The teachers’ union at the Odyssey Charter School in Greenville has presented a vote of no confidence to the school board. Board President Josiah Wolcott says he will not resign.
At a town hall meeting Tuesday, parents raised concerns about support for special education students at Odyssey, a lack of technology in classrooms, and inefficient busing.
But many community members came for answers regarding the recent no-confidence vote, which came with calls for resignation of board members Michael Kirifides, Michael Klezaras, Treasurer George Hantzandreou, and President Josiah Wolcott. Wolcott notes that the no-confidence vote is not legally binding.
Odyssey Charter School Education Association President Katie Manley says the union wants a restructuring of the nine-member board, which has historically had five members associated with the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a Greek fraternal organization.
“Just a different configuration that’s more representative— that no matter what, it’s not five out of nine is a majority, and it’s an AHEPA majority,” said Manley. “AHEPA should still be stakeholders and board members. Maybe three AHEPA, three community/parent, and three teachers.”
A letter from the union to the board says one reason for the vote was Wolcott’s recall last year of a bylaw amendment requiring a three-quarters supermajority vote on issues that would financially benefit the Greek fraternal organization (AHEPA) or one of its members.
Wolcott says under the board's bylaws, members of AHEPA are meant to hold a majority— and current bylaws protect against conflict of interest. “We have a pretty robust conflict of interest policy,” he said. "If there’s a conflict of interest, [board members] recuse themselves. And they don’t participate in any discussion or any vote."
The union’s letter said the vote was also a result of “increasing distrust in certain board members, continued lack of transparency” and “the failure to put in place practices that would prevent improprieties or the appearance of improprieties.”
At the town hall meeting, parents asked for clarity on the recent resignations of two board members— including Superior Court judge and former board vice president Abigail LeGrow. Wolcott declined to comment on the members' motivations for resigning, but said the board has had issues with fundraising.
Wolcott says a proposed bylaw amendment requiring a supermajority of six rather than the original seven members for votes benefitting AHEPA is on Wednesday’s board meeting agenda.
Manley says the union considers a supermajority of six insufficient.