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Letter to the Editor

Ex-Fox Creek Board Member speaks out

"I am very worried about many aspects of our 'boards' rulings and decisions."

web posted April 13, 2006

Dear Editor,

I was on the Planning Board and first term of Board of Directors for Fox Creek
High School in Edgefield County. I enjoyed my time on the board and resigned
off the board to allow myself to take a staff position at the school as library/teacher aide.  I was "laid off" due to lack of funding for the library by the charter school. (so told to me by Sherolyn Bishop). 

I have a Junior at FCHS and had planned on having a Freshman there next year also. I am greatly concerned over many of the happenings within the board and of the "acting assistant principal". Many parents are concerned about things that have happened under the admin. of said "acting assistant principal" in the absence of our regular principal.

We already know about the boy arrested for drugs at FCHS. Mr. Gratop expelled this boy as he should have (after he was arrested on school grounds with drugs). The 'board' then had a meeting and voted that this boy be allowed back into school (against Mr. Gratop's wishes) due to one of the teachers asking them to do so. 

I have always been for giving teens a second chance BUT...this child did something illegal and knew it, that is going too far! When students are being expelled for being tardy and not serving detentions or Saturday school for lack of transportation or out of town plans and what not then the 'board' should adhere to those rules! Should they not? 

I am very worried about many aspects of our 'boards' rulings and decisions. Letting Mr. Gratop go is one thing that worries many parents greatly!  The board decided this without ever inviting the parents to a meeting or informing them about it. I was under the assumption when I was on the planning board that the parents were also to be given the right to know about decisions like this, and not AFTER the fact. Is this incorrect?  Have we been given a good reason why Mr. Gratop is being let go? I would think that we have the right to know why he is being 'let go', do we not? 

How many terms is a board member allowed to sit in on for a charter school Board of Directors? Is there any limitations there? How long is Mrs. Bishop allowed to serve as Chairperson and why is Ms. Barnes* (whom lives in Georgia) on the board? I was under the impression that only Edgefield County residents were allowed to serve on the board. Oh yes, last year at the board election meeting two board members manned their own ballot box and gave advice on whom 'not' to vote for. As far as I know that is not legal. Am I incorrect there?

I am also worried about (as are other parents) the hiring of new Administration, faculty and staff. We keep hearing rumors that Ms. Aadland will be in an Admin. position next year and many parents and students are not happy about this. Is she truly qualified? Does anyone know the true reason why she left Aiken County Schools? We have heard that many of our teachers are leaving, some we probably don't mind about, but some we are hearing about makes the thought of sending our kids back to FCHS very disturbing. My daughter loves the school and will be a Sr. next year.  I would so hate to have to send her elsewhere for her last year in school.  I have an 8th grader moving up out of Merriwether Middle School also and a 4th grader looking forward to going to FCHS in the future. It will be awful to have to tell my children that they can not attend FCHS because of all going on there or because they don't have a new school or they don't have room or anything like that. 

I would like to know for sure that we will have a school next year. Is it not our
right to have this information when it is only about five weeks away from the end
of the school year? Should we not be making plans for our students for next
year already?  Does the FCHS Board expect us to just sit and wait for their decisions?  Do we want to sit and wait?  I for one do not.

Beth Folland
Merriwether, SC

Editore's note: The writer is a former Fox Creek School Board and Planning Board Member

* Fox Creek School Board Member Sherry Barnes is listed as living in One Mill Place, Augusta Georgia, 30909. (Off Berkman's Road behind the Augusta National)

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