MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCSC) - After a 6-3 vote to fire the superintendent of Berkeley County Schools, Dr. Deon Jackson, the Berkeley County School Board voted on several other controversial topics.
The votes were not cast without pushback from the public and amendments made by some board members.
Board members voted 8-0 Tuesday night to direct finance staff to submit to the board of trustees a property tax decrease proposal following November’s passing of Berkeley County’s one-cent sales tax for schools.
Board member David Barrow said in the meeting he supported the resolution but was concerned if the penny tax would cover facilities and new construction under the district’s seven-year Capital Projects Plan. This comes after he was ousted as Board Chair in a 6-2 vote earlier in the meeting.
“We tout ourselves as fiscally conservative. We need to make sure that the penny-sales tax is going to satisfy the paying of all those buildings we’ve approved in the Capital Projects plan,” Barrow said. “Make sure we do it fiscally conservatively and responsibly to make sure that we can build those buildings and then take a look at how much tax reduction we can do for our citizens,” he said.
The board also voted 6-2 to disallow the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Berkeley County Schools. During this discussion, Barrow said the board needed to define CRT before voting.
“What actually can and can’t be taught?” Barrow said. “It has to be in writing as to what they’re violating. It’s just common sense.”
The new board chair, Mac McQuillin, defined CRT as, “a perspective on modern life, a world view that believes all events and ideas around us in politics, education, entertainment, the media and the workplace and beyond must be explained in terms of racial identities,” McQuillin said.
“Even George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Constitution itself are subject to being canceled out of American culture, such as being removed from the names of public schools for failing to live up to the standards set under the CRT,” McQuillin said.
The board agreed to later define what exactly can and can’t be taught.
The board lastly voted 8-0 to establish a committee to evaluate appropriate guidelines for the evaluation of materials of inappropriate sexual/pornographic content in all schools.
Yvonne Bradley proposed to amend the resolution to include who should be named to that committee. The board agreed on adding librarians, parents, coaches, board member(s), and mental health counselors, among others, to decide what should be deemed as appropriate and inappropriate content in the library.
This is the school board’s first meeting since adding three new board members following November’s midterm elections.
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