No action taken after hours-long Charleston Co. School Board meeting

A special called meeting to discuss the contract of the Charleston County School District’s newly hired superintendent ended Monday night with no action.
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 11:20 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2023 at 5:28 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A special called meeting to discuss the contract of the Charleston County School District’s newly hired superintendent ended Monday night with no action being taken.

The Charleston County School District Board of Trustees held the meeting to address two things: Charleston County School District Superintendent Dr. Eric Gallien’s contract, which began July 1, and an undisclosed personnel matter.

The meeting was supposed to start at 5:15 p.m., but was delayed until 7 p.m. because of discussions from a Committee of the Whole meeting. After a roughly five-hour session, the meeting wrapped up around 8:30 p.m. with every seat filled from start to finish.

Those in attendance waited for a response from the board, but instead were left with silence, a brief adjournment and a room filled with unanswered questions.

After a brief discussion from the board and some concerned input from the crowd, the board went into executive session to discuss the matters privately.

The details of that discussion were not disclosed to the public.

The board voted 6-3 to approve Gallien’s contract in July after a year-and-a-half-long search to fill the vacant position.

After just two months in the new role, Monday night’s meeting raised questions from board and community members alike.

The members claimed there was “a lack of transparency” over what they called a “secretive special called meeting.”

“The five of you apparently know why we’re going in to discuss the superintendent contract,” Board of Trustees member Darlene Roberson said. “There are four of us who are going in without knowing what personnel matter we are discussing.”

Others on the board claimed there was a simple misunderstanding.

“I had enough common sense to go back and call somebody to find out what was going on. What I do not like is people wringing my character, my integrity into question,” Board of Trustees member Carlotte Bailey said.

Community members question Charleston County School District special meeting

Tempers were high and tensions were flaring. The ending left those in attendance in awe as they left with more questions than they came in with and the outrage from the crowd was more than evident.

“We knew what the agenda was. They wanted to fire the superintendent, right? They could at least come out here and tell us if they passed it,” community activist Elvin Speights said. “I mean this is ridiculous. The man hasn’t been here for 70 days. They didn’t give the man a chance to do his job. You know? You’re gonna fire a superintendent in the middle of the school year? That’s how you fail a system.”

“The outrage is this: You saw the report. The record increase in achievements by students in this district across all racial lines,” Vice President for the National Action Network Rev. Nelson B Rivers III said. “Particularly black and brown students. So why would you now want to change the effort to get rid of the superintendent? What it’s really about, what I think it is, is flat out I think it’s flat-out racism.”

Live 5 reached out to other Charleston County School District Board of Trustees members for comment.

Board member Daron Calhoun said it was a “it was a complete waste of time.”

The next board meeting is set for Sept. 25 the agenda for that meeting has not been released, and no word on if this topic will come up again.