Tens of thousands paid to 'highlight' Chs. Co. School District's image

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Tens of thousands of dollars were spent to improve the Charleston County School Districts image, according to a newly obtained district contract.

The contract is between CCSD and Chernoff Newman, a marketing company whose website reads "we're passionate about solving problems through creative communications."

In the contract, it states "the firm will help the CCSD highlight positive activities that are taking place around the district and within the administration."

The contract also read that the marketing firm would help to counter any misleading or false information and create strategies that can be integrated into the district's administration.

The contract began in December of 2017 and ended in June of 2018.

This comes after a year of protests against the district that were spurred by the shuffling around of principals.

"It was chaotic, tense, high pressure. A lot of folks upset, a lot of students upset, teachers and principals. It was a radical change all of a sudden without explanation," said CCSD Board of Trustee Member Rev. Chris Collins.

The district said the contract was not related to the backlash at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

However, Collins said he disagrees.

"I believe the intent of it was to kind of polish and primp the district to get a better image to rebuild faith in the community," said Collins.

The contract also said it was to remain confidential between the involved parties.

Collins said he and the board were not made aware of the contract and should have been.

"Not only aware, but we should have been aware but known about it in advance and collaborate on whether or not it was a good use of tax payer dollars that we weren't included on or didn't know about," said Collins.

A statement from CCSD states, "Last year CCSD contracted with Chernoff Newman, an integrated, marketing, and communications firm to assist with various activities and projects ranging from marketing to branding to stakeholder communication."The district confirms the money came from the office of strategy and communication and was from the general operating fund.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved. 

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