NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A lawmaker is renewing his call for North Charleston to establish its own school district following a contentious Charleston County School District board meeting that resulted in the district’s newly-hired superintendent being placed on paid administrative leave.
Board members voted 5-4 Monday night to place Dr. Eric Gallien on leave even though he has been on the job for less than three months. Community activists believe the action came without merit and feel those on the board who were in favor of the move are backed by the conservative political organization Moms for Liberty.
State Representative Marvin Pendarvis has been vocal about the idea of removing North Charleston area schools out of the district over myriad issues including a push last year to create three community-based funding proposal known as “Reimagine Schools.”
Rep. Pendarvis said in a Tuesday morning news release that the recent incident involving the school board “further underscores the board’s dysfunction” which he believes “takes precedence over the pursuit of increased educational outcomes for students.”
He also believes North Charleston students will take the brunt of the board’s “dysfunction.”
“The unfortunate reality is that this School Board appears more focused on dysfunction than on improving educational outcomes for our students,” said Rep. Pendarvis. “This hurts North Charleston students more than anyone. It’s time for our community to have the autonomy to make decisions that prioritize student success over internal discord.”
Rep. Pendarvis filed a bill (H.4043) earlier this year to create the North Charleston School District, abolish Constituent School District No. 4, and establish a seven-member board of trustees to govern the North Charleston schools.
The bill would also transfer assets and liabilities from Constituent District No. 4 to the North Charleston School District.