Superintendent Frank Rodriguez and SCSBA officer Jamie Devine with CLOC members Ted Barber and Carlton Dallas, and the late David Striebinger, who was chair of the Board of Education.

At the Oct. 4 Board of Education meeting, the Citizen-Led Oversight Committee (CLOC) was recognized by the South Carolina School Boards Association (SCSBA) as a Champion for Public Education. This award is presented to community residents, organizations or businesses/industries whose support and contributions have significantly benefited public schools.

In 2019 Superintendent Frank Rodriguez announced the formation of a citizen-led oversight committee to monitor all building, schedules, budgets and expenditures from the newly approved $344 million school bond referendum by Beaufort County voters – the largest bond referendum in the district’s history. As the community gave the school district an overwhelming demonstration of support, Rodriguez felt it essential to keep taxpayers’ confidence by having an independent citizens group track referendum project progress.

“When initially established, CLOC was viewed as a new and innovative approach for the Beaufort County School District,” said Rodriguez. “The CLOC has since proven that there is talent in Beaufort County that can be leveraged to help public schools, build confidence in the community, and ensure the district is doing its best by providing state of the art schools and security for our students, teachers, and staff in a transparent and accountable way.”

The committee’s independence is essential, as taxpayers trust them as watchful and effective monitors because they are not affiliated with the district, contractors, or architects. The CLOC combs through documents, reviews spreadsheets and blueprints, and walks construction sites to lay their own eyes on what is happening. After this, they put together their own independent analysis and report back to the community.

“The CLOC is relatable to voters as independent taxpayers themselves serving as watchdogs over the district’s 262 projects at 36 schools,” said SCSBA officer Jamie Devine.

The founding CLOC members, Ted Barber, Michael McNally, David Ames, Derrick Coaxum, Carlton Dallas, Kim Fleming, Ron Groteluschen, Richard Tritschler, and Ray Warco, all of whom served in a volunteer capacity donating countless hours of their time and expertise, bring a wide variety of professional capabilities to their monitoring tasks as a diverse group of individuals with varying backgrounds and knowledge.