Editorials

Our View: School chairman did right thing; problem remains

Beaufort County Board of Education chairman Bill Evans did the right thing to resign this week.

But the cancer within the school district is Superintendent Jeff Moss. As long as Moss remains on the job, the school district will have no credibility. That is grossly unfair to the students, educators and taxpayers of Beaufort County.

Moss still thinks there's nothing wrong with this picture: His wife accepted a newly-created, $90,000 job in the school district's central office, and Moss changed district nepotism rules that should have prevented her hiring.

Moss has added insult to injury with his murky memory, conflicting statements and the assertion that he did not know his wife was interested in the "director of innovation" job.

Evans' knowledge of the move, and his personal approval and subsequent support of Moss, crippled his ability to lead the district out of this mess. It damaged the goodwill and trust Evans built in 24 years as a principal and district administrator in the county, followed by his election to the school board. It is a shame that is has come to this, and Moss should never have put Evans in this position. But by stepping down, Evans cleared the way for the school board to begin rebuilding public trust.

The board must first come out of hiding. It is foolish for the school board to address a credibility catastrophe by talking among themselves in secret.

The public has a right to hear the board's discussion on the very public issue of the superintendent's behavior. Yet hours of discussion have taken place behind closed doors since the public got wind of this disaster.

The public remains baffled that an elected board would turn over to an administrator the authority to change a rule in such a way that it brings monetary gain to his family. If the board did so thinking it could trust the highly paid face of the school district to act ethically, Moss blew them out of the water. And therein lies the problem. The board can presumably restore a system of checks and balances. But it should not be expected to change the mindset of a superintendent who thinks this is business as usual.

The public isn't buying it. The school district has a major problem of trust on its hands that still has not been corrected.

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