Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blackmail for the Board from Lewis

Sorry to say that my home computer has a nasty virus. Feel free to leave your comments on Bill Lewis's shenanigans and the Board's threats of property tax increases until I'm up and running again.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Like a Stopped Clock--Right Again

Check out Brian Hicks's Friday column on CCSD's proposed sales tax increase: Tax Hike? Good Luck with That.

A sample:

"They want a one-percent sales tax increase -- calling it a penny tax is so underhanded -- for six years to raise $450 million to build 14 schools, fix up athletic facilities and other various projects.

"It feels a little like a bait and switch. This all started with five schools in danger of collapsing in an earthquake. They probably could have gotten support for that. But while we had our wallets open, they asked for another few hundred million.

"Bundling critical needs with the district's regularly scheduled building plan, in this climate, is lunacy.

"But it's not going to cost them, just us.

Friday, September 24, 2010

One Win for Jordan in CCSD

Don't you wonder how many other problems lurk in the Charleston County School District's procurement process?

CCSD Board member Ruth Jordan asked a simple question--why did one tree service receive all the district's business without a bidding process. She was assured that municipalities required its use.

What? Not true.

See District Gave Contracts Without Bids in Friday's edition of the P&C.

And they want to raise our taxes.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Truth or Consequences for CCSD Taxpayers

Sometimes interesting tidbits appear on the P&C's website, this time appended to the latest article on CCSD's proposed "penny" sales tax increase [Penny Tax Hike Now Up to Voters ].

Is it true:
"If the voters reject the sales tax, the district apparently already has enough borrowing authority remaining within their statutory 8% limit to complete the seismic repairs. To exceed this 8% constitutional limit would require them to pursue a voter referendum."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Same Old Excuses on SC's SAT Scores

I'll bet you folks are scratching your heads and wondering why South Carolina beat Maine in this year's SAT contest.

Usually we can thank the great States of Mississippi and Alabama (as well as Washington, D.C.) for preventing us from being dead last. [See State SAT Scores Drop in Tuesday's P&C.]

According to outgoing State Superintendent Jim Rex,
"More students taking the exam often leads to lower scores, and state educators need to figure out how to boost SAT scores while that happens, he said. Sixty-six percent of the state's students take the exam, making it the 14th-highest participation rate in the country, and its overall national ranking is 49th, ahead of Maine and Washington, D.C."
Well, Mr. Rex, how did the other 13 "highest participation rate" states fare? Better than South Carolina, no doubt, at least for 12 of them!

On the other hand, Maine requires every high school senior to take the SAT, so its rate must be approaching 100%.

Try to imagine how low SC's scores would be under that circumstance!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Softball Questions for CCSD Candidates

These are the best that the P&C can dream up:
  • What grade would you give the superintendent for her leadership?
  • What is the biggest problem in Charleston County School District? What is its biggest asset?
  • If you're elected, what is one specific goal that you plan to accomplish?
[See Q&A with Charleston County School Board Candidates in Saturday's edition.]

Anybody see at least one glaring omission?

How about

Do you support the sales tax increase for the schools on this November's ballot?

What about

If the sales tax increase fails, would you support raising property taxes?


If elected, would you call for a forensic audit of CCSD's books?

I'm sure some readers can add to the list.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

What's CCSD's McGinley Afraid of?

An important tax proposal is on the ballot in Charleston County this November: a sales tax increase planned to expire after six years. CCSD's Superintendent Nancy McGinley has thrown her full support behind the passage of this proposal to raise money for the district, and yet. . .

She refuses to appear with Richard Todd on a local radio station to answer the public's questions about her pet project.

McGinley-watchers know full well how she manages to dodge and manipulate the public whenever the slight possibility arises that someone might ask a question about the Charleston County Schools who won't be jeopardizing his or her job by doing so. One such question might raise some more even more embarrassing questions.

Who knows where that might lead, like to a forensic audit of the district.

And we all know she's planning to fall back on a property-tax increase anyway, so why answer questions from taxpayers?

Monday, September 06, 2010

No School Safe When CCSD Policy Committee Meets

Is it true? Is the Policy Committee of the Charleston County School Board about to pull a fast one on the Academic Magnet (AMHS)?

It's a well-known phenomenon that when something is working really well politicians want to tinker with it. Scuttlebutt has it that Gregg Meyers, knowing how well using his law office address worked to get his own children into Buist Academy on the District 20 list, now wants to create a similar structure for entrance to the Academic Magnet.

This marvelous system, virtually guaranteed to be finagled in like fashion to Buist entrance in days of yore, would use zip codes instead of four lists as Buist does. It would also use a lottery.

After all, why would we want only the best students to go to AMHS? Some of them should linger in other high schools to beef up their stats for Superintendent McGinley. Just think of the possibilities.

Meanwhile, Meyers has scheduled the next meeting of the Policy Committee for the last day of Rosh Hashanah, guaranteeing that any observant Jews will not interfere with discussion and offering to take the minutes himself while chairing the meeting, since the committee's secretary will not be there.

Love it.