Sunday, October 30, 2011

Finding 14 More Miscreants in CCSD Magnets

Some parents of students at the Academic Magnet and School of the Arts in the Charleston County School District actually took the district at its word when their children applied for admission. They provided the documents as requested.

Fast forward to October 2012: how silly they were to imagine that requesting the documents meant that the documents were required! Or maybe documents were required for all except the special few that received consideration from the Superintendent and her lackeys.

The fact remains that at least 30, not 14, students at the two magnet high schools do not live in the district. Those are slots denied to 30 families who play by the rules.

The district deserves to be sued by those who have been on their waiting lists.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

FOIA Reveals McGinley's Duplicity--Too Late

While the five Charleston County School Board Trustees celebrate their narrow victory extending the superintendent's tenure, the natives continue to be restless, especially on Sullivan's Island.

After a five-and-a-half month delay (gee, we wonder why) smaller-school proponents on Sullivan's Island got a look at the "supposed '1000 Signatures'" held up for show and tell by Superintendent McGinley at a recent school board meeting.

Are you ready? Can you guess what's about to come?

Of the "just Sullivans Island signatures" (McGinley's words) only 372, a bit more than one third actually had Sullivans Island addresses, some of those addresses being island restaurants.

Checked against current voter registration lists for SI, the number dropped to 265. Of those, 71 later signed the petition for a town referendum for a smaller school.

That leaves potentially only 194 signatures in favor of McGinley and Lewis's plan--and 277 registered voters have signed the petition for a referendum.

No wonder the district sat on the FOIA request for so long. It needed to get past the superintendent's evaluation before releasing it. Nuff said.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wrong Referendum on Sullivan's

Those who want a smaller elementary school built on Sullivan's Island have the sympathy of many others who have been steam-rollered by Charleston County Schools Superintendent Nancy McGinley and her hand-chosen Board of bootlickers.

We have no difficulty understanding why a referendum has been organized to put the community on record as supporting the smaller outcome.

Problem is, the Sullivan's Island town council has signed off on the larger school, having been bamboozled by McGinley and Bill Lewis. Furthermore, the hoodwinked voters in the last election validated the McGinley-Lewis plans for a larger school (and no second high school in Mt. Pleasant) despite community opposition.

You see, you've been had. Even if the parents and staff of Sullivan's Island Elementary decide at this point to take the school the charter route, you're going to end up with the monster building.

What to do? Can you remember this debacle long enough to vote out the town council members who approved the plan? Will your memories stretch long enough to throw out the CCSD Board of Trustees members who jump as high as McGinley and Lewis ask?

History says you won't, and McGinley and Lewis are counting on your faulty memories.

Prove them wrong.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CCSD's Fraser Putting the "Fix" on It

Farce: An empty or patently ridiculous act, proceeding, or situation. (Merriam-Webster on-line)

Having proven time and again his complete slavishness to the Charleston County Schools Superintendent, Chris Fraser, chair of the CCSD Board of Trustees, is creating a spreadsheet to "average" the rankings given to McGinley by the Board members. Never mind that her receiving an overall standard high enough to get another $25, 000 bonus already is guaranteed by the way McGinley herself designed the performance evaluation.

Who's watching Fraser? Should we question his objectivity since he avidly supports the superintendent?

Or should we simply assume that the Superintendent controls the Board and not the other way around? A casual viewer of Board meetings just might draw that conclusion when he or she sees McGinley sitting next to the Board Chair at the public meetings--and hears her call sotto voce for the vote when members are raising questions.

Not a bad deal, really, for someone who controls one of the biggest employers in the county and makes more than the governor or any other state official. Writes her own evaluations. Dictates publicity to the news reporters. Raises her own salary.

Crony capitalism, indeed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Report Card Design for McGinley

Can you imagine what your child's report card would look like if you let him design it? Then why would the Charleston County Schools Board of Trustees allow the Superintendent whom they are evaluating to design her own report?

It's report card time for Nancy McGinley over the next couple of weeks, but she need not worry. The report-card deck is stacked so much in her favor that even if all members of the Board vote against her, she still gets a passing score.

But they won't all vote against her. Approval will follow the 5 to 4 pattern established since the last election. Watch while they give her a raise, too. In fact, the Board is stacked with bootlickers recruited by her cronies, who when asked to jump, respond, "How high?"

Only another election with candidates who represent taxpayers' interests instead of McGinley's will settle this farce.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

McGinley's Selective Hearing

Perhaps the Superintendent of the Charleston County Schools District needs Miracle Ear? Or reading glasses? Or maybe she needs to be fired.

The town of Mt. Pleasant in 2008 in meetings with CCSD officials voiced its overwhelming support for a second high school to be built on the old Wando campus in Mt. Pleasant, a more centrally-located and accessible building.

You could look it up--even in the P&C!

Now the Superintendent wonders why community members haven't signed on instead to her middle-college at the new Wando, pushing traffic in the area beyond its limits. Doesn't it seem ridiculous that many students will be on the road for 40 minutes or more in a town the size of Mt. Pleasant? McGinley has pushed the promised second high school "down the road."

Board member Elizabeth Moffly correctly points out that North Charleston has four high schools with a total population that doesn't even begin to approach the 3,400 students already at Wando. And no one has evidence that bigger high schools are better for students; in fact, the opposite is true.

So, what gives, Nancy?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

McGinley's 482 Excuses

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

Several weeks ago after what the Charleston County Schools District described as elicited under great trials and duress, CCSD announced that 15 out-of-county students are attending two magnet high schools, the School of the Arts and the Academic Magnet.

Only 15. But wait.

Only 482 students slipped the Superintendent's mind when the announcement was given to the reporter. Those are the 482 who are missing at least one part of the documentation required to prove they live in the district. And they were allowed to enroll anyway.

Really, you can't make this stuff up. No one would believe it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

McGinley Proposing Mt. P. Traffic Nightmare

When did the taxpayers of Charleston County indicate that they wished for 5,000 student high schools? Never.

Now we have a superintendent who is proposing that a new building for a middle college be built on the Wando campus, a campus where its now 3500-student body already causes traffic nightmares. Imagine the future.

Where is the logic in putting all of Mt. Pleasant's students into one high school? Since 1000-student high schools by all measures are better for the students, the district should be thinking in the other direction. In fact, where is the logic in having all of these students at one end of Mt. Pleasant, not easily accessible from the older parts of the town?

There is a perfectly good campus located at the old Wando High School. Why not build a middle college there? Why spend $56 million to create traffic jams? Where are the plans for middle colleges at the other high schools such as Burke and James Island?

McGinley is determined to push this stupid agenda at the October 10th meeting. Contact your board members ASAP!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

CCSD's Minutes Take Months, Not Days

What is the roadblock to posting the minutes for the Charleston County School District Board of Trustees? Incompetence? Conspiracy? Too busy counting out-of-county magnet students? Someone not know how to operate a computer?

Whatever the excuse is, the district is flouting state policy that calls for minutes to be posted within 10 days.

The latest minutes posted on the CCSD website are from August 15.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Zais's Proposals a Mixed Bag

While irate teachers may focus on the loss of the National Board Certification bonus, (highest in the nation, by the way), South Carolina's state superintendent of education, Mick Zais does have a few ideas that sound sensible. Some focus on local school boards.

One proposal is that school board meetings must be posted on the district's website at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, a change from the 24 hours now required.

A more interesting proposal is that the minutes of such meetings must be posted there within five days, not the present 10 and posted on the district's home page.  Interestingly, the most recent minutes posted on the Charleston County School District's website are from mid-August.

My personal favorite is the proposal that districts that don't post on their websites the cost of administration will be punished, perhaps by withholding state money.

Zais also feels the need to propose that districts transfer state money to the charter schools within their districts more quickly. Gee, I wonder why that proposal is needed.

Monday, October 03, 2011

No Justice for CCSD's Outsourced Workers

Four private contractors now handle the maintenance business of the Charleston County School District, thanks to a policy that outsourced these workers purportedly as a cost-saving measure. Who negotiated their contracts? Why, financial officer Michael Bobby without the input of either the employees or the school board.

Fine. Now Bobby should be on the hot seat for the continuing problems caused by his actions. Despite silence on the part of the P&C, this transition has been anything but painless. Some paychecks were delayed up to five weeks. Hours of work during the final weeks at CCSD were not counted. Would anyone believe that these problems would not be a severe hardship on workers who are making a hardscrabble living in the first place? We're talking home evictions and car repossessions.

Now CCSD is taking action against those workers who have dared to speak out. Despite assurances from Board Chair Chris Fraser and member Coats that no retaliation would take place while these problems were being resolved, Service Solutions fired one of these workers last Friday. The others, whom Michael Bobby and Superintendent McGinley have attempted to isolate and prevent school board members from supporting, wonder who's next.

Several workers have filed a formal complaint with the SC Department of Labor concerning their last paychecks. Thanks to the superintendent's policies, the school board can no longer hear complaints from classified employees. They are at the mercy of McGinley.

I don't know about you, but that's not a place I'd care to be. It's time for our state representatives Ford and Gilliard to step in.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

CCSD's Intimidation and Corruption Nexus

Hit the little guy. Why? He doesn't have the resources to hit back.

Here we have a perfect description of the modus operandi of the Charleston County Schools District administration. Such is the case with the day porters who were outsourced to save the district money.

Well, the district does need to save money. Some of us would like to outsource administrative services, starting with the superintendent and continuing with the chief financial officer, Michael Bobby.

Of course, outsourcing the business to retired CCSD employees, cronies of the present administration who could make a buck or two off this mess, was part of the deal.

One employee reported by the P& C has questioned whether his last paycheck was correct. You may have wondered why the article also reports that "he doesn't feel comfortable meeting one-on-one" with Bobby.

Behind that statement is a superintendent who was enraged to learn that several day porters (presumably including 27-year-old Jess Ballard) were meeting with Bobby along with one or two members of the Charleston County Board of Trustees. She forbid the Board members from being there.

Now retaliation against those who have complained to Bobby has begun. Same old, same old in CCSD.