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Well isn’t that interesting…
Does anyone REALLY wonder what is behind this all now?
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The Pickens County School Board meeting this Monday night was appalling. With new members Wilson, Swords, along with Edwards and Cooper; the Board has taken on the appearance of a Communist, Marxist, and Agenda 21 type group. They have formed an adhoc committee which does not have a single member identifying themselves as conservative.
The new Board is promoting tax increases to pay teachers, do maintenance on the schools, and make debt payments on school buildings.
The notion of "teachers will be fired if we don't raise taxes" was repeated as a bully tactic by Dr. Merck, who is the new Superintendent of PC Schools.
Dr. Merck also denied saying that the plan by the Adhoc Committee included the closing of the three mountain schools (Ambler, A.R. Lewis, and Holly Springs). We had a half dozen witnesses that attended a morning meeting that knew this was not true; including at least two members of the Board.
Junius Smith reminded the board of the past history that the citizens of Pickens County had provided for the school system and that revenue from locals had increased 700% over the past 15 years while the CPI was not more that 45%. He reminded the board; the State of South Carolina is responsible for education under Article 11, Section 3 of the SC Constitution.
A respected taxpayer advocate discussed the fact that the State of South Carolina had extra money and that the School Board should go after that. He said this fact seemed to be falling on deaf ears as the new Board has their minds set on extracting more money from the local economy.A rebuttal to the school board plan was voiced by several conservative members of the public ...
One speaker pointed out that Spartanburg had just rejected such a tax increase.
One member of Conservatives Of The Upstate said ...
"Suspiciously, terms like "vision", "sustainable" and "stakeholders" were used in presentations."
Junius Smith also reminded Chairman Swords of the fact that he had presented to him the following discrepancies in Board actions through former School Superintendent Pew and the Sheriff of Pickens County:• Disenfranchisement of Liberty voters
• Ignoring SCAGO as owner of bonds and interest money
• Conflicts of interest
• Violations of oaths of office
• Over collection of taxes and failure to refund
• Improper handling of Duke Energy taxes-did not refund to the taxpayers
• Improper handling of protested taxes put into Deliquent Tax Fund
Slides from the district presentation:• Improper use of bond funds on operational expenses
The study from the CATO institute shows that American student performance has remained poor, and has actually declined in mathematics and verbal skills, despite per-student spending tripling nationwide over the same 40-year period.
I am in hope that you will not make the mistake of voting for McKenzie, Qualkenbush, or Woods for the school Board of Pickens County.
I have always said that elected officials should not have the power to fatten their own pocket books by a vote that directly benefits themselves or their family. Two of the above candidates Mr. McKenzie and Mr. Qualkenbush have wives that work for the School District. Ms. Woods works for the Government also. Therefore any vote that they make concerning salaries, working conditions, retirement, and teacher benefits is a DIRECT conflict of interest.
Current Board members who have this primary conflict of interest, Shelton (sister) and Edwards (retired teacher) have voted almost 100% of the time for benefits for their relatives. Teachers in Pickens County make almost twice as much salary combined with the best benefits as the average citizen that must pay these salaries and benefits.Now, concerning the October 2014 School Board Meeting …
This leaves Phillip Bowers who has dedicated himself to serving all the folks in this county. His only flaw is that he made some decisions while serving as Chairman of the local Republican Party that a few of the people didn't like which is certainly understandable.
Based on the information I have received form several sources, the Board is delaying the school prayer issue until after the election. Ms. Edwards, Mr. Swords,and Mr. Shelton continue to break every rule of by ethical conduct by voting on issues of salary, etc. that directly effect their own relatives, themselves, children, and spouses.
In my opinion, they are waiting on the candidates that are running for the Board so they can continue to fatten their own pockets. Additionally, Supt. Merck was out last week telling how they were going to close the three mountain schools (which are local favorites) and use portables until they can steal more money for a new school so that they can save money and finance the high energy costs at all the over-sized schools they have illegally built.
The School Board had previously castigated the local population for causing them to use portables. Additionally, Article 11 section 3 of the SC Constitution explicitly says that the state is responsible for education. SC Statutory law Act 388 says that the State is responsible for all operational expenses. What the Board is trying to do is shift all the expenses to the local Pickens County people by building other schools or using portables at existing schools. There is not any thought given to the amount of travel that is involved in the new set up and the expense to both the schools and the people.
Provide That A Public Utility May Use Easements Related To Public Highways Or Roads For Purposes Related To That Utility If Granted A Permit By The State Or Local Government Entity And Satisfaction Of Other Conditions, And To Provide That A State Or Local Government Entity May Grant The Permit Based On Its Prescriptive Authority For The Expansion Of Utilities.http://legiscan.com/SC/bill/H5182/2013
In case you didn’t feel taxed enough, some lawmakers in South Carolina are asking to be able to add a sales tax to pay for school construction projects.
Hold on. I thought SC had a Republican majority? Don’t they want to advance bills that would eliminate Obamacare, Common Core, abortion and reduce the size of government?
Well, not really. The most important thing for the majority of Republicans in this state to do is find ways to tax the middle class for their pet projects.
According to theState, the Senate Finance Committee advanced a bill Tuesday, sponsored by state Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, that would allow school districts in all of the state’s 46 counties to ask voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax for building projects.
Currently only two counties – Horry and Charleston – now collect the 1-cent-on-the-dollar tax (cleverly called a “penny” tax). The tax can be imposed for no more than 15 years before voters must be asked to re-authorize it (yeah right).
Under the current law, in which a county where a school district operates must raise $7 million in accommodations taxes, imposed on vacation and other temporary rental properties, before it can ask voters to approve the sales tax for education, causes a disadvantage to counties that don’t have tourist attractions. Peeler said an advantage is given to school districts in Charleston and Horry counties.
“I wanted Cherokee County to be able to enjoy what Charleston and Horry counties have been enjoying for years,” said Peeler, the Senate’s majority leader. “We don’t have a beach. We don’t have an ocean. We do have a ‘Yellow Mall,’” he said, referring to the name locals use for Gaffney’s outlet mall.
The Senate Finance Committee advanced the bill on Tuesday. But a fellow Republican, Sen. Kevin Bryant of Anderson, objected to the bill, making its road to passage tougher.
Bryant said the people who will benefit from the additional sales tax will push it, while “the poor fellow trying to find a couple of extra pennies in his pocket is at an unfair advantage. That’s why I’m against all these tax increases.”
No tax, subsidy or charge shall be established, fixed, laid or levied, under any pretext whatsoever, without the consent of the people or their representatives lawfully assembled. Any tax which shall be levied shall distinctly state the public purpose to which the proceeds of the tax shall be applied.
It is with mixed emotions that I write this email. After much consideration and prayer, I have decided to accept a position in Anderson School District Four as the principal of Mount Lebanon Elementary and will not be returning to Chastain Road in the fall. This was not an easy decision and came down to the simple fact that Mount Lebanon is much closer to home and will allow me to spend more time with family.
I am grateful for my time at Chastain Road and consider it an honor to have been able to open this school with you. I have often said that opening a new school was the hardest thing that I have ever done professionally, but I also acknowledge that it was successful only because of the effort that each of you put forth from day one. And I could not be prouder of the school that Chastain Road has become. I truly consider each of you part of my family and that makes this decision bittersweet. I wish each of you nothing but the best in the future and anticipate continuing to hear wonderful things from CRE.
I will be working with the district to determine a timeline for selecting the next principal at CRE and will communicate those details with you as soon as I know them.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and support of my decision. If you have any questions or concerns as we move forward, please let me know.
Elliott M. Southard
Principal, Chastain Road Elementary