Groups at odds over controversial proposal to ‘reimagine’ Charleston County schools

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Coastal Community Foundation’s (CCF) ‘Reimagine Schools’ proposal has many Charleston County parents, staff, and community groups on high alert.

According to CCF’s website, the plan would “create three inclusive community commissions that will determine turnaround plans for many of the underperforming schools in their communities located in the most economically challenged areas of the school district.”

The proposal targets over 20 schools in Downtown Charleston, North Charleston, Hollywood, Ravenel, and John’s Island with student populations made up predominately of minorities.

Two recent meetings led the CEO of CCF, Darrin Goss, to address community concerns and principles of the schools in question.

The concerns being raised include claims that CCF has little to no prior experience with school operations. Another is why CCSD would choose to utilize an outside party instead of funneling the money directly into the schools in need. A third concern stated by parents is why the district isn’t able to provide an equal education to all students.

“What this is trying to do is at first to give parents and those who are most affected by the schools the opportunity to reshape those schools. To envision for themselves and their students, what’s the best possible way to educate our children,” said Goss.
Community organizations including Stand as One and the Lowcountry Black Parents Association are opposing the vote.

The following is a statement from Stand as One:

“The community is concerned with the vague details in the Reimagine Schools Proposal as well as the lack of transparency to the community. The $32 million privatization proposal for “change management” of 23 CCSD schools was presented to the school board four days before winter break and without any public input. This third-party-operator privatization push is not supported by the community or by any evidence of successful school reform. The vague and incomplete proposal is yet another disruptive experimentation on predominantly black and brown communities. Turning public schools over to redundant, appointed commissions and private organizations is blatant obstruction of fair representation and a waste of resources that should be directed into classrooms. By granting appointed commissions the power to make governance and operational decisions for individual schools, the initiative would take away school ownership from school-level staff and families. The school board plans to vote on this sweeping proposal during a time of leadership instability. In addition to questions about the future of the superintendent position. Ms. Fraizer’s interactions with Coastal Community Foundation’s proposal without alerting any of her elected district brings great concerns. We believe this is why she insisted the vote happened on December 13th. So things would be in place before the community had a chance to challenge it. Politicians are supposed to represent the will of the people and not their own personal intentions. The week before a vote is not enough time to suddenly want the community concerns or convince them this proposal has substance to benefit their community. For all of these reasons, this ill-conceived proposal should be rejected. CCSD should invest all $32 million directly into our schools.”

A press conference will take place Friday January 7th to encourage parents to make their voices heard as well as ask CCSD board members to vote ‘no.

The vote is set for January 10th.

This is a developing story, Check back for updates.

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