In the 1980's, I stood before the Pickens County School Board and told them in graphic form why joining up with the Southern Association of Schools would be a bad thing. I told them that other school districts had trouble with them in the following way: They would come in and consult with the Superintendent and his staff for the purpose of finding the weak spots in the community syllogism, make a report to the Board criticizing the Board's work in a particular area like salary increases or school construction, and get a liberal newspaper to report it, and fire up the educational community against the general public. In our case, and with the daunting interference of lawyers out of Columbia, we got over $400,000,000 in debt to build new schools. More recently, The Southern Association of Schools has changed its name To AdvancED and has inspected the Pickens County Schools for the purpose of forcing them to call for another Board member because the 6 member Board had rejected the Superintendent's increases by voting 3 to 3 for and against.
Then we got Phillip Bowers who ran as a conservative and now votes like the worst liberal in the history of Pickens County. Since Bowers has been on the School Board, there have been 3 teacher salary increases, a supplies increase, 3 good schools closed (all in the most conservative area of the County), and increases in the debt beyond what the people of this County can afford.
( Teachers average over $47,000 and the average person in the County $17,000.)
Teachers can retire after 20 years, while the majority of the people supporting them have little or no retirement. (The State retirement program is over $20 Billion dollars in Debt). The School Board has taken most all the funds in the county, leaving nothing for other County construction like a new jail. The School Board has over-collected $45-$100 million dollars and has failed to refund the money even though SC Law 12-43-285 says they must refund. They took some $450,000 of money that was collected after an error by Duke Power that was supposed to be refunded to the people.
Put all this together, with the fact that the County has not appreciably grown, and the fact that performance of students has not gone up very much, if at all, in 30 years. Yet, with all the money spent, AdvanceED has not identified all the over-collected money, nor has any meaningful audit of the School Board's financial condition has not revealed that all the over-collection is happening. On top of everything, the State is responsible for funding education. Senator Martin, and Representatives Clary, Hiott, Collins, and others took an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of this state and they have not.
Public Policy is null and void if it conflicts with the Constitution.
I ask you to read Article 11 Section 3 and Article 10 Section 5 of the SC Constitution.
Junius Smith President
Conservatives of the Upstate