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Bobby Resignation, Coats Re-election Spells Shortfall For Black Students
Published:
11/18/2015 3:59:23 PM


Cindy Bohn Coats
 

Chris Collins
 

Michael Bobby
 
By Barney Blakeney


In a matter of a few days Charleston County School District has taken two hits some say will create even more adversity for the district’s nearly 50 percent Black student population. Last week the county’s consolidated school board re-elected its chair Cindy Bohn Coats to another term at the helm and this week Chief Financial Officer Michael Bobby resigned after the revelation the district faces an $18 million budget shortfall.

Re-electing Coats board chair probably is the worse thing that could happen, said veteran board member Rev. Chris Collins. Coats’ leadership style lends itself to manipulation behind the scenes that often leaves other board members in the dark, he said. Bobby’s resignation couldn’t come at a more critical time as the board faces financial decisions that require open and comprehensive communications, he said.

With three new members joining the board last November shoring up an already decisively conservative nine-member body, Coats' fourth term as chair likely will continue the board’s bent toward special interests that neglect the needs of the most challenged predominantly Black schools, Collins said.

Bobby’s resignation on the heels of preliminary audit reports that indicate the district has over spent its budget for at least five years without the board’s knowledge comes at a terrible time when the board most needs competent leadership, he said.

Absent the revelation of any illegal activity regarding the shortfall, Collins said its impact most likely will affect predominantly Black schools where resources are most needed.

“The funds has to come from some place. We can’t take it from employees. So we’ll have to find a way to raise the money. With the district’s history, we’re not in a good place,” Collins said.

North Charleston Constituent Dist. 4 Chair James Perry said he’s afraid the impact of Coats’ re-election and Bobby’s resignation amid the budget shortfall will most impact students in the predominantly Black district that is the county’s largest.

Despite being re-elected consolidated board chair by a 6:3 margin, Coats has not demonstrated the leadership as North Charleston’s area representative that indicates its students will fare any better. The district is the largest constituent district and has the highest number of low performing schools.

“The ones at the bottom always get cut and the squeaky wheel always gets the oil,” Perry said. “I think things are looking dim. With the shortfall we will see cutbacks. And with a board that supports certain schools while others fall through the cracks, there’s no hope for schools like North Charleston High that are predominantly Black.”
 

Visitor Comments

Submitted By: Jay Submitted: 11/22/2015
I'm not surprised. This board has gone down the toilet since she's been the board chair and it has been even faster since Gerrita showed up.


 
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