I'm open to any evidence to the contrary.
He has no vision and he doesn't listen.
How about meeting with the neighbors and the communities that will have to live with the cheap junk CCSD is the habit of building for the highest construction costs possible? What they aren't telling us is that these schools will actually see their programs reduced. Only Buist Academy will see major expansion of their facilities.
Memminger and Charleston Progressive Academy (Courtenay) had gyms. CCSD plans removed them. James Simons lost its auditorium with a botched CCSD renovation completed years ago.
Sixth grade classrooms will be reduced to only 2 per school. Science labs will only be the minimum required with no chance for future upgrades without great additional expense. That implies CCSD intends to dump those middle school grades from those schools in the near future. James Simons will not become a K thru 8 Montessori, no matter how much neighborhood support it gets. CCSD will then not have to deal with middle school facilities AND middle school academic issues. CCSD has failed badly at fixing its middle school report cards.
So what does that say about Anthony Dixon's comments? He appears to be more interested in fixing his report card, not improving his school's roots in the downtown community.
CCSD will not "huddle" with the community. It hasn't met with the community on any of these plans. They simply have said, "Here it is." The architects have been more open with the public than Bill Lewis. But then the architects know who is writing the checks and it's not the taxpayers.
To CCSD downtown public schools don't belong to the community. If CCSD really wants to bring back some of the 60% of downtown children who don't attend downtown public schools, then a sincere effort to involve downtown residents in the planning process might help.
I appreciated your article that appeared in the City Paper (Sept. 20, 2006) on constituent school boards and how they are seen as part of the effective administration county consolidated school district.
I would be interested in discussing this further and would like to know what your perceptions were of State Rep. Ben Hagood's understanding of exactly what these local boards were originally designed to do. In light of the discipline matter just handled by the Moultrie (Dist. 2) Constituent Board, I would like to know how he would propose having the county board handle all expulsion hearings (possibly as many as 60 cases county-wide twice each month) without infringing on a parent/student's right to a fair hearing and due process. As for the other local perspectives, I think Marvin Stewart (the Dist. 20 Board Chairman) summed it up very accurately. Perhaps it is the Charleston County School Board that may need to be abandoned.
The plan for constituent boards may be unique in SC, but it is not the only example of shared school administration in the US (as is often erroneously projected by CCSD officials). For example, NYC, the largest school district in the country also has constituent administrative districts. It would appear that NYC might even have considerably less diversity (rural vs. urban, geographic, et c.) than the nearly 100 miles of Charleston County's eastern front. Also consider that Charleston is also among the 100 or so largest school districts in the country... and there are more than 17,000 school districts in the US! So what is wrong with a managing a very large county school system that includes shared responsibilities with local boards in order to better identify and address unique local school issues?
Whatever the motivation of those that authored the original Act of Consolidation in 1967, it was clearly understood then that the 8 constituent boards were included in the overall design in order to perform specific services and assume certain responsibilities on behalf of local communities. It was also a critical condition for the successful passage of the state law that would create such a large single county school administration.
Should we consider doing away with the constituent boards out-of-hand without first trying to understand why they were established to begin with, then perhaps we should simply deconsolidate altogether. Contrary to what we believed in 1967, District 20 taxpayers are major contributors to the overall system's costs that far exceed our current expenses. If CCSD officials or others deny this, make them prove it by showing you their numbers. (Our FOI requests have all been ignored.)
The "experiment", as some called the Act of Consolidation when it was initially proposed, has certainly been very costly and ultimately destructive to what was once a very successful AND relatively well integrated public school system on the peninsula. That obviously ended with CCSD's assumption of all of our public school assets beginning in 1968 for little more than a promise of "love and affection" by CCSD toward the neighborhood schools and the students they served. Downtown residents have paid (for nearly four decades and mostly without complaint) the steadily increasing rate of county school property taxes collected in the name of improved public education for all. Over most of that period we have instead watched as downtown schools were reduced and Mt. Pleasant schools proliferated. Unfortunately downtown residents are seldom allowed to follow where their school money has been sent.
I really would like to know just what Rep. Hagood sees our predicament from his obviously more comfortable perspective as a resident East of the Cooper. Thank you for exploring this particular issue among the many unanswered questions that seem to be popping up all over the place. CCSD officials certainly aren't making any attempts to address our questions... either as individual citizens or as elected members of one of the eight constituent boards.
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