Board delays Gettys Action

By Ben Robinson
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — After more than an hour in executive session at a special called meeting Monday night, members of the Pickens County School Board voted 5-0 to wait until its March meeting to make a decision on the old Gettys Middle School property.

Prior to the executive session, board member Judy Edwards said she wished there was a place for public input on the meeting’s agenda so that parents in favor of a second middle school in the Easley area could speak before the board. Board chair Alex Saitta said he was not aware of the need for public input when he created the agenda for the night, and there was no way he could add it to the agenda at that point, but he doubted any action would come from the executive session.

School district superintendent of instructional services Sharon Huff was with the board through executive session, substituting for Superintendent Dr.  Kelly Pew, who was unable to attend due to a family situation. But Pew did appear after the executive session by closed circuit television.

Former board member Ben Trotter was present, but only spoke with the crowd that had gathered during executive session. Trotter, who resigned effective Feb. 1, said that many of the health problems that he associated with the pressures of being on the board had cleared up in the past few weeks.

When the board returned from executive session, board member Jim Shelton reported that the board had decided to move toward the disposal of the old Gettys site and had asked the district personnel to evaluate all offers and present a recommendation at the board’s March meeting. The board voted 5-0 to approve the proposal.

After the meeting, Saitta expressed hope that the board was moving forward on the Gettys situation.

“I would like to sell the old Gettys, and the old Pickens Middle School for that matter,” Siatta said. “These vacant buildings are costing the school district thousands of dollars in education money each month to warehouse. How is it benefiting students to hold on to them? We have multiple bids on old Gettys and are seriously considering them. I hope the board will sell the property in the next month or two.”

In other business, the board elected a new vice chair. With former chairman Trotter’s resignation, vice chairman Saitta moved into the chair position.

Dr. Herbert Cooper nominated Edwards, but Edwards withdrew her nomination after Shelton was nominated by Saitta.

Shelton had formerly been the secretary for the board, so the board elected Edwards.

Trotter had also been on the board’s policy committee. Saitta suggested that Shelton be added to the committee and be named chair.

Many at the meeting were concerned with a recent accrediation review by AdvanceEd that some had said had been ignored by the board members, but the board took no action regarding the issue.