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2011-UP-570 - Drayton Hall v. Charleston County School District

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals


Drayton Hall Charter Elementary School, Inc., Appellant,

v.

Charleston County School District Board of Trustees, Respondent.


Appeal From the Administrative Law Court
 Carolyn C. Matthews, Administrative Law Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2011-UP-570
Heard December 8, 2011 – Filed December 20, 2011


AFFIRMED


David Guy Pagliarini, of Daniel Island, for Appellant.

John F. Emerson, of Charleston, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  This appeal arises out of Respondent Charleston County School District Board of Trustees' (the Board's) denial of Appellant Drayton Hall Charter Elementary School's (Drayton Hall's) application to convert a neighborhood public school into a charter school.  Drayton Hall appealed the denial by the Board to the Administrative Law Court (ALC), which affirmed.  On appeal, Drayton Hall argues the Board:  (1) violated its own policies and procedures by holding a second vote after its initial vote to deny the application failed; (2) violated section 59-40-70(C) of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2010) by failing to show the grant of charter school status would adversely affect other students in the district; and (3) violated section 59-40-70(C) by improperly finding the charter school application violated the spirit and intent of state law.  We affirm.

1.  As to Drayton Hall's contention that the Board violated its own policies and procedures by holding a second vote at a subsequent public hearing after the first motion to deny Drayton Hall's application resulted in a tie vote, we find the Board complied with the statutory mandate to rule upon the application within thirty days.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-70(B) (Supp. 2010) ("The school board of trustees from which the applicant is seeking sponsorship shall rule on the application for a charter school in a public hearing, upon reasonable public notice, within thirty days after receiving the application.").  Furthermore, we find the result of a tie vote on a Board member's motion to deny the application resulted in no action on the application and did not constitute an approval of the application.[1]  See S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-70(B) ("Once the application has been approved by the school board of trustees, the charter school may open at the beginning of the following year."); see also Robert's Rules of Order §44, 392 ("On a tie vote, a motion requiring a majority vote for adoption is lost, since a tie is not a majority.").  Because the result of the tie vote was that no action was taken by the Board, we find the motion to deny the application made at the subsequent Board meeting did not constitute a motion to reconsider.  See Board Policy #9365 ("An item or issue decided by the Board shall not be placed on the agenda for reconsideration for six months except by a member of the prevailing side or by a member not present when the issue was decided.") (emphasis added); Robert's Rules of Order §10, 106-07 ("If a main motion that interferes with a desired action has been adopted, . . . the vote on [a motion to reconsider] can be made for a limited time during the same session . . . .") (emphasis added).

2.  As to Drayton Hall's remaining arguments on appeal, we find no error of law and substantial evidence in the record on appeal to support the findings of the ALC.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-610(B)(d)-(e) (Supp. 2010) (providing the standard of appellate review of an appeal from a final decision of an administrative agency is whether the findings of the ALC are supported by substantial evidence or affected by other error of law); Sanders v. S.C. Dep't of Corr., 379 S.C. 411, 417, 665 S.E.2d 231, 234 (Ct. App. 2008) ("In determining whether the [ALC's] decision was supported by substantial evidence, this court need only find, considering the record as a whole, evidence from which reasonable minds could reach the same conclusion that the [ALC] reached."). 

AFFIRMED.

HUFF, PIEPER, and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur. 


[1] We note that at oral argument, counsel conceded that Drayton Hall is not arguing that it is entitled to a finding that the Board failed to rule on the application within thirty days.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-70(B) ("If there is no ruling within thirty days, the application is considered approved.").