Courier Letters to the Editor

School board leaving debt-filled legacy

Dear Editor,

I have read that pomposity called the AdvancED report. It did make one truthful statement that warrants mentioning: “Members of the governing board reported themselves that not all of them share the vision of the district administration” (item 2, page 38).

Thankfully, Alex Saitta, Jimmy Gillespie and Ben Trotter actually have a vision of both scholastic and financial responsibility, and that is certainly contrary to the vision of the district administration. Otherwise we would have been broke before now.

The building program started at $150 million and now it is nearly $400 million, thanks to the fiscal insanity of the district administration. This fiscal insanity was actually applauded in the AdvanceEd report (item 4, page 39).

Last year the district had gained interest money (from excessive taxation) and voted to put aside $10 million to be used to pay down some of the $350 million in debt. The first meeting after Ben Trotter had resigned, in a 3-to-2 vote, the board was back to its old ways, with Jim Shelton, Judy Edwards and Herbert Cooper voting to raid that account and spend it all — like undisciplined children in a candy store. They did that and even spent more than $3 million from the fund balance — all in one meeting.

The vision of the district administration, as reported “between the lines” of the AdvanceEd report, is to go on hog-wild spending sprees. The result will be to leave a legacy of debt to the students of Pickens County.

Bill Johnston


Silence is compliance

Dear Editor,

I recently spoke to the Pickens County School Board to beg them to disseminate vital information to all K-3 teachers and parents about the developmentally inappropriateness of the Common Core Standards.

I also asked them to make teachers aware of an anonymous online survey which gives teachers an opportunity to voice any concerns they have over the implementation of these standards without fear of reprisal from administrators. The survey can be taken here:

The board’s response after my speech was, “The State of S.C. mandates these standards be implemented, and we are implementing them.” So I must believe that when the state mandates all public school children will wear brown uniforms with a swastika attached, the Pickens County School Board will implement that as well.

Why won’t our board stand up for children’s mental wellbeing? The largest school district in New Hampshire stood up and said “No” to their state mandates to implement these same standards. It can be done … but then that might require courage and not placing children’s future in the number one priority instead of money. I hope our board is prepared for a future class-action lawsuit when parents get verification from psychologists that their child has suffered mental child abuse at the hands of their teachers.

S.C. child abuse laws define mental child abuse as, “an injury to the intellectual, emotional, or psychological capacity or functioning of a child as evidenced by a discernible and substantial impairment of the child’s ability to function when the existence of that impairment is supported by the opinion of a mental health professional or medical profession.”

It is time our local school board quit being silent and complicit.

Johnnelle Raines

Upstate Regional Leader of SC Parents Involved in Education


Common Core concern

Dear Editor,

It has come to my attention that South Carolina is in the process of adopting the Common Core curriculum for all state schools. This will affect all public schools, private schools, Christian schools and home-schooled children.

I recently watched a television program in which they were discussing the Common Core curriculum which included teachers and scholars. They said this curriculum would affect our children, teachers and parents in a bad way. It would take away the control of the teacher over her class and the control of the parent over their child. They said it would be dumbing down our children. They also said common core is anti-family.

Since hearing about Common Core, I have asked many people about it, and they say they have never heard of it. I find this strange since it is already being processed for S.C. schools. I ask when was this presented to parents and explained or voted on? How many parents are aware of Common Core?

I am a great-grandmother, and this will affect my grandchildren; I advise you to contact our governor and legislators and fight against Common Core before it is too late.

Barbara Childs