By Beverly Gadson-Birch
By the time you read this article, it will be all over but the shouting. It’s been a tough stretch to the finish line and I am sure everyone is ready to exhale. Hopefully, persons elected will be the face of a new Democracy—one that tells the truth, respects women, builds relationships across the aisle and abroad, and restores the American people’s confidence in our great nation.
I am particularly concerned about the school board and its separatist agenda. There is a move in this country that is filtering down from the top to dismantle public schools as we know them. There are a couple of things going on to validate my concerns. Look around you at groups springing up, their agenda and their move towards Charter and special interest schools.
Take a look at two high schools in Charleston County. According to US News, Wando High School in Mt. Pleasant enrollment is roughly 4,068. 82% of the students are white, 11% black, 3% Hispanics, 2% Asians, two or more races 2%, 0.1% American Indian/Alaskan Native and 0.1% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.
During the last referendum in 2014, voters approved $8.1 million to build a stadium for Wando, a suburban town. That amount has since doubled to $16.5 million. How many years have students at Burke High School been waiting for a stadium? And, what do they get? Read on!!
Six months ago, Mr. Bowers from the Post and Courier did an article on Burke’s stadium entitled “Burke High’s stadium is sinking into the Ashley River. A fix is in the works, but not a replacement.” What is the Board doing about Burke’s stadium at Stoney Field? They approved $1 million dollars to bring in some dirt “to compress the field” to help with the erosion and add artificial turf. The funding comes from the same 2014 referendum. Burke’s enrollment has steadily declined over the years due in part to gentrification and lack of parity from the Board. Burke has 324 students, 100% minority and is an inner-city school. When the Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Borowy, was asked about the exorbitant cost, he said “the district wanted to keep up with the quality of other stadiums in the state”. Give me a break!! Are you telling me the same treatment doesn’t apply to students at Burke? The evidence is there for all to see. I don’t make these stories up.
The Marvin Gethers incident, a major misstep by CCSB, will not go away regardless of the outcome of the election. According to Live 5 News website, they have requested information under FOIA regarding the Gethers’ case and the Board’s response was “it would cost some $11,000”. Live 5 has since narrowed their search request down to reduce the cost. The Board has been reluctant about turning information over regarding Gethers. I am sure at this point they are acting on advice from their attorney. So, here is my advice to the Board. When it comes to the children who were at Dunston Elementary when Gethers allegedly molested a student or students, the parents have a right to know what happened, when it happened and to whom it happened. The public wants to know who knew what and when.
Charleston County School Board, y’all might as well “come clean”. The longer you wait, there could be more students who need help. Come clean y’all, come clean!!