Lowcountry school fighting to keep doors open

By Jaime Dailey - bio | email

BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - School Board Chairman Fred Washington Junior halted the vote saying the motion made by Board Member Ronald Speaks last month to stop the discussions of closing any of the schools was not a proper motion and violated Robert's Rules of Order.

The motion failed on a tie vote back on January 8 with Board Members Earl Campbell absent. Speaks brought up the motion again when the full board would be present but Washington said since a similar motion had already been made, only board members on the prevailing side could bring that motion back to the table.

For months, Shell Point Elementary parents have been rallying support, trying to keep their doors open after finding out their school could be closing due to budget cuts. Cathy Emmert, a parent and the school's PTO President, says she feels mislead after last night's meeting.

"For the board to come out that way and Mr Washington to deny the opportunity to vote because of the Roberts Rules, it's extremely disappointing," said Emmert. "It's disheartening. It doesn't make sense. It's kind of like you build this big sand castle and some bully comes along and stops it out."

Emmert says she and other supporters are going to fight till the end.

"We do still feel hopeful we'll be able to save the school," said Emmert. "We just really feel like they need to stop stringing us along. It's not fair to the teachers, it's not fair to the students. We're trying to carry on as if we're still going to be here."

Campbell says although he was not present to break the tie at the initial vote, he will not vote to close any school in the district.

Washington did send out an email to all of the board members about the violation over the weekend, but he failed to notify Shell Point Elementary parents before the meeting.

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