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Nobody Knows The Trouble Black Folks See
3/16/2016 4:37:56 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

Once again the Charleston County School Board is cutting staff and increasing classroom sizes in an attempt to decrease the deficit the district incurred due to over expenditures. At least, that’s their story and apparently they are sticking to it. The Board would have you believe they were not aware of expenditures leading up to the $18 million shortfall.

For a number of years, I have sat through the circus meetings at 75 Calhoun Street that are held under the guise of “what’s in the best interests of children.” Did I miss something? Which children are they referring to? Nothing much has changed, if anything, in how monies are spent in predominately black schools.

Recently, the Board approved a recommendation for Meeting Street Academy to educate students that live in Burns Elementary School’s attendance area. The old Brentwood Middle School is now the home of Meeting Street Elementary at Brentwood. As quiet as it is kept, it is a public school. It is one of the district’s few guinea pigs’ success stories. It is modeled after the Meeting Street Academy located in downtown Charleston.

Charleston County School District has failed to educate generations of minority students and the failure has created sustained disparities in the number of minority suspensions, expulsions, drop-outs and graduation rates--all of which have had a negative impact upon our communities.

I commend Meeting Street Academy on achieving notable success within shorter periods of time where Charleston County School District has failed. With that being said, why not let the Academy take over the entire school district and save the taxpayers millions of dollars? It would also be a way of getting rid of Board members that have catered to the “haves” while turning their backs on the “have nots”.

One reason the Board has not been on top of their spending game is they have been too busy bamboozling the public into “improving schools” and making decisions that are “in the best interests of children” that they have not been minding the shop. During the Board’s process of deception by design, they have handed out millions of unbudgeted dollars to preferential schools such as Wando & Math Science Charter.

According to the Board’s Forensic Audit, there may not have been any “thefts” but what about misappropriation and misallocation of funds? Will the public have access to the full audit results? Let’s see just where these funds were spent.

The Board is now faced with some tough decisions. Do they ask students to bring their own roll of tissue to school or do they cut back on the number of teachers receiving contracts? Another cost saving method to consider is whether to cut back on transportation costs and let “privileged” parents pay Uber to transport their children to school. Utilizing the savings, the Board could get rid of the old dilapidated buses and replace with new ones that can get children to school on time. When the community rallied against awarding Durham Bus Service a new five year contract based upon their poor record, the Board railed back and now they are confronted with the errors of their ways.

The Board has not done a good job in the assignment of teachers so I am sure the same will hold true for the cuts. Now that the Board finds itself up a creek without a paddle, the first place they are seeking to cut should be their last alternative due to their failure to education “all children” equitably. Children require more one on one attention in the elementary grades. Where children require more attention is where the Board recommends the bigger cuts. How can the Board justify increasing a first grade class from 20 to 23 when teachers already have enough on their plates?

Now, you are adding three more hyper active, sugar loaded, off the wall first graders to an already overloaded teacher—three more lesson plans, three more grading papers, three more dealing with parents, three more, three more. Let’s not hurry up with a quick fix and put a band aid where it’s not bleeding. Ideal class sizes should not be more than 15 students. The smaller the classrooms are the greater the chances for success.

Since the Board likes to throw rocks and hide their hands, let’s see where the rocks land.

Let’s see if the increased classrooms on the elementary level will be at predominately black schools. Let’s see how many minority teachers are not offered contracts.

Good luck to the parents of Stono Park Elementary School that are seeking a new school for their children. They should have had one years ago. My suggestion is to keep an eye out for the “slick talking” deceivers on the Board. Their excuse when the matter comes back up in September would be they can’t justify building a new school for a handful of students (minority). Charleston County School Board not only built a school on Sullivan’s Island for a handful of students, they built a school larger than what the parents on the island wanted. Parents, arm yourself with the facts!

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