More than 200 people came to the Charleston County School District on May 8, 2017, to protest its teacher evaluation method and the transfer of two principals, Lee Runyon of West Ashley High School and Jake Rambo of James B. Edwards Elementary. About seven months later, the district paid nearly $65,000 to a marketing firm in Columbia.

File/Wade Spees/Staff Jake Rambo, former James B. Edwards principal. File/Paul Bowers/Staff COLUMBIA — Companies that marketed insurance plans covering Authorities in Berkeley County turned to an unexpected sourc After a year marred by controversy and public protests, the Charleston County School District enlisted the help of a high-powered marketing company — with a contract to the tune of $64,000.

The district’s Office of Strategy and Communications, which has a $2.3 million budget and employs 13 people, paid $64,396.25 on Dec. 12 to Columbia-based Chernoff Newman LLC for “other services,” according to a monthly financial statement.

The money came from last year’s $455.4 million General Operating fund. The payment came seven months after educators and parents stormed the sidewalk in front of the district’s downtown office in a mass protest.

Angered by a new evaluation system that tied teachers’ reviews in part to student performance on standardized tests, and in part by a shuffling of about a dozen principals that Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait compared to a CEO shuffling branch managers, they railed against the district’s leadership. Postlewait apologized in late May for what she described as “a train wreck of a communication plan.” Read more from…

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