CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – State Representative Marvin Pendarvis said he stands ready to remove North Charleston from the Charleston County School District if the board passes the controversial ‘Reimagine Schools’ initiative.
Rep. Pendarvis is exploring three options which would include either pulling the city out of the district altogether, separating it into an individual district, or dissolving the school board.
The multimillion-dollar third-party proposal promises to improve more than a dozen schools within the district through a ten-year plan by creating three community-based innovation commissions. The schools in question have student populations that are predominately minority.
The plan was proposed by the Coastal Community Foundation.
“The Reimagine Schools initiative is the plan that has the potential to rob 11,000 children – the largest portion of which are in North Charleston – of their rights to community-controlled public education. If passed, it will begin a years-long sideshow of redundant education planning to buries communities under meetings and internet input schemes that only serve to exhaust neighborhoods,” he said.
If the initiative passes, he will file legislation to remove North Charleston from the program and out of the Charleston County School District.
“The beautiful schools’ Charleston County inherited from the once-independent North Charleston District 1 in 1967 have often been allowed to go into decay,” said Rep. Pendarvis. “Several of our once-proud schools have been bulldozed to rubble … nobody is trying to privatize and reimagine the schools in Mount Pleasant and West Ashley.”
Groups have been at odds over the controversial proposal. Those concerned say the Coastal Community Foundation has little to no prior experience with school operations.
The Charleston County School Board is expected to vote on the proposal Monday.
Pendarvis said he will work to “liberate North Charleston schools from the rule of those who mean well but don’t know what life is like here.” He has also discussed that matter with North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey.
Coastal Community Foundation sent us the following statement:
“Coastal Community Foundation agrees with Rep. Pendarvis that it’s time to listen to teachers, parents, students and educators in North Charleston about what they think needs to be done differently at their schools. That is what Reimagine Schools is all about. We also want to be clear that we focused on encouraging public engagement in areas where the one-size-fits-all public schools have not provided what students really need to succeed. How the schools would do things differently would be entirely left to the very people Rep. Pendarvis said should be empowered to make decisions about their schools. There is much more common ground here than is being represented in his recent comments.”