Lawmakers frustrated with Charleston County School District - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Lawmakers frustrated with Charleston County School District

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Members of the Charleston Legislative Delegation in Columbia say they burned precious political capital to help the Charleston County School District (CCSD), and say the district wasted their effort.

On May 27th, Charleston Rep. Leon Stavrinakis introduced H5316, at the request of the district, and it moved through the SC House and Senate as fast as legally possible. Lawmakers say they received assurances from the governor's office that it would be signed early Thursday (6/5/14) afternoon, and an unnamed district official assured them school would be canceled...except it was not.

Rep. Leon Stavrinakis posted on his Facebook page that he was told by the district on Thursday, that school would be canceled the next day.

"Have to say I don't understand why they had us spend so much time on this bill, then tell us they were canceling only to change their minds and not tell us", Stavrinakis wrote. "We moved heaven and earth to get this bill drafted, introduced, 3 readings in the House, 3 readings in the senate, ratified by Lt. Gov. & Speaker and signed by the governor in only 5 1/2 Legislative days. I don't think words can properly convey how rare and difficult of a feat that is."

Part of the reason the bill sailed through the senate, is Grooms told his colleagues that it would save the district $2M by not having to make-up one of the days missed due to the ice storms earlier this year. A number other lawmakers said is the reason they agreed to support the legislation in the first place. Couple that with a reported $6M budget hole for 2014-2015, and Grooms is among those who are frustrated.

"A Six million dollar shortfall is a huge shortfall, and there's going to have to be some cuts somewhere along the way to make it happen. But then you hear that there was an opportunity to save two million dollars, and they blew it", said Grooms in a telephone interview.

We reached out to the Charleston County School District, and spokesman Jason Sakran said in an email, that Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley makes the final call. 

"Superintendent McGinley supported the bill, but again the reason we decided not to cancel school was mainly based on timing, not the content or intention of the bill", Sakran Wrote.

The timing issue, meant parents would have little time to react to a school being canceled on June 6.

Grooms says he expects the Charleston delegation to invite the district to explain to them what happened.
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