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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November Pickens County School Board Insulting To Pickens County Residents...

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 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.
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.
One member of Conservatives Of The Upstate said ... 
"Suspiciously, terms like "vision", "sustainable" and "stakeholders" were used in presentations." 
The last time we heard this term was at a public meeting with our former superintendent Dr. Kelly Pew.

Dr. Pew was asked by Conservatives Of The Upstate who "stakeholders" were.

She replied, "Parents, teachers, administrators, business leaders."

The speaker said, "As a parent, I was not consulted."

She replied, "Parents are not on the level of stakeholder we consulted."

We also heard that a group of large businesses has given their approval for the tax increase. Realize that most of these businesses don't pay taxes; instead they pay fees in lieu of taxes. So, of course they're for taxes that they don't have to pay.

Citizens were told they will not be impacted by the tax increase because it's only on business and rental property.

That's untrue, ACT 388 took the taxes off our primary residence, leaving the taxes on our neighboring family parcels, our cars, and our boats and ATVs. 
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 
• Improper use of bond funds on operational expenses
Slides from the district presentation:

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