Board Member Spending on Training released

Conferences and training for school board members have cost the Charleston County School District more than $5,000 in the past year. The cost includes roughly $2,000 a piece for two members: Ruth Jordan and Elizabeth Kandrac.

Their spending is far more than other board members. Gregg Meyers and Arthur Ravenel do not take payment for board activities and cost the district no money on training. Three other members, Chairwoman Toya Hampton-Green, Chris Fraser, and Ann Oplinger each spent $40 on training and conferences. Board members Ray Toler and Chris Collins cost the district $845 and $548, respectively.

In 2006, board member Sandi Engelman took flak on the campaign trail for her spending. Opponents suggested that training seminars, conferences, and retreats were like mini-vacations for her and her husband, fellow board member David Engelman.

It was in defense of her spending that she made the now-famous comment about then-Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson being on CPT, a comment many assumed to mean “Colored People’s Time.” —Greg Hambrick

High Tech High Becomes Medical Tech High

Charleston County School District’s vision for an education for students that incorporates new technology, opening the door for careers in forward-thinking fields like aviation and advanced security, has met the harsh light of the recession.

After two years on ice, the school district’s vision for an innovative high school now includes a preparatory program for a career in massage therapy.

“Local conditions and the economy have changed the job market in the Trident region,” reads a staff report on the shift in focus.

Once referred to as a “high tech” high school, the program is now called Lowcountry Technical Academy, with the less ambitious goal of preparing students for a variety of collegiate medical courses, followed by careers in nursing or as dental or veterinary technicians.

One major hurdle for any development of a tech program has been funding. In June, the board voted to make debt payments as opposed to increasing money for school operations. Chairwoman Toya Hampton-Green, who voted against the budget, wasted no time pointing out how that would impair a program like this.

“It’s relevant to point out in times like this when it’s going to hurt us that there are consequences in the budget we passed,” she said. —Greg Hambrick


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