Friday, November 30, 2012

CCSD Manipulating Lines In Mt. Pleasant

Watch out, Mt. Pleasant parents. The Charleston County School District's administration at 75 Calhoun continues to fudge the numbers.

Word has it that the numbers provided by the more expensive Ohio firm for new attendance lines vastly differ from those provided by the Council of Governments (COG). Remember that the Board of Trustees voted to spend $20,000 to use the local COG report while district officials without Board approval signed a contract for $90,000 with Cropper (and for a $160,000 extension).

Can you smell "kickback"? These officials agreed without Board approval to a single bid contract that might as well have been a no bid contract. Your tax dollars at work.

More importantly, the two reports show different numbers, one of the reasons that the district postponed a decision on attendance lines.

But wait. There's more.

The COG report shows as many as 100 out-of-county (that's county, not district) students attending Wando, Sullivans Island, Academic Magnet, and School of the Arts.

No wonder the Superintendent wishes to use the out-of-state report.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

CCSD Caught Violating Open Meetings Law

And not by the P&C, which habitually ignores such FOIA trespasses, except when its own ox is gored.

The whistle-blower is the SC Press Association, which correctly points out that public was not notified of the tour of the Rivers building where a quorum of the Charleston County Board of Trustees showed up.

The wrong-headed decision of the Board will go forward now that the renovations have been finished.

Lowcountry Tech will share the Rivers campus with the Charter School for Math and Science (CSMS).

CSMS will remain in mobile classrooms ad infinitum.

The NAACP and Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, both intentionally de facto segregated , will continue to complain that CSMS is 50 percent white. They also assume, and are determined to enforce, that Lowcountry Tech be 100 percent black.

Burke Middle High School will continue to be half empty and 100 percent black.

One bad decision after another. Decisions have consequences. Charleston County students must live with them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Buist: Ready to Fill Vacancies or Not?

The Charleston County School District proudly announces that it will add 70 slots when the new Buist Academy building opens downtown next fall. Theoretically, enrollment will stand at 480, instead of the present 410.

Apparently no one seems to care that Buist already has many vacant slots in its supposed "410" number that remain unfilled despite its much-touted secret waiting list.

When it adds the 70 students, will it also fill its present vacancies? Will it continue to allow false addresses? Will these 70 students be spread over the four "lists" or  constitute a new list? Many questions remain unanswered.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hollywood Charter School on Its Way

One of Charleston County's newest public charter schools (state-chartered, of course, since CCSD refuses to cooperate with charters) has found a different way to get a suitable school building.
HOLLYWOOD — A rural charter school slated to open next fall has overcome perhaps the biggest hurdle it will face — finding a building.

Lowcountry Leadership Charter plans to open its doors to 400 students in the space occupied by St. Paul’s Academy this year. The private school that serves preschool through eighth-graders will shut down at the end of this school year, and the new charter school will renovate, demolish and rebuild pieces of the existing campus to fit its needs.

“If we don’t have a building for kids to go to, you can’t have the school,” said Dee Crawford, who chairs the charter school’s board. “This is a huge piece of the puzzle, and the community is excited.”

Multiple efforts to reach the principal and the board chair of St. Paul’s Academy were unsuccessful.

Lowcountry Leadership Charter officials had approached Charleston County school leaders about using the former R.D. Schroder Middle campus, but they said those talks weren’t moving fast enough for its August 2013 scheduled opening.

They looked at alternatives, and they learned about a Utah-based company, HighMark School Development, that builds exclusively for charter schools. South Carolina charter schools don’t receive funding dedicated for facilities, so HighMark signed a contract with St. Paul’s Academy to buy the building.

HighMark and another investor will provide the money needed to renovate and build the new school, and the charter school will pay interest and buy it from them over time, Crawford said. Once students are enrolled, the charter school will have enough money to do that, she said.

The construction should be finished by the school’s opening. School leaders still are deciding on the extent of the work that will be completed, and Crawford declined to give a cost estimate until those decisions had been made.

The school’s mission is to develop student leaders through a project-based learning approach, and that involves inquiry- based learning or students figuring out the solution to a problem or question.

The school is accepting applications until Dec. 15, and officials say they’ve gotten a good response thus far.

Chryse Jackson is one of the charter school’s board members, and she has two school-age children she plans to enroll for next fall. She said parents in rural communities deserve the same kinds of choices as those in more populated areas.

“It’s an opportunity for our kids to attend a neighborhood school in their home community,” she said. “We’re working to not only give our kids (that option), but to give that to the community for years and years to come.”

Any South Carolina student will be eligible to attend because the school’s charter comes from the statewide district.
The new charter clearly will be much larger than the present St. Paul's community of around 50 students.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

AMHS & SOA Admissions Processes Changing

We hope they know what they're doing in the Charleston County School District--eliminating an essay and teacher recommendation at the magnet School of the Arts and using a cut-off score of 85 percent on the ACT Explore for the Academic Magnet.

Are they really going to use 85 percent? That test is not as rigorous as the PSAT and, in my experience with it over the last five to 10 years, scoring in the 85th percentile is low for honors-level students.

It should be fun to watch what happens in the coming months.

Monday, November 19, 2012

CCSD "Comes a Cropper" on Redistricting Trends

What business would pay upwards of $250,000 for statistics needed for redistricting if it could get more accurate data for $20,000?

What business would contract with Cropper GIS Consulting in Columbus, Ohio, for information that it could get more cheaply from the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments?

Why, the Charleston County School District, of course.

And they say we don't need a performance audit.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Rivers Campus at the Crossroads

When will the Charleston County School District finally stop kowtowing to the Chamber of Commerce and self-appointed spokespersons for the black community about the Rivers campus?

Against all common sense, Superintendent McGinley and the "Citizens United for Public Schools" (a misnomer if there ever was one!) insist on creating a phantom "tech" school at the newly-renovated Rivers campus in order to forestall the growth of the highly-successful and totally diverse Charter School for Math and Science. Low Country Tech will not even be a school in its own right but a series of classes with students bused in from other schools in the district!

In CCSD, absurdity has no limits when it comes to the disdain of the superintendent and the NAACP for the wishes of the community. In order to force CSMS to continue using mobile classrooms on the Rivers campus, the superintendent will leave Burke Middle High nearly half empty and spend money busing Burke students to Rivers.

Will the insanity never end? The Burke community wants the program at Burke. Only the superintendent's stubbornness prevents an obvious (and cheaper) solution to the need for tech programs in the district. Dot Scott and her crowd have been proven wrong about the supposed conspiracy to create an all-white charter school in District 20.  How soon we forget (and that goes for the reporter too) that Rivers space was provided to CSMS practically over the dead bodies of the above.
Never was there consensus on sharing the building, no matter what the superintendent's sycophants pushed through in 2007.

It's time to face facts in CCSD. Low Country Tech does not exist. CSMS does and is thriving and outgrowing its facilities. Why can't the district allow success to succeed?

Monday, November 05, 2012

CCSD School Board Recommendations

Pay no attention to this posting if you are satisfied with the administration of the Charleston County School District and its schools.

On the other hand, the Board of Trustees needs a majority of members who are independent thinkers and actually come to the district with some knowledge of it.

West Ashley (2 seats): Bullet vote for Henry Copeland; he knows more about how the district runs than the superintendent and will be a voice for independent auditing.

Downtown (1 seat): Write in Todd Garrett. He's an ex-Marine (that counts for something with me) and has at least one child in the school system. He was also appointed by the legislative delegation to fill the vacant seat, if that means anything.

North Charleston (2 seats): Chris Collins, the only incumbent and one who looks out for the students independently. If you must vote for a second, make it Tom Ducker, who at least is a native of North Charleston and in favor of charter schools.

Ignore this nonsense about how "we all have to get along." That's code for "we all must follow whatever the superintendent wants."

Remember, if CCSD were a private company and the largest employer in the county, would you want its CEO selected and advised by a bunch of ignorant sycophants?

Thursday, November 01, 2012

McGinley's Recommendations for CCSD School Board

Straight from a Taj Mahal office worker:

**Miller, Barter, Ducker, Lecque, and Weinstein**

'Nuff said.