Thursday, June 04, 2009

CCSD's Lewis's Doomsday Approach Wins $7.5 Million Down Payment

Cousin Arthur's thrown in the towel. Arthur Ravenel, Jr.'s now supporting making Charleston County schools earthquake proof. I suspect he's decided that some battles just aren't worth fighting. Let's face it: he has little encouragement from the results of the last election. Still, he's been resident in Charleston County longer than most of us--and how many earthquakes have damaged the city during his lifetime? None, of course.

What has the sky-is-falling crowd won? [See Safety First with Schools in Wednesday's paper] The major changes proposed by ex-Californian Bill (can you pronounce "San Andreas Fault") Lewis come with a major price tag "to be named later." So far the CCSD School Board has "seeded" only $7.5 million into the process to get it started. Those were "leftover" dollars. We should all hope for such leftovers.

Wait till Lewis goes for the big bucks.

Experts differ on how far to go in retrofitting (or the necessity of replacing) school buildings in this not-earthquake-prone, not-on-a-fault-line area. A totally earthquake proof environment does not exist and never will, here or elsewhere. Lewis has encouraged the doomsday approach; the CCSD School Board has knuckled under. Is there any hope that they might get a second opinion regarding how much work is really necessary? The necessity for millions to be spent on the Rivers building was revealed much too closely to the request for its use by the Charter School for Math and Science for anyone with common sense to believe that politics is not involved in the process.

Also, it would be fitting if a second opinion came from a firm that did not have a vested interest in recommending major big-bucks work. Well, since Arthur has caved, all we can do is hope.

As for the "comparatively undistinguished" Memminger Elementary building, it's probably far better built than the recently-constructed (under the aegis of Bill Lewis) West Ashley High School, which is already falling apart. Whatever happens to its 1950s building, let's not forget that Memminger's property is prime real estate that Joe Riley's friends would love to get their hands on. The property also has a long history in education that predates the present building.

If you think that greedy developers are not in the equation, you may have just fallen off the turnip truck.


Anonymous said...

Oh, where do we begin?

Brother Bill doesn't give a rip about safe schools. He's all about churning construction dollars, while maintaining absolute loyalty to his employer. That's Nancy McGinley, folks, not the school board and definitely not the rest of us taxpayers who actually fund his pay check and purchase his second government retirement account.

This is McGinley's inner circle now. She is all about absolute loyalty to her and her priorities which doesn't include transparency or charter schools. If McGinley wants to retaliate and punish, then Bill Lewis is among those who can deliver.

Why is Rivers the only school with an engineering report initiated for no reason which was voluntarily delivered to the state fire marshal? Because it was the only way he and his boss could circumvent state law and prevent a charter school from moving in.

Why were District 20 schools suddenly and all at once the only school buildings that needed to be torn down and replaced? With as many as seven schools placed on the block at one time when they surprised us with it last fall, that’s almost an entire district worth of school buildings where historic preservation is almost a religion?!! They did it because downtown residents needed to be reminded who was in charge of their schools. God forbid, you can't have parents involved in running schools. (So much for blaming the parents for the city’s poor schools.)

To Superintendent Nancy McGinley, Facilities Director Bill Lewis and Chief Financial Officer Mike Bobby, this is nothing but a high stakes game about power and influence. The trouble for the rest of us is when these bloodsuckers move on, and they will soon, Charleston County students, parents and taxpayers will be left to figure out how to cover their reckless high stakes bets which these serial administrators will inevitably leave on our table when they clear out. These obligations will include tens of millions of dollars of wasted school real estate which will be our price to pay for their poor planning.

Both McGinley and Lewis know what they are doing and to whom. Unfortunately those to whom it is being done aren't seeing the big picture yet. And some of those being slowly screwed include a majority of the members of the current school board. Don’t forget what Maria Goodloe-Johnson said on her way out the door. To those she left behind she didn’t exactly say, “Thank you for the pleasure of doing business with you.” Far from it.

Yep, we're just a bunch of stupid Southerners, ripe for the picking. Do we really look that dumb and inbred or has someone just pinned a "stupid target" to our backs in Charleston?

To those who sit on Cousin Arthur’s right, and to his left, I say, “Start seeing the big picture before you get totally screwed by these people.”

Anonymous said...

The word is that the Math & Science Charter School is assembling a "Dream Team" of very experienced, highly effective professionals to come in next school year and take that school to the next level. These are people who apparently were recruited specifically for this school and have a proven track record of success in key areas. There is a certain excitement at that school which bears watching. This is going to be very interesting if what I am hearing is true.