RIDGELAND, S.C. (WSAV) — Year-round classes, staff shortages and the separation of schools are a few of the issues parents in the district said they have concerns about. But they feel their concerns aren’t being heard.
On Tuesday, members of the school board held a town hall meeting. But they said they weren’t there to answer those questions, rather to explain what they can and can’t do when it comes to making decisions.
Carolyn Bolden, board chair, spent an hour-and-a-half going page by page, trying to make it clear that she and other members cannot make district decisions.
“You elected us as the board members to elect and hire a superintendent,” Bolden said. “The superintendent is the CEO of the district. The superintendent runs the district. The board does not run the district. We hire the superintendent to run and manage the district.”
Bolden said the board has three main jobs: adopting the budget, making policies and holding the superintendent responsible for implementing them.
Between 2010 and 2018 the district had six superintendents — half of who were in the position for one year- and three interims, according to Bolden. The current superintendent, Dr. Rechel Anderson, has been in the position since July 2018.
Parents said they’re frustrated and feel left in the dark with unanswered questions about ongoing issues in the district. On Tuesday, some were upset that the entire board and superintendent weren’t present.
“I could’ve read this,” one parent said, referencing the board’s presentation. “I’m sorry, I’m not trying to talk down to you. But I could’ve read this. This is belittling.”
“The superintendent was never going to be here,” Bolden said.
“But she said it on the news,” the parent replied.
“She said it on the news that the board officers were coming to have an informational clarity for you to understand what is the roles of a board member,” Bolden said.
Bolden said the superintendent was out of town for a family emergency.
While parents couldn’t ask some of their questions about district issues, the board said they are working to build stronger community relations with families to help get those issues resolved.
“We’re not anywhere near perfect,” Bolden said. “We still are flawed and we asked your support so that we can correct ourselves by when you ask us questions we’re not put in positions that we have to compromise being a board member and a community member.”
Bolden said Tuesday’s town hall is the first of many. Parents said at the next one, they’d like to see all board members and the superintendent there. The school board meets on the second Monday of every month, with their next meeting on May 9.