Wednesday, August 28, 2013

CCSD's Rules Differ for Charters in Mt. Pleasant

The way to get the Charleston County School District's support for  your charter school is to locate it in Mount Pleasant and plan for rich kids to attend.

That's the lesson charter-school hopefuls should take from the chummy relationship between CCSD and the East Cooper Montessori Charter. Earlier this year the district announced it would provide the Laing campus for the charter, which has outgrown its building in I'On, one of Mount Pleasant's most exclusive developments. Those of us who remember the prolonged enmity over the use of the downtown District 20 Rivers campus by the Charter School for Math and Science snickered. Why, according to Superintendent McGinley, the best practices from the Montessori's experience would be worth the district's financial support. No agonizing over charter schools' taking away tax dollars from other schools this time!

Bur wait--there's more.

CCSD determined that the Laing building must meet the highest standards of Montessori classrooms for this favored charter school. That means renovation, McGinley-style. Millions of tax dollars. It's not enough to keep a campus that the district had planned to sell (foregone millions), replace the roof (almost $1 million), and fix damaged ceilings (at least half that amount). This money comes from "federal stimulus dollars" that must be allocated by October 14. Then the building will sit vacant.

Does anyone believe that the Montessori school said it wouldn't consider using the building unless walls were knocked down to make larger classrooms, technology and other infrastructure were state-of-the-art, and  bathrooms updated? Those improvements would add $10 million to the cost of renovations, money that Bill Lewis, who oversees capital programs, says must now be spent on additional classrooms for Jennie Moore Elementary and the new Laing Middle School--as though the district couldn't have known last spring that additional seats would be necessary.

If anyone ran a business like this, it would go out of business. CCSD gets away with it.


Anonymous said...

Where is Dot Scott now?

Pluff Mudd said...

Bill Lewis spent $250,000 on a population study starting 2 years ago. Now he says he didn't know where the students were going. He lies and the school board still defers to him. The whole building and facilities department needs an outside audit. Bill Lewis needs to go, but not before we can get an audit of his entire department. Let the chips fall.