State Superintendent of Education weighs in on abrupt teacher reassignments

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Published: Oct. 26, 2023 at 7:12 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver is weighing in on the Richland School District One teacher re-assignments, the abrupt move that’s sending teachers, students, and their parents into a frenzy.

Students, parents, and teachers voiced their frustrations during a rally Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday night, Richland School District One board members addressed how the situation was handled and the transition for the teachers impacted by the reassignment.

The South Carolina State Superintendent of Education, Ellen Weaver, said those conversations should have been had before the teachers were reassigned.

“We really have to understand the bond between teachers and their students,” Weaver said.

Weaver said there was a “lack of communication” during the decision-making process.

“I really hope that we can use this as a teachable moment here in Richland One,” she said.

“To think about how we can better and more clearly communicate, and to approach decision-making in a more collaborative way that anticipates some of these issues on the front end, instead of leaving us to clean them up on the back end,” she added.

Weaver also agreed with parents’ sentiments from Tuesday night’s board meeting. She said board members should have addressed the teacher reassignments with parents before moving them.

“I think they’re absolutely right. I really worry with this current teacher shortage that we may have temporarily filled classrooms and permanently lost teachers and that’s a travesty and something that we just can’t afford to do,” she said.

The State Department of Education placed the school district under fiscal watch in 2022. The district is currently under fiscal watch.

The State’s Superintendent of Education said Wednesday afternoon she and Governor Henry McMaster may request that the Office of the Inspector General investigate.

“To be clear, what we’re talking about here is more of a contract issue, and that is purely between the district and the teachers themselves,” she said.

“I don’t get involved with those local contracts. So, the Inspector General’s authority would be if there are credible allegations of financial malfeasance of some kind. So, obviously, if I’m presented with some sort of evidence of that I will evaluate that evidence very carefully as I’m sure the governor would as well before we take that step because that is a big step,” she said.

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