NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey has sent a letter to the Charleston County School District and Interim Superintendent Donald Kennedy expressing his concerns over the district’s “treatment of North Charleston’s students.”
It comes after State Representative Marvin Pendarvis presented three options for the future of North Charleston schools last month, one of which would pull them away from CCSD if the board voted to pass the controversial ‘Reimagine Schools’ initiative.
In the letter to CCSD, Summey said the school district receives approximately more than 21% of its property tax revenue from properties located within the city of North Charleston.
“However, North Charleston’s schools and students are treated as second best. Many of our school facilities are in shambles, enjoying few of the upgrades seen at schools in our neighboring municipalities. The city, its citizens, and its businesses bear the brunt of financially supporting CCSD, all while being short-changed,” said Summey in the letter.
Summey said North Charleston schools are among some of the most underperforming and struggling schools in the district.
“For example, two of the city’s feeder patterns perform so poorly as to be included as part of the “Reimagine Schools” proposal that CCSD is considering. This is alarming in two regards,” said Mayor Summey. “First, it is alarming that two North Charleston school zones are performing poorly enough to require drastic retooling. Second, incredibly CCSD solicited no meaningful city input when developing this proposal.”
He goes on to say, “It is commonly accepted that community change is impossible without community involvement. Yet without community input there can be no community involvement. CCSD’s “decide and dictate from Headquarters” approach to North Charleston is, sadly, not confined to the Reimagine Schools proposal.”
Mayor Summey said parents and elected officials in North Charleston have been complaining about CCSD’s mindset for years. He provided an example about the new District IV stadium, which he said was billed as a duplicate of the Wando Stadium. He said it “fails in comparison.”
“There is no track and Wando is not made to share its stadium with Beckham, as was promised. In contrast, four schools must share the District IV stadium,” he said.
“To make matters worse, the District IV stadium has little, if any, storage and the locker rooms are a disgrace. Matters are no better on CCSD school properties in North Charleston.:
Summey said the purpose of his letter was to put the district on notice that he and city council members were “extremely dissatisfied with the level of cooperation and communication” they are receiving.
The city, he said, is investigating ways to pull schools out of the district for “more competent management.” He has met with members of the legislative delegation about proposing the deconsolidation of CCSD, something he sees as a last resort, however.
News 2 reached out to CCSD for a comment, Interim Superintendent Donald Kennedy said, “We have received Mayor Summey’s letter. I feel confident that the Mayor, the CCSD Board Members, and District administration all share the goal of providing the best education possible for the children of North Charleston. We look forward to sitting down face-to-face with Mayor Summey and discussing these very important issues raised in his letter.”