Is Anderson District 4 Inept?

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Big Spending District 4 Board members aren’t interested in transparency or accountability.

Some folks in Anderson District 4 like to think “their” public schools are good.

They argue that while “those” kids in Hampton, Clarendon and Florence languish in crumbling failing schools, the bedroom middle class white suburban schools of Anderson are competitive.

Never mind that Anderson 4’s SAT scores are 129 points behind the public schools in North Carolina serving similar students.

Never mind that according to state-issued PACT scores a mere 26 percent of 8th grade students are “proficient” in reading.

And never mind that per student spending is a shocking $12,365.00.

Still, some parents and lawmakers will swear up and down that despite a statewide worst-in-the-nation drop out rate, somehow Anderson 4 is “different.”

But it is not. And low student performance is just the start.

In addition to the shameful test scores, there is a rising chorus of whistle blowing insiders calling attention to ineptitude and cronyism by members of the Anderson District 4 School Board.

Among the murmurs the Voice has recently heard from well-sourced observers and even disgruntled district staffers:

-A retired superintendent is still on payroll despite being on “extended sabbatical leave.” His take-home “salary” of fringe benefits, generous expense accounts and annuities is said to reach well into the six-figures.

– The bid process for demolition of a football stadium was “extended” at the last minute, giving a well-informed school board member’s in-law the opportunity to submit a late bid for the lucrative contract.

– District Board members further eroded staff trust by personally lobbying for (and voting on) the employment contracts of their immediate and extended families.

– The land for a new school (New Mount Lebanon) is said to have been bought from, surveyed by, and negotiated through family and friends of sitting board members.

– Frustrated parents looking for copies of Board meeting minutes believe that the Directors regular hold “meetings” without the required public announcement, often in private residences.

These are all very serious accusations. The blaring appearance of impropriety is rapidly eroding public trust in the board. Based on the low test scores, it is surprising there is any trust remaining at all.

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