For months now, Spartanburg taxpayers have been royally outraged at the deceit and mismanagement displayed by disgraced Spartanburg District 7 figurehead, Superintendent Thomas White.
Somehow sensing that diverting education- designated dollars to a country club during a recession was a guaranteed ticket to taxpayer outrage, Superintendent White tried to rectify the situation… by doing it in secret.
This from The Herald Journal–
“District leaders still act as if there was nothing wrong with their decision earlier this year to give $325,000 of taxpayers’ money to a private country club to which three board members and the superintendent belong. They act as if there was no problem in discussing this plan behind closed doors, adding it to their agenda at the last minute, and basically doing what they could to keep the deal hidden… It wants its constituents to believe that there was nothing wrong with the deal or the secrecy in which it was made, that only a few troublesome individuals questioned it.
It’s nonsense, and the people know it. District leaders continue to erode public trust and confidence as they try to twist the perception of this issue.”
The Spartanburg based Herald Journal has a poor editorial and reporting track record on School Choice.
While parents from their readership area have written to the SHJ arguing for Choice, and driven to Columbia to personally pressure lawmakers for Choice, the paper continues to mis-repesent the details of Choice legislation, and the strength of its support.
Interestingly, the SHJ writers do recognize the existence of deep systemic flaws in Spartanburg public school governance.
These include wasteful spending, arrogance on the part of Superintendents, shady political posturing by public educators, and manipulation of SAT test score results.
Still, the paper has not been willing to push for specific reforms that will improve the situation. Chief among this would be School Choice. Continue reading
Tagged Education Opportunity Act, H. 3802, News and Views, public school transfer, S. 520, School Choice, South Carolina Educati, Spartan, Spartanburg, Spartanburg Herald Journal, Tuition Tax Credits
Across South Carolina the message of empowered parents and student-specific instruction is spreading.
Hundreds recently packed three separate rooms at a Senate hearing in Columbia, demanding that lawmakers move beyond political rhetoric and adopt real policies of School Choice. Policy experts, private school educators, and parents have come together to rally for a system of educational tax credits that fosters parental engagement, reduces student achievement disparities and saves money.
In addition to the grass roots advocacy and personal testimonies, many dedicated to School Choice are now making the case on opinion pages of newspapers across the state of South Carolina. Here are a four recent examples…
On Sunday April 26th, the Charleston Post and Courier editorialized “Give school tax credits a try:”
Expanding school choice expands educational opportunities. So why limit school choice to the public education system?
The obvious answer: politics. The education establishment remains a powerful force influencing state legislatures — and Congress. It also remains steadfastly opposed to helping even small numbers of poor children transfer to private schools from public schools that are shortchanging them.
Against that familiar backdrop, an S.C. Senate education subcommittee held a hearing at the Statehouse Thursday to consider arguments for and against proposed legislation that would provide tax credits and scholarships for low-income and special-needs children to transfer from struggling public schools to private schools [more].
Tagged Education Opportunity Act, Kerry Wood, Letter to the Editor, Neil Mellen, News and Views, Post and Courier, Robert Baker, Rock H, Rock Hill Herald, Spartanburg, Spartanburg Herald Journal, Summerville Journal Scene
Political Spin and AstroTurfing – paid for by you!
Spartanburg School District 7 is rapidly gaining in notoriety around the state. Unfortunately all the attention has been gained by unethical and unwise practices by the District 7 School Board, and by the monumental arrogance and ineptitude of Superintendent Thomas White.
Previous to the uproar over “Golf Gate,” White has taken every opportunity afforded by his position as a district employee to sanctimoniously tell parents that he knows what is best for families in Spartanburg County.
His favorite means of doing this? Telling parents that he has already provided every option that they could ever need for educating their child, so they should not be allowed to have any others.
Basically, it doesn’t matter how badly White and the board mismanage tax dollars, or how far short they fall of high academic performance in District 7, the district bureaucrats still fundamentally don’t believe parents could pick something better for themselves. Continue reading
On several occasions The Voice has publicized the heavy expenses incurred by school district superintendents who attend the annual taxpayer-subsidized South Carolina School Boards Association junket in Myrtle Beach.
Already, SCASA has begun encouraging members to register for the 2009 Summer Leadership Conference.
In theory, “SCASA Summer Conferences” may be a wonderful opportunity for district employees to gather and share best practices, but in reality it is a weekend of wining and dining in luxury accommodations, with the taxpayers back home picking up the bill. Continue reading
Parents in South Carolina want to have a say in where their children attend school, and some state employees who oppose the idea are scrambling to convince parents not to push for more options.
Spartanburg County has many public schools that outperform their counterparts in the state, but SAT scores show that achievement is still far behind similar districts in North Carolina. While many Spartanburg families are pleased with what local public schools have to offer, others prefer a private or Christian education for their children.
In a recent article in the Spartanburg Herald Journal, Spartanburg parent Brantlee Fulmer voiced her own concerns about where her three year old will attend school:
“ As a parent, I may or may not agree with the direction that a particular public school would go in…from a personal perspective, I prefer more of a Christian education. So, when the time comes I may choose to send my child to a Christian school.” Continue reading
Posted in POLICY
Tagged Cost Efficiency, David White, Educational Effectiveness, Funding, open enrollment, School Choice, school funding, South Carolina, South Carolina public schools, Spartanburg, Spartanburg District 7, testing
If you want to know how your taxes are spent you will have to pay.
In recent weeks The Voice has emphasized the need for transparency in school district spending by highlighting excessive and thoughtless spending by key school district administrators.
Without mechanisms like online check registries, taxpayers have little opportunity to see exactly how districts spend their money. Even under the Freedom of Information Act, interested parties may find that “free” information can be quite expensive.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) responses from the seven school districts in Spartanburg County show just how inaccessible district spending information is to concerned members of the community. Continue reading