Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The sports media’s slobbering love affair with Tiger Woods continues to amaze and amuse me. Sports Illustrated recently put Woods on the cover promoting the golfer saying he believes he is “capable of winning 20 majors.” Yeah, right. Just like Green Party candidate Eugene Platt is “capable” of winning the First Congressional District seat.
Then, after the Masters golf tournament, the Associated Press released a story that Tiger left Augusta National “empty handed once again.” The story was published in the sports section of our daily newspaper, and at the bottom of the page was the earnings list informing readers that Woods picked up a paycheck of $384,000 for four days work.
We should all be so “empty-handed.”
To the Sullivan’s Island Town Council members and mayor:
As we all now know Charleston County School Board has the flexibility and the capability to support schools of any size.
We also now know the Charleston County School Board redistricting plan, although in a holding pattern, only has just over 200 students allocated for Sullivan’s Island Elementary School. We additionally now know that Sullivan’s Island Town Council does not have the authority to decide on the validity of a certified and registered petition.
Also town council has spent thousands of dollars on legal fees objecting the latter point and even if insurance is covering ongoing expenses this will be reflected in higher premiums going forward whose cost will be borne by the taxpayers of Sullivan’s Island.
Your sworn duty is to do what is best for the residents of Sullivan’s Island, therefore I respectfully request you reverse your course.
Call a special town council meeting well before the council workshop on May 6 and ask your fellow council members to concur with a motion from yourself to hold a referendum regarding the smaller school at the earliest opportunity.
Should you decide against this course of action you are obviously by default going on official record and informing the residents of Sullivan’s Island, your constituents, that not only are you asking for their vote for your personal ambition but simultaneously denying their right to a vote and you don’t care how much of their taxes you spend in the process. I look forward to a meeting and your response.
James E. Marianski
(An open letter to Charleston County School superintendant Nancy McGinley and Terri Nichols, Associate Superintendent for Elementary Schools at Charleston County School District)
We believe the recent registration/re-enrollment requirements for Charleston County Schools are a bit excessive.
As background, we have two children currently enrolled in CCSD schools: One in second grade (Laurel Hill Primary) and one in fourth grade (Charles Pinckney Elementary).
First, the schedule: Both my wife and I work full time Monday - Friday outside Mount Pleasant.
The proposed time slots for documentation submission do not provide any flexibility to take care of this either going to or returning from work. Also, the last document submission window is listed as May 1 from 3-5 p.m. but free notary services are available on May 2 from 9-11 a.m. Shouldn’t these respective dates and services be switched?
Second, logistics: Per the notice, there are 27 available hours for parents to submit documentation. Laurel Hill and Pinckney both have more than 1,100 students currently enrolled. Even if those capacities remain unchanged (highly unlikely), all document submission, review and notary services have to happen at a rate of approximately one student per minute to get everyone through the system in the allotted timeframe.
This assumes, and these are big assumptions, that parents 1. have readily available transportation to/from the schools during the allotted times, 2. have all required paperwork on-hand and filled out/notarized and 3. have no questions/issues/etc. during the registration process.
I will be very surprised if Laurel Hill child No. 1,100 is successfully registered before 5 p.m. on May 1.
Let’s just be optimistic and estimate that 75 percent of children are successfully enrolled before the deadline.
How is CCSD going to deal with hundreds, possibly thousands (taking into account all schools), of disenrolled students?
Third, notarization requirement: As you’re likely aware, having a notary public witness a signature is primarily a risk management tool to prevent fraud and identity theft.
Having a document notarized does not necessarily mean the parties signing it understand what it says.
While I do not have any concrete statistics, I believe a significant portion of CCSD parents/guardians have never had anything notarized, nor do they really understand what it means. Is the student attendance misrepresentation/fraud really that bad to require notarization?
If nothing else, the 99 percent of us adhering to the rules are being punished for the actions of a very small minority attempting to circumvent them. All of this for a maximum $200 fine? (Hopefully nobody is going to prison.)
We moved to Mount Pleasant from San Diego, Calif., just over two years ago.
By comparison, the student enrollment process was still fairly robust, yet reasonable, in one of the largest school districts in the U.S.
The recent CCSD notarization requirement goes beyond that. On behalf of all CCSD parents/guardians, I ask that it be rescinded.
In closing, we have been very happy with our kids’ progress and experiences with CCSD schools after moving to Mount Pleasant. Your job is very challenging and often without acknowledgement. Please take this request into account before we’re having to get notarized forms prior to our kids’ participation in youth sports, etc.
If you’re like me, your eyes may glaze over at another letter or report regarding the Sullivan’s Island Elementary School Lawsuit. But they shouldn’t.
The key issue in this battle is people’s right to vote under the state’s citizen referendum law - and the arrogance of a local government blocking this precious right that Americans have died for.
This story is much larger than a school in one community. If Sullivan’s Island can use taxpayer money to fight and ignore state law — what’s keeping your hometown officials, your county officials and other elected officials from doing the same thing next time and ignoring the will of the people? It’s clear that Washington isn’t the only place where power goes to people’s heads.
Let Sullivan’s Island Town Council know their actions are setting a dangerous precedent.
And thank you to the brave people fighting this fight for all of us who believe in the right to vote - and rule of law.
As council member and current candidate for mayor of Sullivan’s Island, Mike Perkis stated after Judge Dennis’ ruling, “the Town did not expect to win its motion to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ case.”
They apparently knew it was a long shot.
For all taxpayers, that’s a truly unfortunate and very expensive attitude to take and sadly reflects Sullivan’s Island Town Council’s blind determination to steadfastly resist any valid challenge to its legally limited authority, regardless of the cost to its constituents.
At this point, especially as capacity and redistricting was and still is being discussed, a great deal is still very, very unclear with regard to how the actual deal on the school for Sullivan’s Island was made.
It is not clear when or how the negotiations first started.
It is not clear when or how the negotiations were conducted. It is not clear who from Sullivan’s Island and who from the school district actually participated and had decision making authority.
It is not clear why other reasonable locations were not properly investigated and considered.
It is not clear who ultimately drafted the lease.
It is not clear if, how or why any changes were made to the lease during the negotiations.
It is not clear why government officials have incorrectly argued that it would be “illegal” for the school to be smaller.
Why weren’t all conflicts of interest considered and properly addressed? Why are documented capacity issues with our waste water system not being publicly addressed?
Why was the lease drafted in such a way to excuse the building from going through the normal design review process?
Was this an incentive that the town council offered? Was this a factor that the Charleston County School Board discussed and considered?
Why was a legal certified petition, signed by more than 200 residents, ignored by town council even when it was presented prior to the ratification of the lease?
Certainly town council has been advised by their costly legal team, that it does not have that authority. Why hasn’t a referendum been held? So much for transparency.
For all citizens who follow the rule of law, there is a legal means by which any apparently ambiguous action by our elected officials can and should be called into question.
Our country prides itself on a system of checks and balances that must be honored and respected by our elected officials. Unfortunately, none related to this important decision have been acknowledged or adhered to.
In light of the court’s recent favorable ruling, and with an additional groundswell of broad support, we intend to pursue the facts from all involved to wherever they may lead.
We will uncover the truth, and insist that the rule of law is respected by all on Sullivan’s Island.
We will continue to challenge the town’s belligerent insistence that their own constituents are not entitled to a vote. Our petition is valid - this is Democracy 101. Let Sullivan’s Island vote.
The Charleston County School Board has mandated that any new school constructed in the county must serve at least 500 students. Construction specifications, based on national best practices, must be adhered to when building any new school.
A vocal minority of Sullivan’s Island residents proposed a referendum.
This referendum stated that the specifications of the Sullivan’s Island Elementary School building be no larger than the previous school building.
To meet construction specifications, only 200 students could be accommodated by a school of this size. Voting on building a school for 200 students when the Charleston County School Board has mandated a 500-student minimum invalidates this referendum.
This group complained that their right to vote on this referendum was denied, but in reality they were requesting an action that could not happen.
Therefore, our voter rights have not, in any way, been compromised.
Catherine M. Curtis
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