CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – State Representative Joseph Bustos has penned a letter to Governor Henry McMaster requesting the state Inspector General investigate the Charleston County School Board.
Bustos, who serves as chairman of the Charleston County Legislative Delegation, said the inquiry request follows recent controversial actions taken by the school board including placing the district’s new superintendent on paid administrative leave after only a few months on the job.
The Office of the Inspector General is the organization charged with oversight of the school boards in South Carolina and would need authority from the governor’s office to conduct its inquiry.
“It appears that a quorum of the board members held a meeting outside of the public view before their last meeting,” said State Rep. Bustos in his letter to Gov. McMaster. “The same board members then apparently went into executive session without having it on the agenda and then voted to have the newly hired superintendent placed on paid leave.”
Bustos said the board’s actions have left Charleston County residents “disturbed and angry.”
In an interview with News 2 on Tuesday afternoon, Bustos, who represents District 112, said his biggest concern is that the school board may have done something outside the view of the public and then conducted a proper executive session during the school board meeting.
“I just want them to look at it and what, if anything, was done incorrectly so I can make recommendations to the state legislature on how things should be changed – if they need changing. If they don’t, then we’re fine,” he said.
“I want to reassure the residents of Charleston County that I’m doing this because I think we need to protect the Charleston County taxpayer’s money. We don’t need to be paying people to be hired and then go away. And I want to reassure them that we are looking at what is the best process for their children’s education,” Bustos added.
Gov. McMaster’s office received the letter from Bustos on Sunday and is currently reviewing the request.
“The school district needs to follow the law,” McMaster told reporters on Tuesday. “The Freedom of Information Act is very clear. Everybody ought to follow the law…It does not look to me like the school board has done that.”
When asked whether the state would open an investigation, McMaster said: “If it get worse…but I don’t think we’re at that point yet.”