631, that is the total number of staff that have resigned, retired, refused a contract, or otherwise left our District since the new board majority took over in 2020. This number was obtained directly from the district.

581 staff have left our schools and 50 have left the District Office. Just looking at the District website today they note that they have hired a new Director of Transportation, new Executive Director of Operations, new Chief Financial Officer (the 3rd since this new board majority took over less than 2 years ago), and a new Director of Secondary Education.

Does this sound like a district that is thriving under the new board leadership? Or is this more in line with a board whose members tell teachers things such as “think about changing professions”(Nikki Gardner, The State, Dec 2, 2020). Looks like we’ve had a good many staff take Ms. Gardner’s advice, or at the very least change districts.

Here are a few other headlines this board has generated in under 2 years:

The State files lawsuit against Lexington-Richland District Five – State, The (Columbia, SC) – July 27, 2021

Kids getting COVID ‘inevitable,’ SC school board member [Nikki Gardner] says after voting out masks – The State May 14, 2021 

SC’s reigning Superintendent of the Year was Forced to Quit – Post and Courier, The: Web Edition Articles – June 15, 2021

School board members accused of illegally meeting – State, The – March 31, 2021 

LR5 school board votes to move forward with a lawsuit against a former superintendent – State, The: Web Edition Articles – December 13, 2021

LR5 school board member [Ken Loveless] sues constituent for who criticized him on social media. – State, The: Web Edition Articles -March 16, 2022

Lex-Rich5 vice chair [Ken Loveless] facing SC ethics charges 2 months after board chair settled charges – Post and Courier, The – July 20, 2022

Ethics Commission: [Ken] Loveless can’t visit or review 23M Dollar School Project-State, The – February 24, 2021 

Don’t believe that LR5’s school board is Dysfunctional Ask its Formal Lawyer- State, The: Web Edition Articles – July 14, 2022

Lexington-Richland5 school board chairwoman [Jan Hammond] settles SC Ethics Violations with $2,000 Fine- Post and Courier, The – May 11, 2022.

There are many more headlines, but there is not enough space allowed here. Don’t believe the news articles? Consider what their own lawyer, Andrea White, said when she recently quit.

“Specifically, I am terminating my representation of the Board based on subsection(b)(4), which states that a lawyer may withdraw where the client insists upon taking action that the lawyer considers repugnant or with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement.” Ms. White further clarified “My decision in this matter is based on my conclusion that the Board is, at the present time, operating in a manner that is dysfunctional and not conducive to the well-functioning of the District.” (letter from Attorney Andrea White to Board Chair Jan Hammond June 13, 2022 – https://www.lexrich5.org/Page/27806)

With 631 staff leaving the district I believe the idea that this board is operating in “a manner that is dysfunctional and not conducive the well-functioning of the District” is an understatement. Consider also that today, weeks after the school year has started, there are 97 open job positions advertised by the district.  

There is a board election for four seats this November, you can vote for change or continued “dysfunction”.

Michael Bishop