State Board of Education Reprimands Two Local Boards for Failing to Support Schools

July 9, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – July 9, 2008 – Acting on a recommendation from State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex, the South Carolina State Board of Education today issued public reprimands to two local school boards for “failing to provide support and direction” to a pair of schools that did not follow improvement plans mandated by state law.

The State Board approved resolutions that reprimanded the Allendale and Lee County boards of trustees.  The reprimands said that neither Fairfax Elementary School in Allendale County nor Mount Pleasant Middle School in Lee County had adequately documented efforts to reach their goals – and that their local school boards were ultimately accountable.

The local boards were “responsible for the instructional leadership of the district superintendent and school principal,” the resolutions said, and therefore responsible for the failure of the two schools to meet the law’s requirements.

Under the South Carolina Education Accountability Act, schools that get Unsatisfactory absolute ratings on their annual school report cards must set specific goals and develop strategies to achieve them.  The schools then must document their improvement efforts to independent external review teams appointed by the Education Department. 

Both districts sent administrators and board members to Columbia today, but they were unable to convince Rex and the State Board that Fairfax Elementary School and Mount Pleasant Middle School had taken timely steps between September 2007 and March 2008 to follow their plans.
According to the reprimands, “none of the 2007-08 Focus School Renewal Plan goals were met, and effort was not documented toward the implementation of any of the strategies that would support these goals.”

The resolutions also stated that two-member teams appointed by the Education Department would conduct on-site reviews of both schools in October 2008, January 2009 and April 2009, with the results being reported to the State Board.  In addition, the State Board required that members of the two local school boards, the district superintendents and both school principals appear before the State Board in December 2008 and May 2009 with updates on progress toward implementing the recommendations.