CCSD spends $65,000 on image consultant

CCSD spends $65,000 on image consultant
July 09 18:29 2018 Print This Article

Jake Rambo, a candidate for the Charleston County School Board, uncovered a $65,000 payment made by Charleston County School District (CCSD) to Chernoff Newman, LLC. Chernoff Newman is a large public relations firm with offices in Columbia and Charleston.

A CCSD employee reached out to Rambo in September 2017. This source was upset that Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait used district funds to hire Chernoff Newman as an image consultant during the summer of 2017.

Based on this information, Rambo sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on October 3, 2017 requesting a record of all correspondence and payments to Chernoff Newman. November 9, 2017 Rambo received a response to the FOIA stating the district did not currently have any records of that transaction.

Rambo was recently exploring the finances of CCSD in preparation for his school board campaign. He came across a check for $64,396 to Chernoff Newman, LLC written on December 12, 2017. This check was written from the General Operating Fund under the category of Other Purchase Services. This is a special budget category used for payments to consultants.

The payment to Chernoff Newman was after the response to Rambo’s FOIA request, but Rambo questions the district’s response to his request for copies of all correspondence, contending that not all correspondence took place between November 9 and December 12, 2017 to warrant a $64,396 payment.

Rambo further states, “If Postlewait wanted good PR, she could have used that $65,000 to refund teachers for personal expenses for classroom materials. Charleston County School Board should approve all hiring for consultants.”

Rambo was the principal at James B. Edwards Elementary School (JBE) in Mt. Pleasant. He learned that he was being reassigned to an undetermined school as part of the large CCSD principal shuffle of 2017, after only two years at JBE. Rambo questioned the validity of the new teacher evaluation instrument based almost completely on test scores. The parents at JBE started an online petition urging the district to keep him as school principal. When the district failed to do so, he resigned. He is currently a recruiter for Construction Professionals Incorporated.