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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Action Alert: Contact Senator Rice Regarding A 7th School Board Member; Tell Him No

 Please call or write Senator Rex Rice on your opposition of the 7th School Board Member Legislation House Bill 3346. 

Below we have listed talking points you can use. 

Call or email MONDAY OR TUESDAY!   

Sen. Rice's home phone: 864-849-2132                                     office phone: 803-212-6100                                                       email:      

Board History: 
In 2006, the 9 member School Board ignored a NO VOTE by a voter referendum and spent twice as much as they asked for, raising taxes to get away with it.  

The Pickens County Delegation removed the three “at large” seats in 2007, leaving six districts that match those of the County Council.

By 2011 the School Board had gotten spending under control.

Tie votes were never problems. Less than 2% were tied, and those were resolved through compromise. 
Seventh Seat Legislation History
In 2013 a seventh School Board seat was proposed as a tactic to get another tax and spend member on the Board  by a newly formed vocal group called Concerned Citizens of Pickens County.

A special public hearing with the Delegation was held in 2013 with over 100 people in attendance.  Those speaking against the seventh seat outnumbered those in favor by 3 to 1.  

In June of 2015 Representatives Clary and Collins (Clemson and Easley) appeased pro-tax increase supporters (CCPC) by submitting Bill H. 4299 to add a seventh School Board seat.  The bill died in the Senate.

Taxpayers have said NO 3 times to this bill. Voters in Pickens County are overwhelmingly fiscal conservatives. 

2017 Delegation Meeting those speaking against the 7th seat outnumbered those in favor by 7 to 2
How H. 3346  7th School Board Member Legislation Will Affect YOU the taxpayer
If a seventh School Board district is created it will favor Easley with two seats on the School Board while other areas of Pickens County only have one.

Delegation will most likely appoint one of the bill’s public supporters, who supports a tax increase, will overspend taxpayer funding and borrow too much. And in 2022 when the lines are redrawn Easley will be favored again.
H. 3346 will prevent parents from having a vote on who sets policies affecting their children through two election cycles (five years).  

Redistricting will cost the County government money at a time when the State is not fully funding the County. Costs were estimated by Rodney Allen of the Pickens County Election commission to exceed $40,000 for redistricting. 

The at-large seat would  likely come from Easley  ( no district should have a monopoly of two trustees on the board) and would therefore be in violation of the Federal Voter Rights Act. 

Currently, all school board trustees are elected by the people directly every 4 years. Passage of this bill gives the delegation power to appoint the 7th member until Nov 2022. This means a School Board Member will be unelected and unaccountable to the voters for a 5 1/2 year term .

This bill also adds the requirement that the winning candidate must get more than 50% of the vote, not just the highest number of votes on election day. So some of these elections will now go to a run-off election.  This rule doesn't exist in Oconee, Greenville or Anderson for a reason. A Nov. 22 run-off election scenario would be only 10% vote in run-offs vs. 70% in general election. Therefore 10% of the voters have elected a board member and most likely the majority of  that 10% will be school district employees.

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