Anderson County School District 2 School Board hires lawyer

News

HONEA PATH, S.C. (WSPA)- The Anderson County School District 2 Board is going to court with itself.

Three members of the school board walked out of a meeting a few weeks ago because they said the meeting might be illegal because of questions about whether another board member who had previously resigned could be re-instated. Now, those three board members are suing.

Monday, the other four members of the school board, including the one whose legitimacy is disputed, Stu Shirley, voted to hire their own special legal counsel to defend his place on the board.

Board members Kevin Craft, Jimmy Ouzts, and Phil Ashley brought the suit last week.

“Because of conflict of interest, they could not participate in the voting part of it,” said acting board chair Bonnie Knight of the special called meeting.

Law firm Duff & Childs was hired as the board’s special legal counsel. 7 News asked if the board would be paying their legal fees.

“That is something we really haven’t talked about…but yes, because they were hired by majority vote,” Knight said.

It’s not clear who’s paying the legal fees for the other side. None of those three board members responded to emails requesting comment Monday. However, Kevin Craft previously wrote an email saying that he is still protesting attending any board meetings until a judge rules on the status of Stu Shirley, a board member who resigned and rescinded his resignation days later. Knight later re-seated him, citing legal opinions from the South Carolina Attorney General’s office and another attorney.

Craft said he feels the board could be breaking state law.

Knight said the board followed policy in the special called meeting.

A rowdy crowd also attended. Some people told 7 News the conflict is about more than the rules surrounding resignation.

“That’s going to be four to three, and they’re going to let a good superintendent go,” said teacher Helen Bell, speaking about what would happen if a judge rules in favor of the school board.

A court date is set for June 27.

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