Bowers pushes for career center funding

By Ben Robinson
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Pickens County School Board member Phillip Bowers unsuccessfully pushed for $41,000 in funding to be restored for the Career and Technology Center at the board’s meeting on Monday night.

Dr. Herbert Cooper said he would like to hear superintendent Danny Merck’s opinion on the matter.

Merck said the funding was needed, but there were other needs created by board budget cuts. It would be up to the board whether to restore funding now.

Board member Judy Edwards suggested the board wait until the district passes the 135-day enrollment period.

Board member Alex Saitta said budget amendments need to be passed either in the fall or the spring. Otherwise, if the board is willing to consider budget line items on an individual basis, people would be encouraged to bypass the superintendent and just try to get the favor of one board member on a project.

Bowers said he felt that following such policies slows down progress toward solving the district’s problems.

“This has gone on for years,” Bowers said.

The motion to table the funding passed by a 4-2 vote, with Bowers and Henry Wilson voting against it.

Clark says schools are being shorted by the state

Weldon Clark said that he is opposed to any tax increase and felt one could be avoided if the state returned to its funding before the “Obama recession.”

The previous funding amounted to about $800 per student, or $4.8 million per year.

“Not only are you getting shorted, so is the county and so are all towns in the whole state,” Clark said. “It even goes down to law enforcement. You are all getting shorted. So I would suggest you put some heat on members of the general assembly.”

Raines circulating petition

Johnelle Raines of Pickens said the Concerned Taxpayers of Pickens County are circulating a petition against any school tax increase. The copies of the petition are at various local store and at a table set up at the Pickens Bargain Exchange.

So far only two visitors at the bargain exchange table were in favor of the tax increase, she said. One was a former member of the school board of Pickens County. The other was a teacher.

“Last week the best comment I heard was ‘Who in their right mind would want more taxes?,’” Raines said. “The most disturbing comment was ‘Why sign it? They’ll just raise taxes anyway.’ That is very disturbing to me.”

Raines said she and fellow concerned taxpayer Junius Smith have been compared to “barking dogs” because they speak out against government officials.

“And I will continue to bark loudly and often,” she promised.

Burrell supports prayer

Rev. Jimmy Burrell stood up in support of prayer before meetings at Monday’s meeting.

Burrell said that late last year the board approved the prayers after a case in New York supported the practice of prayers at public meetings.

“People seem concerned about political correctness,” Burrell said. “I am more concerned about Biblical correctness.”

Burrell asked that council reconsider the issue again.