Citizens speak about Yes 4 Schools investigation

  • Thursday, June 6, 2013

Berkeley County School Board members again heard from district critics at the board’s May 28 meeting.
Two citizens spoke about the ongoing SLED investigation that is looking into accusations that BCSD employees worked on the $198 million Yes 4 Schools bond referendum campaign during business hours and misused public funds to do so.
“At the last meeting I was appalled at the cavalier attitude toward the investigation that’s going on,” Ridgeville resident Nancy Corbin said during public comments on May 28. “I thought I would read you a couple of emails. It wouldn’t take a doctor of education to realize something’s not right.”
Corbin read from emails she said were sent by district employees about the campaign. One of the emails she read spoke of changing out the district logo with the Yes 4 Schools logo after a message.
“You all need to pay a whole lot more attention in the process,” Corbin said. “If you don’t you are complicit in what is going on.”
At the May 14 board meeting eight citizens voiced their disagreement with the district’s involvement in the campaign.
The referendum passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote on Election Day in November.
At the March 12 board meeting the board unanimously passed a resolution to hire independent legal counsel to represent those employees under investigation. The district and attorney general’s office have not named the employees in question.
Jeff Reuer of Summerville spoke next. He said when he spoke at the May 14 meeting he asked the board to reconsider its decision to hire legal counsel for three employees paid for by the district.
“My request apparently fell on deaf ears and was denied,” Reuer said. “If there are criminal charges filed as a result of this investigation, which based on the evidence I’ve seen there could be, I would like to know how this board intends to recover the taxpayer money that was so hastily spent in spite of the new evidence presented and requests from numerous citizens.
“As stewards of the taxpayers money and the district’s money it is your duty to ensure those dollars are spent for the benefit of the children, not on the legal fees for employees facing potential criminal charges.”
School board members did not respond to the public comments.

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