SCCPSS President responds to board reprimand

SCCPSS President responds to board reprimand
(Source: Facebook)
(Source: Facebook)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Petty politics and making a mountain out of a molehill. That's what the Chatham County School Board President, Jolene Byrne, has to say about a recent slap on the wrist from fellow board members.

During a closed-door executive session this week, Byrne was presented with a letter chastising the Facebook posts she made as the school system worked to decide whether to cancel class ahead of Hurricane Irma.

Byrne didn't mince words, saying the board's focus isn't on the right thing at the moment.

This isn't the first time board members have been at odds with their President, Jolene Byrne. Not seeing eye to eye is what prompted an upcoming investigation by the district's accreditation agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

'The focus has to stay on the kids, so that's got to be our number one priority. This sort of thing is just a distraction,' Byrne said.

Byrne says she was blindsided by the letter from fellow board members, telling us it was handed to her once they stepped behind closed doors for an executive session. She said when she realized it was not an appropriate matter, she opened the doors and told them they had to go out of executive session because they can't talk about things like that in private.

In the letter given to Byrne, the board says she wrote a Facebook post on Sept. 6 that 'subverted the Superintendents authority.'

The post encouraged families nervous about the approaching storm to leave if they felt that was the right thing to do, even pointing out policy allows for five absences with a parental note. In the letter, the board said Byrne did not have the authority, training, experience, information, nor input necessary to understand and consider all the issues and ramifications of hurricane-related decisions.

The letter ended asking Byrne to consider her actions before taking them and to remember that the superintendent is in charge of day to day operations, not her.

We reached out to see if the superintendent wanted to comment on the letter. We were told a comment wasn't likely because of the upcoming SACS investigation.

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