ALLENDALE COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – An Allendale County School Board member is firing back at the Department of Education’s decision to declare the district under a “State of Emergency.”
The Board of Trustees member says she wants to put an end to the rumors that are coming out of South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman’s office.
In documents, sent to WJBF NewsChannel 6, Board member Wilda Robinson spells outs her view of the Superintendent’s school takeover.
She claims Spearman assured the district over and over again, that it didn’t qualify to be put into a “State of Emergency.”
In a letter Robinson says she’s not going to engage in “tit-for-tat” but it’s time that people hear the truth from a member of the Allendale County School Board.
She says during a meeting in April, Spearman was made aware of how hard it is for Allendale to recruit qualified teachers.
Which Robinson says Spearman answered “oh, that’s right no one wants to come to Allendale.”
Robinson says the 1999 state takeover didn’t do much for Allendale students, but it did create a hostile working environment for staff.
However, bus driver Elizabeth Rollins has been with the district for 28 years and says that’s not true.
“So you’ve been through, when the state took over the last time?” Asked WJBF NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.
“Yes it was great,” said Rollins.
Robinson says she was excited to partner with the S.C.D.E., however a Memorandum sent by the state quickly changed that.
She says the document spelled out a takeover and not a partnership, and she says it even implied that by board members signing the Memorandum, they were agreeing that each principal could be fired.
Which according to an exhibit provided in the letter to WJBF NewsChannel 6, the power of hiring, firing and disciplining employees was in the hands of the newly appointed District Superintendent Dr. Walter Tobias.
Robinson claims with the “stroke of a pen” Spearman just stripped the board of its powers.
She says she strongly believes the state takeover is about much more than student achievement, accreditation and school improvement.
Which Spearman addressed in an exclusive interview with WJBF NewsChannel 6 in May.
“Any federal money that comes into a state now, previously it would only affect that one District if there was misspending or not complying with the regulations, but now State Superintendents have to realize that one district not handling their federal programs properly jeopardizes the entire state.” Spearman told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
Still, parents WJBF NewsChannel 6 spoke with can’t wrap their minds around why the district won’t just accept the state’s help.
“I think with the state taking over the kids have a better chance,” said Rollins. “A better chance at education.”
“I’m sorry to say, but what needs to be done, needs to be done.” Charmaine Gadson, a parent, said. “I’m just feeling that, you know, our people here need help.”
WJBF NewsChannel 6 did reach out to Wilda Robinson for an interview several times since Monday, we have yet to hear back.
Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 for the latest details in this developing story.