South Carolina Becomes Second State Affiliate Placed Under NEA Trusteeship

The South Carolina Education Association (SCEA), long plagued by membership losses and management turnover, has been placed under the trusteeship of its parent affiliate, the National Education Association, according to sources within the union. SCEA joins the Indiana State Teachers Association, suffering under debt due to its failed insurance trust, as NEA state affiliates now under the direct jurisdiction of a nationally appointed administrator.

NEA refused to confirm or deny the existence of the trusteeship.

Robert Bonazzi, the former executive director of the New Jersey Education Association, is SCEA’s trustee. Bonazzi has some experience in the state, having been sent there by NEA in 2007 to organize “listening tours.”

SCEA membership fell to 7,793 active K-12 members last year – down from 17,266 in 1994. The association took in only $1.6 million in dues money last year – barely enough to cover the salaries and benefits of its management and staff. SCEA received more than $800,000 in grants and subsidies from NEA.

Current SCEA President Sheila Gallagher is on a leave of absence, and President-elect Jackie B. Hicks will assume office to begin the organization’s fiscal year. Executive Director Aaron Wallace also seems to have been replaced by UniServ director Roger Smith, though all decisions by SCEA management will be subject to Bonazzi’s approval.  SCEA had bitter contract negotiations with its staff union last year, but EIA has been unable to learn the current status of those talks.

EIA will post more information as it becomes available.