Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Return Powers to Charleston County's Constituent School Boards?

Once power flows to a central administration, does it ever flow back? For the states, the answer seems to be "no." Once power goes to Washington, it would require another revolution to get it back. The question is, Can the constituent boards that make up the Charleston County School District buck this trend?

In those oh-so-long-ago days of 1967, the eight independent school districts agreed to combine to equalize finances. The consolidated school district was purely a financial and administrative layer. Then came creeping centralization: after 1978 constituent districts no longer hired their own principals. Finally, in 2007 ex-Superintendent McGinley demanded control over the hiring of all school personnel, and the legislative delegation's support in Columbia put that power grab into practice.

Now the six of the eight constituent boards have requested that the Taj Mahal's power be returned to 1967 levels. Early in December virtually the same legislative delegation agreed unanimously to refer the boards' request "to the delegation's education subcommittee for further study." A euphemism perhaps? 

Kicking the can to a subcommittee can portend a lingering death. Superintendent Postlewaite wants time to show the individual boards that she can play nice. If you want power returned to local constituent boards, maintain pressure on your local delegation; otherwise, it will become a dead issue.

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