Legislators ignored by CCSD

Legislators ignored by CCSD
November 14 19:57 2019 Print This Article

On November 1, 21 of 22 Charleston County Legislative Delegation members signed a letter to the Charleston County School Board and Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait asking for a delay on massive policy change votes until meeting with them and engaging the public. The school board ignored the request and pressed ahead with a committee meeting November 11 in which a large majority of board members endorsed most of the sweeping policy changes recommended by Postlewait. Most of the changes could be pushed through Monday, November 18 while others will be delayed until Monday, December 16.

Legislators did not appear at the November 18 meeting, but Senator Sandy Senn and Representative Wendell Gilliard both appeared on Live 5 News Thursday, asking for a pause in the rapid changes being proposed. Among the changes that could be approved Monday are closing schools, consolidating schools, turning over control of 15 low-performing schools to non-profit entities, and eliminating various school choice programs. Senn called the hasty policy changes “a slap in the face” to area legislators.

The 15 “acceleration schools” that are being considered for takeover by non-profits would require waivers from the South Carolina Board of Education, which has its next meeting Tuesday, December 10. Former school board member Larry Kobrovsky represents Charleston County on the state board and opposes the measure. If it models the waiver given to the Meeting Street at Burns non-profit, the takeover entities would receive the per pupil Title 1 allotment for high-poverty students plus an addition $3000 per student. There are five non-profit entities which are being considered for the public-private partnerships. None of the applicants have been disclosed to the public.

One of the recommendations to be considered Monday is merging the two CCSD West Ashley middle schools. The 6th grade students would all be located at the former Middleton High School building, while the 7th and 8th grade students would move into the new C.E. Williams building on the West Ashley High School campus. At a May workshop to consider West Ashley school changes, none of the approximately 100 participants thought that combining the middle schools was a good idea. The agenda for the November 18 school board meeting is not yet available on the CCSD website.