Why we don't need another school board member
by Philip Smith
On Tuesday October 22, I attended the delegation meeting on the Hiott-Skelton bills to add another school board member.
The delegation consisted of Senator Larry Martin and Representatives Owens, Hiott, and Skelton. Senator Thomas Alexander was not present.
The arguments presented by the delegates and by the speakers from the public, stated two reasons for adding an additional member to the school board:
• 38% of the students in Pickens County attend school in the Easley District, and supposedly the majority of their parents feel that they are not fairly represented, andThe first reason, that the parents are not fairly represented, is conspicuously false, as there is only one school board and, as Pickens County Councilman Neil Smith pointed out, all residents in Pickens County are represented by a school board member. It was also pointed out at the September 2013 school board meeting that the Liberty Area Board member, Ben Trotter, often fielded calls from all over the district and Easley Board Member Judy Edwards even went as far as saying, "Ben often helps me with calling back parents in my district."
• An uneven number is supposedly needed on the board in order to avoid tie votes.
Furthermore, School Board Member Jim Shelton's district is close to 70% Easley and only 30% Dacusville. Combined with Edwards comments - Easley seems the most represented with two and a half members!
Eleven speakers supported the bills, and several of them were not even from the Easley district! If only 3% of the parents in the Easley District desired this bill, at least 190 parents should have shown up.
The second issue is a non-issue that has only happened once according to School Board minutes.
Senator Larry Martin expressed that an at large member may be illegal, yet the League Of Women voters had four speakers and the NAACP also joined in to advocate an at large seat. An at large seat (and really ANY ELECTION) is unfair to minorities because they are poorly represented by both number and socio-economics in the county.
There must be unstated reasons for those bills to have been introduced. The only certainty about this bill is that it would increase government.
With bills like this, why would we desire MORE government, as opposed to less?
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