District 55 Trustees Debate, Then Approve Hybrid Operation

At the September meeting of the Laurens County District 55 School Board last evening, Superintendent Dr. Ameca Thomas reported that the district is still on the Hybrid Model with students attending class face to face two days a week.

Noting that in a survey, 62% of Parents said that they want their kids back in school five days a week, Trustee Cathy Little said, “We need to have these kids back in school now. Why do we even send these surveys out, if we don’t pay attention to the results? What do we do, just look at them?”  Mrs. Little said that surrounding districts have returned to a five- day face to face schedule safely.

District 55 Trustee Terri Martin replied, “I want these kids back the same as you, but I would rather have a parent mad at me, than me having to look at a parent who has lost a child to this virus.”

Susan Calhoun Ware was granted permission to distribute a letter she had written to the board and read it aloud. It began, “In all my years with the district we have never faced anything like this, and as a collective board we have failed to be supportive of each other, the administration, and the communities that we represent. We are seven individuals who had taken the oath of office and agreed to ethical procedures, but we have failed to uphold them.”

Calhoun-Ware went on to say that we should not be influenced by personal politics, special interest groups or personal agendas, and that, “I feel compelled, to say that this is not  a one man show, no one person should speak on behalf of the board. We can’t listen to special interest groups.” She asked, “Have we listened to the vocal minority or the silent majority? Our superintendent is hired to run the district, we should not interfere. Some are using micro-managing tactics to conduct their own personal agendas. It is disappointing, unethical, and It needs to stop. We should not call weekly meetings with Dr. Thomas, it interferes with her job.”

The discussion ended with a vote to approve a plan suggested by Superintendent Thomas to remain in the yellow, Hybrid, learning phase until conditions improve, allowing District 55 to move to the Green phase, with students back in class five days a week.