CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District’s superintendent, board chair, and vice chair were in Columbia on Wednesday to meet with senators who are considering a bill that would dramatically change how board members are elected.
The bill, which passed unanimously in the House last week, has now been introduced in the Senate, but its future there is unclear.
If passed, it would put all the board members up for re-election this November. It would also make board members run within the same district lines as their county council member, rather than the current at-large postions.
“I felt really good about meeting with our senators yesterday and a house representative talking about a pathway moving forward,” CCSD Board Chair Rev. Dr. Eric Mack said. “I believe that as we go even further that the school board and the delegation will probably come close in working hand-in-hand trying to make things better for CCSD.”
The district and board representatives met with Senators Marlon Kimpson and Chip Campsen. They discussed the massive changes the board approved two months ago that merged some schools and closed others. After that is when the legislation was drafted and filed in the House.
“I told the board they attempted too many changes in too short a time frame without building support among parents, teachers, and administrators,” Campsen said. “They should go back to the drawing board on remaining controversial matters, communicate clearly, and build consensus.”
Kimpson said he doesn’t have a comment at this time.
“I’m hoping that the senators will come together and realize that the changes we have made within CCSD are needed changes,” Mack said. “Our goal is that we are really trying to do is improve the quality of education for every student that enters into our buildings. We’re hoping to work side-by-side with the senators or with the delegation totally in better improving CCSD to full capacity.”
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait said she does not have a comment to provide when asked about her visit.
“We have not attempted to move forward in order to continue discussions with the board at their request,” state Sen. Sandy Senn said. “The ball is in the board’s court for now, and I am hopeful we can come to some resolution.”
This legislation is not the only one being considered. Lawmakers have drafted a bill that, if passed by the end of this school year, would retroactively make the school board’s recent votes on broad-sweeping changes void. The legislation would require public approval for the closing or merging of schools and magnet programs.