New law allows SC Education to lead fire commissions after takeover

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) – New law in South Carolina allows the state’s director of education to fire the entire school board in districts where too many schools have been found to be “underachieving.”

The law, signed by Governor Henry McMaster after easily passing the House and Senate, comes into effect in July 2022.

It allows the principal to declare a state of education emergency in school districts where 65% or more of schools are rated “underachieving” for three consecutive years on the Department of Education’s annual report cards.

If the State Board of Education agrees with the superintendent on the emergency declaration, the district school board is fired and officials will have at least six years to take control of the district and try to improve it.

The state currently operates districts in Allendale County for the second time as well as in Williamsburg County and Florence District 4. Current Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said experiences so far l ‘prompted lawmakers to add the provision to get rid of school board members. .

“In the three districts where we declared a state of emergency, there was negligence on the part of some school board members, and those same members continued to distract us while we were working there,” he said. Spearman said in an interview with The State newspaper. . “It was then that it occurred to me that the best solution would be to dissolve these councils.”

If a district shows three years of progress, an interim council is chosen by the superintendent of education, the governor, and local lawmakers. The board sits for at least three years before local school board elections can begin again.

The law is uncertain whether Spearman can get rid of boards of directors in districts the state already manages. Education Ministry officials are calling on lawmakers to clarify this next year.

The South Carolina School Boards Association can take legal action if boards in districts already under state control are fired because action in those districts was not taken under the new law, the door said. -says Debbie Elmore.

Elmore said his association is also reviewing other parts of the law for possible legal action.

Williamsburg County School District President Marva Cannion said it would not be fair to remove her from office as she was elected in 2018 on the promise of improving the district after taking office. ‘State.

“We’re just sitting here waiting to see what the state decides,” Cannion, a retired director of special education, told the newspaper. “They understand that we want to serve and be part of the solution, not the problem.”

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About Jennifer Schuman

Jennifer Schuman

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