Courier Letters to the Editor 1-25-17

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Thanks to Dr. Merck

Dear Editor,

I’d like to thank Pickens County superintendent of education Dr. Danny Merck for his extraordinary efforts to help every student in Pickens County reach their highest potential. An example is Project Search, which is a partnership between the School District of Pickens County and Baptist Easley Hospital.

Project Search is an innovative new program to help students with special needs learn useful skills and gain employment. Project Search matches capable students with meaningful work within the hospital in the areas of dining services and meal delivery, cleaning, billing and other very necessary duties. Working closely with Vocational Rehabilitation, one intern has already been placed part-time within Baptist Easley.

Baptist Easley held team-building and orientation earlier in the school year, and now the interns work a 10-week rotation learning real world skills and helping others, too. What a great testament to the value of education and Dr. Merck’s focus on students. I appreciate all our superintendent and community partners are doing to ensure every child succeeds in Pickens County. We’re blessed to live in such a caring community.

Phillip Bowers


Pickens County School Board

COTU issues stance on seventh seat

Dear Editor,

The Conservatives of the Upstate board members have met and have decided on our firm position in regards to House Bill 3346 legislation to add a seventh school board member. COTU has 350-plus members on its membership roster. Our web site is

Below is the wording of the bill at present:

“H 3346 General Bill, By Collins, Clary, Hiott, Newton

“Summary: Pickens County School Board of Trustees

“A bill to amend Act 260 of 1981, as amended, relating to the Pickens County School Board of Trustees, so as to increase the number of board members from six to seven, to provide the seventh member initially must be appointed by the governor upon recommendation of a majority of the legislative delegation of Pickens County to serve at large until a member representing a newly created seventh single-member district is elected and qualified in the 2022 general election, at which time the at-large seat terminates, and to provide all Pickens County School Board members must be elected by majority vote beginning with the general election in 2022.”

COTU is for killing this present bill as worded.

COTU is for allowing the present school board superintendent to have the power of voting in case of a tie until the year 2022.

COTU is for the superintendent position becoming an elected position by we the people of Pickens County in the year 2022 with the right to be the tie-breaking vote.

COTU is for granting the right of petition referendum to we the people of Pickens County when we disagree with a decision to close a school or raise taxes.

COTU is for all Pickens County School Board members being elected by a 51 percent vote.

COTU is against a seventh school board member, period, as it is not needed.

COTU is against any at-large seat on the board, period, as history shows this is not good governance.

COTU is against any appointed board member, period, as this is not good governance. The citizens should have the right to elect all school board members.

COTU is against redistricting due to the cost to the taxpayer. We want our school board to have the same number as our county council which at present is six.

Conservatives of the Upstate will fight any final legislation that has any elements we have listed above that we are against all the way to the governor’s office.

If this legislation is ultimately passed as worded without amending it to include an elected superintendent beginning 2022 and giving the people the right to petition referendum, COTU will hold the entire Pickens Legislative Delegation accountable for any poor decisions made by this school board in the upcoming elections.

Junius Smith, president

Johnnelle Raines, board member

Conservatives of the Upstate