HOLLYWOOD, S.C (WCBD) – The superintendent of the Charleston County School District came close to resigning this week, News 2 learned during a community meeting on Monday night.
Members of the community came together at St. Luke AME Church in Hollywood on Monday to show support for Superintendent Dr. Eric Gallien, who was placed on paid administrative leave on September 25th.
Meanwhile, it came to the public’s attention late Monday afternoon, a special called CCSD Board of Trustees meeting would be held on Tuesday. According to the agenda, the board would review and possibly take action on a “proposed settlement agreement and release from Dr. Eric Gallien.”
Three of the four CCSD board members who were not in favor of placing Dr. Gallien on paid administrative leave were in attendance on Monday night. Darlene Roberson, who represents District Eight, read a letter to the crowd from Dr. Gallien to his general counsel.
In the letter, he requested they withdraw their proposal for separation with CCSD as the superintendent. At this point, it had not been made clear to the public Dr. Gallien had been planning to resign.
Dr. Gallien was greeted with a standing ovation when he showed up at the tail end of the meeting.
Courtney Waters, who represents District Four, spoke to News 2 when the meeting ended. She said she learned this afternoon Dr. Gallien was in talks to end his contract with the district, but as told in the letter those plans changed.
“What occurred is that sometime in the late afternoon, we received notice that we would have a board meeting and the purpose of that board meeting was to accept his resignation or consider whatever the terms might be and to release him from his contract,” Waters said. “That was that settlement language. So, it didn’t pertain to the lawsuit, it was a new issue of I guess releasing him from his contract, but as shocked as you are, there’s certainly four of us who are shocked as well. I can’t speak for any other board member, but we had no idea those negotiations were happening.”
The controversial decision to place Dr. Gallien on leave has drawn in a lot of criticism from people who live in Charleston County and even lawmakers who have questioned the legality of the meeting. South Carolina Representative Wendell Gilliard (D) told News 2 he and some other legislators are about to prefile one or two bills in response to the situation.
“You know when we’re talking about stripping powers from the superintendent, having meetings behind his back. Things like that. We have to have criteria in place to say, ‘what if a board member does this,’ you know, ‘this board member should be expelled.’ You know, I look forward to things like that to come down the pipe,” said Rep. Gilliard of District 111.
Waters said it would be up to the board chair to decide if Tuesday’s special meeting would be canceled.