• Senator Larry Martin
• Representative Davy Hiott
• Representative B.R. Skelton
• Representative Phil Owens
• Representative Joshua Putnam
The crowd was exactly counted and verified … 98 people, not including the delegation. The Pickens County Courier reported that hundreds were in attendance. This "crowd estimation" begs the question … only 4 people spoke according their reporting … out of hundreds! The real total was that nearly 1/4 of the public spoke and most opposed Hiott and Skelton sponsored bills.
Compare what was published in the paper and online at the Pickens County Courier:
A Greenville News report gave a similar limited account of the meeting.
(Cannot be linked due to paywall)
(Cannot be linked due to paywall)
1st Presentation: League of Women's voters Elanore Hair …
Happy with non-partisan election commission, facing purchase of new machines and should be a transparent community focused process, League Task Force recommended avoiding Express Vote Machines due to proprietary bar coding that restricts transparency. (Note: All printed receipts have full information of voter and barcode is translated instantly to verify voter information. This is the same organization against Voter ID, ironic they ask for transparency with this issue.)
2nd Presentation: League of Women's Voters of Clemson Holly Ulbrich …
Transparency concerns, specifically ethics concerns that drive distrust of officials and govt, also want prohibitions against out of state waste & protections for local governments, solid waste should be left to local govt. , prefers some at-large school board members to improve accountability. (Note: The League Of Women Voters wants what Senator Larry Martin has called an illegal option, yet LOWV continues to press for the at large seat. Larry Martin has clarified that the only legal option would be to redistrict.)
3rd Presentation: Upstate Parents involved in Education, Johnnelle Raines …
Her speech obtained in its entirety …
MY NAME IS JOHNNELLE RAINES AND I AM HERE TONIGHT AS A CITIZEN OF PICKENS COUNTY CONCERNED ABOUT CHILDREN’S EDUCATION AND AS THE UPSTATE LEADER FOR SC PARENTS INVOLVED IN EDUCATION.
I HAVE TAKEN THE TIME TO READ ALL THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS GRADES K THROUGH 12. MOST SUPPORTERS OF THESE STANDARDS HAVE NOT READ OR RESEARCHED THE PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH THESE STANDARDS WHICH ARE MULTIPLE IN NUMBER AND GRAVE IN LEVEL OF CONCERN.
THESE STANDARDS WERE NOT PROPERLY VETTED. THERE IS NO RESEARCH TO SUPPORT THEIR EFFECTIVENESS. THEY HAVE NOT BEEN FIELD TESTED. BOTTOM LINE IS…SC CHILDREN ARE GUINEA PIGS AND OUR 2010 EDUCATION DECISION MAKERS HAVE PIMPED SC CHILDREN OUT TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER …THE FEDERAL GOV’T AND BILL GATES WHO TOGETHER HAVE INVESTED OVER 4 BILLION 510 MILLION DOLLARS TO PROMOTE THESE STANDARDS. WHY DID OUR EDUCATION DECISION MAKERS SELL OUR STUDENTS OUT? THE ANSWER PURE AND SIMPLE… MONEY… AND A NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND WAIVER. NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE SURE THESE STANDARDS ARE BETTER THAN OUR PREVIOUS ONES.
AMERICA ROSE TO GREATNESS WHEN EDUCATION WAS DECENTRALIZED AND THE FEDERAL GOV’T HAD NO SAY IN WHAT THE STATES TAUGHT. LOCAL CONTROL HAS A PROVEN RECORD TO BE EFFECTIVE. WITH COMMON CORE LOCAL CONTROL IS IMPOSSIBLE.
OTHER GRAVE CONCERNS ARE THE INTRUSIVE STUDENT DATA COLLECTION BY A SECURITY LEAKING FEDERAL GOV’T, THE ONE SIZED FITS ALL COOKIE CUTTER STANDARDS WITH AN ENVISIONED GOAL OF PRODUCING A WORKFORCE FILLED WITH POLITICALLY CORRECT SOCIAL JUSTICE ROBOTS, THE DEVELOPMENTALLY INAPPROPRIATENESS, THE LOSS OF TIME SPENT ON CLASSIC LITERATURE AND THE FUZZY MATH TEACHING TECHNIQUES. THESE STANDARDS ARE NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF SC CHILDREN. WE CAN AND MUST DO BETTER!
I HAVE A MASTER’S DEGREE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION… BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY I HAVE 29 YEARS OF SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE TEACHING 6 AND 7 YEAR OLD CHILDREN. I CONSIDER MYSELF AN EXPERT ON THIS AGED CHILD. CHILDREN ARE UNIQUE…NOT COMMON. SC NEEDS EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS WHICH MEET THE NEEDS OF THE CHILD, CELEBRATE THEIR INDIVIDUALITY AND FREEDOM NOT STANDARDS WHICH PROMOTE SAMENESS AND STATISM. THESE STANDARDS WILL TEACH CHILDREN THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTE TRUTHS AND EVERYTHING IS ARGUABLE… EVEN 2+2 … AND YES … EVEN THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. JESUS TELLS US IN LUKE 17:2 “IT WERE BETTER FOR HIM THAT A MILLSTONE WERE HANGED AROUND HIS NECK, AND HE WERE THROWN INTO THE SEA, THAN THAT HE CAUSE ONE OF THESE LITTLE ONES TO STUMBLE.”
I AM HERE TO TELL YOU… THESE STANDARDS WILL CAUSE YOUNG CHILDREN IN OUR SCHOOLS TO DAILY STUMBLE. THEY REQUIRE YOUNG CHILDREN TO THINK ABSTRACTLY, WHICH THEY CANNOT DO.
IT’S LIKE SHOWING A 9 MONTH OLD BABY A TOY …HIDING IT BEHIND YOUR BACK AND EXPECTING THE CHILD TO FIND IT. THE CHILD IS NOT DEVELOPMENTALLY READY. EXPECTING YOUNG CHILDREN TO THINK ABSTRACTLY WHEN THEY ARE NOT READY IS CAUSING CRYING, ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, AND A HATRED OF SCHOOL. MY OWN GRANDSON NOW DECLARES, “I HATE MATH.”
A RESOLUTION AGAINST THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THESE DANGEROUS STANDARDS WAS PASSED BY THE SC GOP. SENATOR MARTIN…REPRESENTATIVE OWENS…YOU BOTH ARE ON DECISION MAKING EDUCATION COMMITTEES IN THE LEGISLATURE…BOTH OF YOU SHOULD BE ACTIVELY SEEKING AN END TO COMMON CORE. YOUR NAMES SHOULD BE ON SENATE BILL 300 AND HOUSE BILL 3943. YOU BOTH HAVE THE POWER TO AFFECT CHANGE FOR THE BETTER IN EDUCATION.
HAVE YOU EVEN GIVEN THOUGHT ABOUT BEING POTENTIALLY LIABLE IN THE FUTURE FOR DAMAGE TO YOUNG MINDS? PLEASE GIVE IT PRAYERFUL CONSIDERATION AS TO THE RIGHT THING TO DO FOR THE CHILDREN OF SC.
THANK YOU FOR LISTENING TO MY GRIEVANCES.
I ALSO AM IN OPPOSTION TO ADDING A 7TH MEMBER TO THE SCHOOL BOARD. IF ANYONE IS KEEPING A TALLY OF OPPOSITION PLEASE MARK ME DOWN AS OPPOSED TO THE HIOTT/SKELTON BILL.
4th Presentation: Joyce Klein …
Asked for legislators to amend CHEA (Comprehensive Health Education Act) so kids are taught medically accurate information about health to students, currently don't know who or what is taught to kids, ALL educators should be trained in their area of expertise, people deserve medically accurate information about abstinence, birth control, and pregnancy. SC spends $200 million on teen pregnancy, & is 3rd in the nation with sexually transmitted diseases. Asked for better, accurate sex education.
1) Junius Smith, Pickens, Conservatives of Upstate …
Against adding 7th school board seat, $411 million spent on schools we can't afford to maintain & now looking at a tax increase. Act 388 was largest tax increase in Pickens County history, Conservatives of Upstate is investigating lawsuits against SC to free us from paying for schools. Pickens County is one of 20 poorest counties in US. Pickens County Council has 5 Republicans & 1 Democrat but can solve problems & School board can't . Schools have flat roofs. Stated he had initiated legal action against School Board before but dropped it before winning. People are losing homes and cars. Taxes are too high.
2) Phillip Bowers, Six Mile, Pickens County Republican Party Chair …
Common Core is bad. B.R. Skelton has proposed raising gas tax and that is bad idea. SC needs comprehensive tax reform. Need $500 Million to do roads & can find by cutting spending, not by raising taxes
Schools: 213 people from school boards to Governor are politically involved in schools & that is enough. As part of the Republican party, Bowers wants to hear from Republican Representatives Hiott & Skelton about their school board bills in writing before session. Ethics: appointing judges & then serving as lawyer in front of them is unethical. He asked the question: Is it ethical to speak about Republican platform items in Pickens County& then act otherwise in Columbia?
Representative B.R. Skelton answered comments with angry tone: He called all tea party and conservative groups delusional if they think we don't have to raise the gas tax. Borrowed cliche quote stating that Bowers was entitled to his own opinion, not his own facts, gas tax would cost typical SC resident $1/week, roads need $29 Billion. Skelton ... "A true conservative does the right thing to solve problems , signing no tax pledges is not conservative."
3) David Chappel: Dacusville …
Against adding 7th School Board Seat due to costs … Out of state garbage is a bad idea.
4) Philip Smith: Liberty, Conservatives Of The Upstate, The Liberty Monitor …
At a previous delegation meeting he asked if delegation was on Facebook and if they would do a better job of keeping the public informed including proper notification of quorums published in a newspaper or prominently online. Philip stated that he did id not appreciate the response Davey Hiott gave and that Hiott couldn't possibly be as busy as Congressman Jeff Duncan. Philip stated that Skelton & Hiott don't represent the Liberty area . Philip finished with … "If you think raising the gas tax is a good idea then for your next campaign you might as well put B.R. Skelton Communist for House on your campaign signs."
(Note: Philip was approached by Elanore Hair after the meeting where she stated that she did not appreciate how he spoke to the delegation and that he should be ashamed of himself.)
5) Judge Candidate - Jim Alexander - self promoting.
6) Garvin Bolding, Six Mile …
Adding a new school board member would give an unfair part of county control & is unnecessary, need to focus on getting business into Pickens County by working together. Pickens County needs more private enterprise.
7) Steve Haynie: Easley …
School board solves problems okay, don't need 7 seats, doesn't see people screaming for school board members at meetings. If they came to meetings they could see where they solving issues, Common Core not good , ObamaCare defense needed. Encouraged delegation to please prohibit expansion of Medicaid. Before raising gas taxes, we should see spending control such as not adding bike trails etc to Hwy 153.
Phil Owens commented: Look at the end of bills when they are voted to go to other Senate instead of who sponsors them, he rarely signs on as a sponsor because they may change later. Example : Didn't support cigarette tax until it was cut from general fund and linked to health issues.
8) Weldon Clark, Liberty: Treasurer of Taxpayers Association …
People that want a 7th school board member should look at the school board member from Easley who mismanaged building program & cost Easley their 2nd middle school. Opposed to Common Core. To fix roads - limit gas tax to distribution for specifically fix roads
9) Ensley Feemster, Clemson …
7th School board district will cause voter confusion. Relayed personal story about previous at large seat confusion.
10) Dan Winchester: Taxpayer Association …
Speaking as former school board member … Current School board is good , adding seats would cause confusion because of difference from County Council, who would pay for costs, the argument for change makes a false argument that people from some areas can't reach School Board members. Wants South Carolina to opt out of Common Core.
11) Michelle Wiles, Pickens, Vice Chair Pickens County Republican Party …
Quoted Governor Haley on budget, lots of earmarks and use of non-renewable funds, Legislature over-road governor's vetoes, this year the legislature did not advance freedom, State officials should be finding ways to spend less. Expressed that she is against 7th School Board seat & against Common Core
12) Chris Watkins …
School Board expansion unnecessary because splits allow deliberation. Dividing up districts would cause problems and confusion in regards to current County Council districts Stated … "Shouldn't Republicans want less government as in 5? School Board members & Why raise taxes for roads during recession?- now that's delusional."
13) Margaret Hendricks, Pickens County GOP …
No 7th School board seat. No to Common Core.
14) Bill Johnston …
no to 7th school board seat, no Common Core, no to road tax, support 2nd Amendment by doing a roll call, no to Obamacare
15) Alex Saitta, Pickens School Board Member …
Graduation are rates going up, but never going to hit 90 % etc , problem is with legislature, dropouts are a social problem that starts at home with a lack of moral guidance, need clinical approach to get behavior right, educators see all problems through academic prism, legislature needs to give incentives. Charter schools create academic innovations.
16) Jim Shelton, Easley, School Board Member …
Building plan is actually $630 million considering interest, opposed to a 2nd public Middle School in Easley after the Easley people talked themselves out of it, leaving School Board at 6 seats will make it easier for Easley to get a new Middle School. Shelton stated … "Which would you rather spend $35,000 for redistricting costs or $35 million for a new school?"
Changing to 7 makes it harder for Easley to take over board. Easley is already recruiting School members,.
(Note that as of this writing ... 4 board members have Easley addresses, adding a 7th district or seat would expand that to 5 of 7)
17) Debbie Hall: Wanted an update from legislature about abortion and declaring personhood at moment of conception.
Larry Martin response : Legislature is constrained by legal requirements of Constitution and Supreme Court. Gave an example saying "Some mothers say they feel it the moment they get pregnant, well, my wife didn't feel it."
18) Tom Ponder, Dacusville, Pickens County Council …
Roads are an issue, who controls DOT? Who controls budget?
Stated: "Whoever is calling shots is not in touch with priorities of SC citizens, because the biggest concern around here is roads!"