vacancies? Not Again!

Haven't we been down this road before? Why would a school with long waiting lists for each grade, namely Buist, have unfilled vacancies? Superintendent McGinley (or should I say Sallie Ballard) excels in the art of foot dragging.

Thanks to FOIA requests, District 20 residents are finally able to see what 75 Calhoun has tried to keep secret, as a reader reports:
"Once again, six vacancies are shown to exist [at Buist], including 3 in the upper grades, despite the extensive waiting lists CCSD maintains for admission to this school.

"This problem was pointed out [. . .] in each of the two previous years. It appears this was never corrected. Why have
these seats allowed to remain vacant again this year? [ . . ] One Buist classroom is over subscribed by one student. As other schools have been required to make sacrifices in the name of budget cuts, it would make sense for Buist to be asked to do the same.

"Please respond to a suggestion that Buist classes, during this period of economic limitations, be expanded to include at least 2 additional students per class beyond the kindergarten level. This would raise the primary school's classes from 20 to 22 students. The middle school's classes under this plan would be increased from 25 to 27. Considering that other CCSD schools have been asked to increase their class size to as many as 35 students, this would be a relatively small inconvenience.

"I understand the Buist admissions policies will be on the board's agenda in the very near future. Please give me your explanation of the two discrepancies which were identified over the weekend and your response to how Buist will be addressing its own budget cuts considering what other schools are being required to make."
We all know what the Board plans to do to Buist admissions policies. Unfortunately, despite Meyers's whining about dissension, they have the votes.


Anonymous said...

How weak is this site? I was here the other day and saw positive supportive comments about the Buist lottery and now they pulled them all.

Sorry not everyone agrees with the lottery being unfair. What a small minded, weak person Babbie must be.

So be sure you only post things Babbie agrees with... She can't handle anything else

Anonymous said...

I saw that as well. I will not be returning. Thanks for wasting my time Babbie.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have an answer for why vacancies still exist at Buist while other schools are being told to prepare for larger classes? Another double standard for a "county-wide" magnet?

Babbie said...

What lamebrains the first two posters are. If comments had been removed, the site would show it. Probably one person trying to start an argument. Don't you have anything better to do?

Anonymous said...

No they don't. It's probably the same goons who only post on Charleston Shame with regards to Buist. Fraser closing and kids having to move to two different schools in 2 years? Who gives a rat's ass.
Vacancies are at Buist because Sallie likes to kick black kids out in the middle school years, especially black males.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me. Fraser kids will be at 3 different schools within 1 year. But whose counting?

Anonymous said...

Charleston County voters share some responsibility for this mess. No other school district in the state would tolerate the garbage this district's sorry administration and equally mediocre school board have dished out. There's no accountability. There certainly is very little truth in what they say.

CCSD is about as reliable as a Wall Street investment bank. They say everything is doing great. The "improvement" rating is "excellent", but never mind the 10th graders who still can't read or count. When the numbers don't add up, they've got an excuse for everything. When they run out of excuses, they trash the messenger. They bluster, full of sound and fury. They polish the mirrors and turn up the smoke. They remind us to pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

I have some advice for the newest board members. Trust no one on CCSD's payroll to tell the whole truth. All numbers are stacked and facts are arranged to show whatever conveys the desired image. If school board members want to represent their districts, they will do their own homework and they will independently check everything CCSD feeds them. Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz have nothing on CCSD’s ability to snow the public, the board and even themselves.

The continuing Buist scam isn't the issue; it's only an obvious symptom of the terminal disease that infects every part of CCSD. It's the officially tolerated waste and wholesale scamming we can't see that's killed Charleston’s public schools for most of us. Until the voters take responsibility, even if a majority on the school board doesn’t, nothing will change. What will change if Charleston’s public schools stay on this course will be the quality and competitiveness of our local workforce. Since a 10% improvement over dead last is now to be judged as “excellent” progress, it may already be too late.

If my child was a serious contender for a seat at Buist, I would want someone to answer for why seats remain vacant. And if Sallie Ballard can “dismiss” a student mid year, she should be just as receptive to receiving a transfer mid term as well. OK, as a parent and a voter, I’m asking; now who’s answering?

Anonymous said...

Yes, pray tell, why does Sallie Ballard have it in for African-American students at Buist, especially young males? The numbers don't lie, but Sallie Ballard does.

Anonymous said...

Ya think the black males are the kids falling below the GPA you must maintain at Buist? Of course they are... Sallie Ballard is not my favorite person, but there are standards that must be maintained to stay in Buist. Are we suppose to give the kids who can't keep their grades a special pass because they are black? Come on, if they can't do the work they need to go. WHITE OR BLACK

Anonymous said...

Yes, but who is checking to make sure the facts are facts? No pun intended, but nothing about the management of Buist has been black and white. There has been way too much playing the system. From the clear as mud lottery to the mystery of the waiting lists and vacancies, McGinley and Ballard have both botched the public confidence thing.

I agree if a student doesn't make the grade or can't meet the standards, the seat should be vacated for another qualified student who is waiting, willing and able to meet the challenge. But why have some students been treated differently? Some stay and some don’t. Reports from those parents say there are different standards being used. And when some leave, whose waiting list are they using to fill those seats? It’s one thing not to discuss specific cases, but the process and rules are being kept secret, too.

If so much doubt exists about the process, then maybe it's time to put different people in charge. A school like Buist should value public confidence right up there with PSAT scores. What value is the school's rating if it looks like it's cheating to achieve it? I didn't write the rules for Buist, but racial diversity and extremely high grades are what Ballard and McGinley say are the part of the rules at Buist. So why are they bending the rules? At the very least they have refused to show how they are meeting the school’s goals within the rules? This is what feeds public suspicions things aren’t exactly right at Buist.

Until there is public confidence in what the rules are at Buist and confidence the rules, all of them, are really being followed, Buist, its students, teachers and supporters will continue to work under a cloud.

For Ballard and McGinley to continue to hide how the process at Buist works isn't helping the school's reputation. For them to blow off critics by saying "everything at Buist is fine" just isn't enough anymore. There's been too much water over the dam involving controversies and poor management at Buist to ignore.