Today, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg released the following statement regarding recent actions by the Charleston County School District Board of Trustees:
“Late yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with Chairwoman Pam McKinney, and to express my concerns about several recent and seemingly capricious school board actions, including the suspension of Superintendent Eric Gallien, the refusal to appoint Michelle Simmons as chief academic officer, and the dismissal of members of the district's Health Advisory Committee. Taken together, these actions, and the lack of basic transparency surrounding them, have created a crisis of confidence among our principals, teachers, parents, taxpayers and state legislators, at least two of whom have now called for formal investigations on a bipartisan basis.
“That's why, today, as both the mayor and a resident of the city of Charleston, I'm respectfully calling on the CCSD Board of Trustees to schedule an immediate public meeting where they can explain and debate these actions in open session and begin working together to restore confidence in the board and its decision-making.
“More than 220 years ago, when Charleston and the nation were still young, President George Washington warned in his farewell address of the dangers of factions, and of the unique threat they represent to our form of government. In recent days, we have seen those dangers play out on our county school board. I believe it's time for everyone involved to step back, remember that we serve all our citizens, and begin mending the broken bonds of trust between our school board and the citizens, parents and students it serves.”