Post Tagged with: "Horry County School Board"

Horry County School Board – Staff Disconnect

August 29, 2016 6:56 AM
Horry County School Board – Staff Disconnect

An ongoing renovation at North Myrtle Beach High School demonstrates an apparent disconnect between responsibilities of Horry County School Board members and the staff employed to carry out board decisions.

This is not a new problem. It dates back approximately 15 years to the time that former Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait effectively neutered the board with a policy governance system that allowed the board to be little more than a rubber stamp for staff decisions.

Many of the board members at that time deserve their own share of the blame for voting to adopt the “policy governance” system.

The school board is elected by the voters to set school district policies. It is the job of the staff to carry out these policies.

Last year, some senior staff members did all they could, including a public disinformation campaign, to keep First Floor Energy Positive from receiving contracts to build five new schools in the district.

Ultimately, the board voted to award the contracts to First Floor over considerable opposition from staff.

This year, the North Myrtle Beach High School renovations demonstrate the disconnect remains.

In 2015, the Horry County School Board approved a specific list of renovations to the school with an overall budget of $21,086,340.

According to District 1 school board member Holly Heniford, that list of renovations has apparently been reduced in some areas and increased in others without board approval.

Additionally, a line item for “Fire protection installation” appears in one area of the budget while a line item for “Fire alarm replacement” appears in another area of the budget with the cost for each line item, $1,055,130, identical. Is this not a duplication of the same work?

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David Cox in School Board District Four Race

May 10, 2016 7:24 AM
David Cox in School Board District Four Race

David Cox, a veteran of two terms of service on the Horry County School Board, is seeking to represent a new district in the upcoming general election.

Cox was first elected to the school board by the citizens of District Nine in 2008 and was reelected in 2012.

Recently, however, Cox and his family moved to a new home in District Four.

“We took advantage of an opportunity to purchase property at a good price,” said Cox. “I expected to complete my second term and that would be all I would serve.”

After Kay Loftus, the school board member for District Four, passed away several months ago, Cox decided to run for the vacant seat.

“I felt I could bring my experience to the citizens as District Four goes through some significant changes in the next several years,” said Cox. “Four of the five new schools we recently contracted to build will be in District Four.”

Currently serving as Vice Chairman of the school board, Cox listed several of the initiatives he is proud of over his two terms of service:

Lowered the tax millage rate by 18 mils
Continuing improvement SAT and ACT scores among high school students
Implemented Professional Device 4 Learning for students Grade 3 and up
Continuing increase of college scholarship money earned by Horry County high school seniors ($67 million total by 2015 Horry County Schools graduates)

The Professional Device 4 Learning initiative gives each child their own I Pod linked to a central I Pod so the teacher can monitor the work of each individual child.

“I believe it gives every student a level playing field by allowing each student to learn at his or her own pace,” said Cox. “We all know that no two students learn in exactly the same way. This allows each student to learn at their own pace, yet still reach the final learning goals for the year.”

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The Social Issue of Transgender Bathrooms

May 5, 2016 4:37 AM
The Social Issue of Transgender Bathrooms

Any time a controversial social issue comes to the fore, it brings along with it a variety of opinions that become so heated that rational thought becomes blurred.

The question of transgender bathrooms in Horry County schools has exploded into such an issue. The debate on this potent issue includes public fears, religious morality and political involvement.

At one time, this type of dilemma would not have been on anyone’s agenda as to many it is a non-issue. However, right now it is a hot topic as the controversial transgender bathroom is getting public and media attention no one thought possible.

Two days ago the Horry County School Board passed a resolution to say the administration would follow the law as it now stands (allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify or a private bathroom, whichever they prefer).

The school board also passed a motion to file an amicus curiae brief in support of the Gloucester (VA) County School Board, the agency in the middle of a lawsuit on transgender bathroom use.

Parents of non-transgender students continue to question the morality and safety of the decision. Parents of transgender students worry about the safety and stigmatization of their children.

For the reader…If you want to be a compassionate individual, try having a person’s anxiety who has a transgender body and their torment. Imagine the turmoil of how they feel trapped within a body they don’t want to have, but are not able to fully be the one they want to be. It is a self-torturing conundrum to have, trying to break loose from a feeling of frustration to one of freedom. For them it must be a joy to be able to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.

On the other side of the coin, is the moral consciousness of people who believe such a decision is immoral and sacrilegious to the core of morality. To them, crossing over from one gender to another is blasphemous.

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Transgender Bathroom Issues Hit Horry County Schools

April 29, 2016 7:11 PM
Transgender Bathroom Issues Hit Horry County Schools

(Above Shanda Allen with husband Al Allen)

Over the past 48 hours, Horry County has literally exploded in comments about transgender bathroom usage in Horry County Schools.

The Horry County School Board has been the focus of this deluge of communications, mostly by parents opposing transgender students being allowed to use the bathroom of their choice.

Last week, a three judge panel at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision, in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, that a Virginia school discriminated “on the basis of sex” in violation of Title IX when it barred “G.G.,” a “transgender boy” (a girl who identifies as a boy) from using the boys’ restroom.

Previously, the school had allowed the student to use either the girls’ bathroom or one of the school’s single stall bathroom units created by the school to accommodate transgender students, but open to usage by all students.

Forcing the student to use a common area bathroom with a gender she didn’t identify with or to use a special single stall bathroom was determined discriminatory by the panel of judges.

The Horry County School Board faces the same type of situation with a transgender boy who was suspended from school for using the boys’ bathroom.

After the suspension, Horry County Schools was notified in a letter from the Transgender Law Center that it faced a lawsuit if students were denied usage of the bathroom of the gender with which they identify and live as on a daily basis.

Earlier this week, Horry County Schools released a statement, “The District maintains the privacy of all of its students. The District seeks to accommodate the individual needs of its transgender students in compliance with the law, including Title IX. We will continue our efforts to ensure a welcoming school environment for all students.”

That statement opened a deluge of communications from parents concerned with the idea of students of one gender using the bathroom of the opposite gender regardless of the gender with which the individual identifies himself or herself.

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Important Week for Political Junkies

March 14, 2016 5:29 AM
Important Week for Political Junkies

One of the most important weeks of the year for political junkies in the area is upon us.

On Tuesday, they should get a reasonable idea of how long the Republican Party can hold off the nomination of Donald Trump for president with another round of ‘Super Tuesday’ primaries in five important states.

For locals, however, Wednesday is even more important as filing opens at noon for a number of local offices and all seats in the SC General Assembly.

And the dynamics involved in this year’s political races make them even more interesting for those who follow politics.

Five countywide statutory offices are up for election – Auditor, Clerk of Court, Coroner, Sheriff and Treasurer. Normally these races bring little excitement, but this year two will be open seats and two more are expected to be contested.

Clerk of Court Melanie Huggins Ward and Treasurer Roddy Dickinson have announced they are retiring leaving their seats up for grabs in the primaries and general election.

Two others, Auditor Lois Eargle and Sheriff Philip Thompson are reported to have opposition this year for the first time in a number of years. Only Coroner Robert Edge appears not to have any opposition as filing opens.

Horry County Council will have five seats, Districts 3,4,6,9 and 10 up for election, as well as a special election to fill the unexpired term of retired member James Frazier in District 7.

To make it more interesting, council member Jody Prince is retiring, leaving his District 10 seat open and council members Jimmy Washington in District 3 and Cam Crawford in District 6 will be running for election for the second time in two years as both were elected to office in special election in 2015.

We are hearing reports of possible contested elections in Districts 3 and 9 at this time with District 10 having a number of possible candidates for the open seat. The District 7 seat is expected to have contests in both party primaries as well as the general election.

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Questions Continue on Horry County School Board Largesse

December 16, 2014 7:11 AM
Questions Continue on Horry County School Board Largesse

A day doesn’t go by without questions being asked about the generous severance package the Horry County School Board recently awarded to departing Superintendent Cindy Elsberry.

The most common – “How do you give that kind of money to someone who quit their job?”

A glimmer of light began to show when Elsberry answered questions from the media after her last school board meeting as superintendent Monday night.

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Horry County School Board Owes Public Answers

December 12, 2014 6:43 AM
Horry County School Board Owes Public Answers

The Horry County School Board has completely mishandled the resignation of Superintendent Dr. Cindy Elsberry.

To pay someone who has resigned their position nearly $430,000 of taxpayer money with no explanation and then to use a disparagement clause in the negotiated agreement as the excuse for not talking is the height of arrogance.

Board chairman Joe DeFeo may be influenced by his New Jersey roots in thinking ‘Silence is Golden’ on this issue but it isn’t playing well among voters.

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