CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District disputed claims by a civil rights group that minority businesses were not being allowed to bid on construction projects.
The National Action Network called for an investigation into a lack of diversity in the awarding of construction contracts for minority contractors from the Charleston County School District Board.
"The current district contract for program management and the current solicitation are competitively bid with small, women and minority business enterprise as a ranking factor," CCSD spokesman Andy Pruitt said.
NAN South Carolina President Elder James Johnson said the school district has awarded construction contracts to Cumming Construction Management for the last 17 years and said his group planned to send a letter to the attorney general requesting an investigation.
Pruitt said Cumming Construction Management, formerly Southern Management, has been one of the program management firms for 17 years but said each contract was awarded through a competitive bid process.
"We look forward to presenting the attorney general with any information on our state-approved procurement policy," Pruitt said.
"In the past 17 years, there were one to eight percent of contracts awarded to minorities," Johnson said. "We hope that the county Charleston County School District would follow Charleston County in awarding anywhere from 30 to 35 percent to minority contractors.The organization wants to see a change as soon as possible."
Pruitt said the Capital Building Program averages 20 percent to SWMBE contractors and the current program management contract has 30 percent of the work award to SWMBE firms.