CCSD continues top-down approach

CCSD continues top-down approach
October 02 21:09 2017 Print This Article

In an editorial in Sunday’s Post and Courier Charleston County School Board Chair Kate Darby, Vice Chair Eric Mack, and Audit and Finance Committee Chair Todd Garrett stated that 84 percent of black students and 41 percent of white students cannot read on grade level by 3rd grade. The three board members contend that Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait has received “ferocious pushback to changes” made by her and the board. They further contend that they have “restored fiscal discipline” in the school district, which increased its budget from $440 Million to $480 Million in one year.

Let’s look at the facts. The district suffered an $18 million shortfall in 2015. In order to gets its fiscal house in order, the district cut 107 teaching positions and raised taxes on commercial property owners. The majority of the teaching positions cut were for reading intervention teachers. Does it make sense to cut reading intervention programs and teachers when so many of our students can’t read on grade level? Former Principal Jake Rambo states that James B. Edwards Elementary went from three reading interventionists to one part time interventionist last year.

Darby, Mack, and Garrett also state that Postlewait “cut a net 85 jobs at the district office at 75 Calhoun Street.” That may be so but there are still a plethora of “educrats” at 75 Calhoun who are not directly impacting student learning and are earning fabulous salaries in comparison to their hard-working counterparts in the classroom. For example:

-Superintendent $228,260.00

-Deputy Superintendent $185,000.00

-Staff Attorney $142,156.80

-Associate Superintendent of Leadership Development $141,227.86

-Chief Operating Officer $139,535.42

-Associate of Student Support Services $136,108.80

-Executive Director of Learning Community $131,366.40

-Assistant Associate Superintendent $131,366.40

-Executive Director of Finance $131,366.40

-Executive Director of Facilities $131,366.40

These are just the top ten salaries. The highest paid teacher is 302nd on the salary list. In order to improve the dismal test scores in CCSD, the Superintendent and board need to cut the bureaucracy and use that money to hire more teachers to lower the number of students in each classroom and add instructional assistants in high poverty schools. CCSD should use the example of the Berkley County School District who cut eight positions this past July from the district office to save a million dollars.  This is a drop in the bucket in a $480 million budget, but it is a step in the right direction.

Robin Steinberger retired after 30 years from Charleston County School District as a high school special education teacher.  She is the education reporter for Lowcountry Source.  Please contact Robin at robin@lowcountrysource.com if you have tips to offer.  Your confidentiality will be maintained.