Mick Zais, MIA: State Superintendent takes a LOT of personal time - South Carolina Superintendent of Education Mick Zais took twice as much personal time during 2011 as the average state employee is allowed, Palmetto Public Record reported yesterday after getting an exclusive look at the schools chief’s schedule. Zais’ personal calendar shows he took 234 hours of personal time (the equivalent of 29 full workdays) between Jan. 12 and Nov. 17, when the schedule was released through an open records request. In sharp contrast to Zais’ considerable number of absences, a state employee with 10 or fewer years of experience is allowed 15 days of personal leave per year — about half of what Zais took during the 44 weeks covered in his schedule.
Proposal squeezes retirees, workers - South Carolina’s 106,000 retired teachers, state employees and local government workers would get raises only if the state’s retirement fund makes more money consistently from its investments, according to The State’s Adam Beam. That’s what’s facing state employees according to a proporsal moving through the state House of Representatives designed to reduce the state’s $13 billion pension debt.
DHEC nominee won’t testify about “Savannah River Sellout” - Catherine Templeton, who was recently tapped by Gov. Nikki Haley as the next DHEC commissioner, will not answer questions about the governor’s “Savannah River Sellout” at her confirmation hearing this week, a state senator familiar with Templeton’s forthcoming testimony tells FITSNews. Sources close to Templeton say she will not say whether she agrees or disagrees with Haley’s betrayal of our state’s economic and environmental interests.
Lawmakers might block Savannah port suit - South Carolina will hurt its chances of stopping Savannah’s hotly disputed harbor dredging project if state legislators prevent citizens from suing accused polluters, according to The State’s Sammy Fretwell. A bill to stop certain types of lawsuits, approved by a House subcommittee, is supported by major business groups and legislators worried about additional liability from lawsuits against companies and property owners.
SC student testing to change - The reading and math tests South Carolina third- through 12th-graders take this spring likely won’t exist in three years, according to the Post & Courier’s Diette Courrege. The state Board of Education signed off 10-3 Wednesday on a plan to adopt new tests for the 2014-15 school year that are being developed by the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, a collection of educators, researchers, policymakers and community groups from states nationwide.
One more thing: On a related note, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Obama administration on Friday is expected to give 10 states waivers to the unpopular and ineffective No Child Left Behind education law developed by the Bush administration. South Carolina is one of the states which has applied for a waiver, but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if we’re off the hook from NCLB.