May 23, 2015

Charleston School of Law will accept new class, but cuts some faculty

File photo


The struggling Charleston School of Law (CSOL) says it will be able to accept new students for this upcoming school year, easing fears that the school could soon close.

However, the private law school’s owners said they will still make cuts: laying off at least seven faculty members and consolidating several facilities in cost-trimming moves.

“It’s been hard to lose these members of our staff and faculty, but it’s been a necessary business move to ensure that the size of the school is appropriate for the number of students we have,” school spokesman Andy Brack said in a written statement. “Our existing staff will be able to meet students’ needs as a number of functions have been consolidated.”

Speculation into the school’s future flared up two weeks ago after the college’s two remaining owners issued a statement May 5 explaining that they “cannot in good faith enroll another class” when the school is spending more money than is coming in. Retired judges George Kosko and Robert Carr also said in the statement that they cannot assure students that they will be able to use federal student loans for their full three years or that the school will even be able to maintain its license and stay open during that time.

24 staff members and four faculty members have left the school through buyouts, separation packages, and attrition since May 2014, school leader say.

CSOL plans to to consolidate several facilities into its Mary Street location and another building on Meeting Street.

Carr and Kosko had spent more than a year attempting to sell CSOL to InfiLaw System, which owns three other for-profit law schools around the country. The sale was strongly criticized by alumni and faculty, who claim InfiLaw is a diploma mill with lower academic standards. The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education came down against the acquisition last year, while the American Bar Association allowed it.


Ex-SC State board chairman sentenced to five years

Pinson outside the federal courthouse in January 2014 (FILE)

Pinson outside the federal courthouse in January 2014 (FILE)

A federal judge has sentenced the former chairman of the South Carolina State University board of trustees to five years in prison.

District Judge David Norton on Wednesday ordered Jonathan Pinson to also repay $338,000 in restitution. The time of the sentence was not as high as the 12 years U.S. Attorneys had been seeking, but it was more than double than the two years his defense requested.

Pinson is already appealing his conviction. He has 14 additional days to appeal the sentence. He did not comment to reporters after the sentence was handed down.

A federal jury last year found the Greenville businessman guilty on 29 counts related to racketeering and corruption. The charges stemmed from business dealings that Pinson had with SC State, the Village at River’s Edge low-income housing project in Columbia, and a Marion County diaper factory.

[Read more…]

SC facing shortfall of workers with college degrees, senators warned

Former State Treasurer Ken Wingate (L) and former Governor Jim Hodges speaks to the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday (Image: SCETV)

Former State Treasurer Ken Wingate (L) and former Governor Jim Hodges speaks to the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday (Image: SCETV)

A former governor and state treasurer are warning legislators that South Carolina faces a tremendous shortfall in skilled workers within the next 15 years.

Former governor Jim Hodges and treasurer Ken Wingate presented findings of a University of South Carolina study to the Senate Education Committee last week. The study predicts the state will have a shortfall of nearly 115,000 graduating students with the necessary hiring skills by 2030 if current economic and demographic trends hold. The report projects that South Carolina will have a shortfall of 44,010 workers with two-year degrees and 70,540 workers with bachelor’s degrees or higher in that span.

“Our goal is going to need to be able to produce this workforce that can satisfy those jobs that are going to come to South Carolina,” Hodges told the committee. “Because, if they aren’t, then we aren’t going to be able to be as successful as we have been in job growth and job creation in our stated.”

[Read more…]

New SC State board fully in place

Gov.Ha;ey's pick Milton Irvin (US Dept. of Education)

Gov. Haley’s pick Milton Irvin (US Dept. of Education)

A new seven-member interim replacement board of trustees for South Carolina State University is now in place, roughly a week after legislators voted to sack the previous board.

The final three members were named in a release from the school Thursday. The same legislation that removed the previous board required the governor, state treasurer, education superintendent, the House and Senate budget chairs, Senate Education Committee chairman, and House higher education budget subcommittee chairman pick members of the new board.

The school’s alumni association director and student body president will also serve as ex officio (non-voting) members.

The board will have to deal with an expected $23.5 million deficit at the school by the time the fiscal year ends in June. At least two vendors have already filed legal action with the state and college accreditors are considering whether to continue or potentially downgrade the school’s probationary status. [Read more…]

South Carolina works to ease teacher shortage

State education officials have cleared a nonprofit to begin training and licensing middle school teachers who have a college degree, but not in education.

The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) said this week it had been authorized by the South Carolina Department of Education to provide additional teacher certification in middle level language arts, science and mathematics. The program is already offered for potential high school teachers.

Lollie Onipede of the American Board told South Carolina Radio Network that the new authorization expands their service in getting educators what they need to teach in the state. “What we’re doing is preparing, certifying them and walking them through the steps.”

ABCTE is one of several “alternative” routes that future teachers can take to get certified outside of the traditional higher education degree. Onipede said they will help provide more teacher certifications for the state, which is experiencing a shortage of educators, particularly in low-income districts. “The new South Carolina middle school educator certifications will increase the number of high-quality teachers that South Carolina needs and reduce the teacher shortage the state currently faces,” she said.

For certification in South Carolina, candidates must complete the required The American Board curriculum and assessments. Teacher candidates must also meet the state criteria:

• Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university.
• Teach for 3 years, complete induction and formal teacher evaluation requirements, and pass the Praxis exam in Principles of Learning and Teaching.

To date, The American Board has certified more than 5000 educators nationwide. The American Board says it has certified more than 950 teachers in South Carolina since 2007.