Alex Saitta running for school board re-election

PICKENS — Alex Saitta is running for re-election for the Pickens seat on the Pickens County School Board.

He and his wife, Carmen, have two daughters. Scarlett is in ninth grade at Pickens High School, and the other will follow next year — Amber is in eighth grade attending the Youth Leadership Academy charter school.

In 2010, when Saitta became the chairman of the board, the graduation rate was 71.2 percent. The board set a goal of 80 percent, and over the next few years it beefed up remedial reading, lowered class sizes, expanded the career center and hired graduation coaches. The graduation rate is now nearly 83 percent.

Alex Saitta BW“I know what it is like to be a parent of children in school,” Saitta said. “When our girls graduate Pickens High, I hope both will be part of even larger graduating classes.”

Saitta strongly opposed the closing of any schools and voted against closing Holly Springs and A.R. Lewis elementaries.

“Taxpayers just spent $6 million to renovate the schools, and we’ll be paying off that loan until 2032,” Saitta said. “I voted against closing the schools. No one would spend their own money that way, and it shows how some decisions lack simple common sense.”

A former financial analyst, Saitta now prepares tax returns and manages rental properties. He has become the financial conscience of the board fighting waste, protecting classroom funding and advocating smaller class sizes.

“I proposed and voted to add many classroom teaching positions in the 2011 to 2013 school years, and have never voted to eliminate even one,” Saitta said. “Since then, the new board has fallen back into the bad habit of eliminating teaching positions — 65 the past three years, and I voted against all of that.”

In the wake of closing schools, eliminating teaching positions and having blocked attempts to bring Christian prayer back to school board meetings, Saitta sees himself as a watchdog on the board, looking out for the public’s interest.

“The question all voters need to ask themselves is this: Do you trust the school board to do the right thing when you’re not looking?” he said. “The public needs a trustee who is their eyes and ears, does his research, and has the courage to speak up when the board is ignoring the wishes of the people.”