School board convenes unannounced meeting at North Charleston church

School board convenes unannounced  meeting at North Charleston church
May 02 16:54 2018 Print This Article

The Charleston County School Board failed to comply with the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) when it held an unannounced meeting at the Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston. The FOIA law defines a meeting as “convening a quorum (majority of members) of the constituent members of a public body … to discuss or act upon matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or supervisory power.”

The nine school board members were notified of the event by e-mail from former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley through his e-mail address at The Citadel. School board members were asked to RSVP to Riley’s assistant at The Citadel, where he serves as an Endowed Chair of Government and Public Policy. Lowcountry Source has learned that the meeting was attended by six members – Chairwoman Kate Darby, Cindy Coats, Kevin Hollinshead, Priscilla Jeffrey, Eric Mack and Chris Staubes. Mayor Riley urged board members to display unity and to renew the contract of Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait. Postlewait’s contract expired in December 2017 and was not acted upon by the school board, automatically triggering a one-year extension.

Postlewait has been a controversial figure since being hired in 2015. Her decision to re-assign many school principals in 2017 and adopt a new teacher evaluation system without school board approval prompted several protests at the Charleston County School District (CCSD) headquarters a year ago. Citizens have also expressed concern over fiscal management at CCSD. School board officials have already projected a $43.5 Million budget shortfall for the 2020-2021 school year, which would wipe out the district’s reserve fund.