Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rivers: No Beauty in Eye of Beholder

CCSD is getting mismatched brick for its multi-million dollar renovations of the Rivers building. Say it ain't so!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

P&C Delays CCSD Story for Weekend Doldrums

I bet you didn't read it, either.

It took nearly a week for the local rag to publish CCSD's approved calendar for next year.

For the first time, the Charleston County School District will be in session on Good Friday of next year. That's for our post-Christian society.

Naturally, there's a conscience clause--teachers may take a personal day. Wow. We can be glad that Easter's on a Sunday.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

P&C Ignores CCSD McGinley's Power Grab

The Charleston County School District Superintendent, Nancy McGinley, has flexed her muscles. Seeing her majority on the Board of Trustees, she determined to grab as much power from the Board as possible. The erstwhile editors ( there are some, right?) of the Post and Courier don't see her legal violation of her contract as a problem, just "insider baseball." Would that were true!

Long-time observers in CCSD and the minority of non-McGinley sycophants on the Board of Trustees see matters coming to a crisis next Monday, March 12. Used to agenda sleight-of-hand, they have recoiled at the illegal subterfuges now underway to subvert the governing structure of the district. What follow are remarks from one such observer.

For a public school district as large and as diverse as this one, concentrating absolute power and decision making authority in the hands of one person, with few checks and balances in place, isn't healthy. In this case it isn't legal, either.

Board Chairman Chris Fraser and Superintendent McGinley are attempting to intervene in the the Policy Committee's selection of chairman and vice-chairman, currently Elizabeth Moffly and Chris Fraser. In spite of board policies and applicable parliamentary rules to the contrary, Fraser and McGinley have engaged McGinley's own attorney, John Emerson, to outline the case for having the full board select new Policy Committee officers.

In a separate matter, Emerson has also drafted an agenda item purported to come from the Policy Committee meeting that authorizes the Board to delegate its statutory responsibilities to hear certain appeals to the Superintendent. For example, the county school board would no longer hear certain student disciplinary hearings . Appeals will end with the Superintendent.

The plot thickens.Mr. Emerson's report on Monday's agenda implies that the Policy Committee has approved an amendment to the Student Code of Conduct doing exactly the opposite of what its chairman, Ms. Moffly, proposed.
In discussions involving a pending disciplinary appeal first presented last month , Ms. Moffly and others on the board moved to repeal the offending statement in the Code of Conduct which barred lawful appeals to the Board. The statement conflicts with state laws guaranteeing due process and appeal rights. McGinley was against the repeal. Emerson's report to the Board from the Policy Committee appears as a complete fabrication designed to advance McGinley's

In this tug of war, McGinley is using Fraser to further isolate elected Board members who most often vote with the minority. Through her legal counsel, McGinley is grabbing the power to set Board policy and select Board officers. She plans to set the organization on its head: the Board will serve her; she will not serve the Board.
The Post and Courier, although it has been warned, probably doesn't want to understand the ramifications of McGinley's plans. Just as it is a violation for Board members to interfere with the superintendent's job, she is required to respect limits that separate her from being involved in the Board's governing and oversight functions. By ignoring this line, she is in breach of contract. With an independent Board, she could be found insubordinate and subject to termination for cause.

A few years ago, we witnessed a systematic dismantling of the statutory responsibilities reserved to the constituent boards that have been part of CCSD's structure since its inception. Those boards are emasculated with not even the power to express an opinion in the selection of principals or the quality of teachers in their constituent jurisdictions. Even their role in the establishment of attendence zones has been taken over by--you guessed it--the Superintendent.

Centralization of power began shortly after McGinley became CCSD's chief academic officer. Erosion of the constituent boards' legal authority accelerated rapidly and aggressively when she became superintendent. Now the same process is spreading to the county board. To whom will the Superintendent be responsible in the future?

No one. Certainly not voters or taxpayers. Superintendent Czar.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Outsourced Day-Porters' Class Action Vs. CCSD

Last week one of CCSD's outsourced day porters filed a class-action lawsuit against the Charleston County School District. As you know, problems concerning final paychecks have been festering ever since those day porters were outsourced. Superintendent McGinley neglected to inform the Board last Monday night, but finally did after Monday's meeting when a Board member inquired why he had not been told.

The class action is for $7500 for the individual, but perhaps a hundred individuals are involved. The jury is still out on whether this outsourcing, which saved the district money on the backs of its least-advantaged former employees, will even save money.

Meanwhile, CCSD appears to have outsourced its maintenance supply and equipment warehouse to Grainger, a private company. As Grainger takes over control of the district's orders, will it reprice materials at a higher rate from its own catalogue?

Just another example of how CCSD handles OPM. Time for an audit.