May 20 2015
I introduced a local bill (S. 799) that calls for a 2/3 vote by the Anderson County Board of Education before any school merges or closings. After last week’s ruckus in School District 5, there must be another check and balance when Anderson County School Boards take action, especially without your input.
The Chairman of the District 5 board tried to ram his through plan to merge T.L. Hanna and Westside high schools without public input. On Thursday, May 14 over 200 parents took time out of their busy schedules to attend the School Board meeting. Most, if not all, were opposed to the plan, a plan they obviously had not heard when the same Chairman was begging for a tax increase. The Chairman opened the meeting with the condescending statement, “we are not hearing public comment.” So, he wants your money, but not your opinion.
This flies in the face of Democracy. I have chaired dozens of sub-committee hearings in the Senate. Anybody and everybody, no matter what their political viewpoint, gets a chance to be heard. As a matter of fact, I chaired a sub-committee just last week on two bills. We had folks that drove from Charleston to speak on the bills. The clock ran out, and all of them did not get a chance to speak. We carried over both bills because we didn’t have time to listen to their concerns. The District 5 Chairman obviously feels differently about the First Amendment.
He eventually pulled the offensive plan, however, it was because of the facebooks, twitters, snapchats, and other social media, seeing that you were denied your opportunity to speak at the meeting.
Is a 2/3 vote by the County School Board the answer? Some have suggested a referendum. I’m not sure, but it has been put forth for your input. Let me know your thoughts.