Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CCSD's McGinley Unprepared for Board's Challenges on Burke Recommendation

She's getting soft.

Charleston County School Superintendent Nancy McGinley has controlled the membership of its Board of Trustees for so long that neither she nor any of her henchmen can support their assertions when questioned by independent board members. Monday night's meeting is a prime example.

On the Executive Session agenda McGinley put a request to move Child Development programs to the Rhett Building at Burke High/Middle. [See previous column for my take on this proposal.] According to reports, McGinley was unprepared and disorganized when several board members peppered her with questions.

That was not the worst of it, however. The superintendent and her lackeys made several statements that have been shown to be outright lies and others that seemed to be wishful thinking. Board members are not amused.

For example, McGinley claimed that a waiting list exists at Garrett for the early childhood Career Technical Education (CTE) program, but when a board member checked, he found that no waiting list exists. Michael Miller also discovered that McGinley's claim that students want such a program at Burke was wishful thinking.

Showdowns also occurred between member Todd Garrett and Chief Finance Officer Michael Bobby regarding enrollment and vacancy figures in downtown schools. What Bobby didn't know was that Garrett was using the numbers from the seven-day count that Bobby himself supplied to the board earlier this month. Using an EXCEL spreadsheet with the numbers, Garrett reached conclusions that Bobby had tried to avoid.

In a move that long-time watchers of the McGinley administration find typical, Associate Superintendent for Secondary Schools Lou Martin implied to board members that a list of  CTE programs were already in place at Burke and Lowcountry Tech. They aren't. Currently, Burke offers a lackluster culinary arts CTE course. McGinley probably assumes it need not be rigorous for future hamburger flippers! In fact, the courses and "majors" enumerated by Martin are a wish list presented for the board's approval in 2010.

Hoisted by his own petard, Chief Operating Officer for Capital Programs Bill Lewis claimed that the unused Fraser building could not be used for Child Development programs because it has an elevated first floor. Maybe he meant there are steps going in? In any event, only three years ago Bobby pushed for a CD center at Fraser for the exclusive use of MUSC, C of C, and CCSD employees. Prior to that he had told Fraser parents that the school was unsafe. So which is it, Bill?

Well, McGinley was probably prescient in her request for Executive Session on this item. Imagine the uproar that would have occurred if members of the community had heard this discussion.

We hope someone watching CCSD has filed a lawsuit regarding the Open Meetings Act, which McGinley seems to scorn at will. Meanwhile, the Board did table the request for later action.

Gee, I wonder why.

1 comment:

HdeS Copeland said...

Pressure from board members and possibly the press forced this subject to be considered in open session. That's why so much information came out about the administration's lack of preparation.

Perhaps the superintendent's team didn't prepare well for it because they thought it would only be heard in executive session. It's getting hard to just roll the board into doing what others have decided for them in advance.

Times change and this board appears to be more skeptical of just rubber stamping the superintendent, especially when the proposals are just plain dumb.