Letter: Say No to R2 Super’s Gig

The published agenda for the Feb. 11 R2 School Board meeting included a request to change the March 24 meeting to March 31 to accommodate a request from the Digital League of Innovative Schools and the Compton Unified School District.

“These organizations have asked [Superintendent] Dr. Davis to present on the equity initiatives underway in Richland Two at the League of Innovative Schools Spring Meeting,” a note on the agenda states.

I urged the board to vote “No”, if/when a motion is made to agree to the “Administration’s” request (the superintendent’s request) to change the date of the second meeting in March.

Instead, they voted to approve, and some of them verbally attacked me for my advice.

Superintendent Davis earns almost $20,000 per month (including nearly $1,250/month ($14,850/annually) car allowance) and belongs at his desk and on his feet in the Richland 2 School District. He owes his time solely to Richland 2. His going to a California conference to speak provides no benefit or value to Richland 2.

Why should seven board members change their schedules and the public’s schedule to accommodate his wish to go to Los Angeles? He is likely to earn a substantial honorarium and expense reimbursement, even as he draws his Richland 2 salary. Richland 2 pays him an average of approximately $952 per day – almost $1,000 per day – and he should be here to earn it every day that he gets paid.

Why should 20 staff members change their schedules so the superintendent can hop off to L.A.? Will he fly there on Tuesday and fly back Tuesday night, or will he “vacation” there for the three-day meeting? Will you pay him nearly $3,000 to go to L.A. for his own enjoyment?

If the superintendent wishes to go somewhere on his own time, without interfering with his responsibilities to Richland 2 School District, that’s his business. He got a $12,000 raise last year, beyond the standard pay increase, plus a $1,000 bonus this year.

We certainly do not need more liberal, California-based philosophies and ideas in Richland 2 schools.

Superintendent Davis reported unknown private-source personal income from both Carolina Educational Services & Consulting and the University of the Cumberlands on his SEI filed last month. Why isn’t he required to devote his full time to Richland 2 responsibilities?

Imagine if a teacher said he had a side-hustle during the work week and wanted time off to handle it. Would the superintendent tell him not to bother to come back?

Did the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools approach the superintendent, or did the superintendent express an interest in speaking and compete for a slot on its program? Has he already accepted the speaking gig?

I urged the board to hold the regular meeting as scheduled. If the superintendent is absent, they should dock his pay for the days of work he misses.

P.S. The District would be much better off to reimburse the superintendent $0.575/mile for the few miles he might drive on business. He would have to drive 25,800 miles on school business annually to receive $14,850 in car allowance. How many miles each month does he really drive on business, excluding commuting to/from his office? Does he reimburse the District for personal miles driven, including commuting?

Gus Philpott

Northeast Columbia