Courier Letters to the Editor 9-21-2016

The Pickens County Courier gladly accepts letters to the editor. Letters must be no longer than 500 words. All letters must be signed, including first and last name, address and phone number in order to be considered for publication. Only the name and city where you reside will be printed. Submission does not guarantee publication. we reserve the right to edit for content and length. No slanderous or obscene material will be accepted. Letters to the Editor and columns do not necessarily reflect the Courier’s opinion.

It is time to take control

Dear Editor,

It is time to take control of this school board and stop being victims!

My family moved to Pickens from up North a year ago. We came from a small town very much like Pickens. The downside was the school district there and the changes they implemented against the voters’ wishes. When faced with the decision to leave everyone and everything we knew, I thought, “we’re moving south!”

I mean, come on, the South is widely known for their deep religious beliefs and strong community ties. We feel at home here because of the friendly and accepting community, and we specifically chose Pickens because of Ambler, where our children would attend.

I never in a million years thought we would be facing the exact same challenges with the school board as the one we just left. Let me give you a little history of the school board up north and how their decisions ruined our town.

Under the guise of “consolidating for efficiency” and “growth and opportunities for the smaller schools” (sound familiar?!), they closed two wonderful elementary schools, and the result was an elementary school almost the size of a campus. The taxpayers will still be paying for the closed schools for years to come (just like we will be here), the class sizes were considerably larger, bus rides were so long it bordered on illegal (our son now gets the bus at 6:45 a.m., which is ridiculous) and the kids were just numbers; not individual students.

Taxes kept going up to cover the expenses that the closing of the schools was supposed to cover (so much so that the taxes were higher monthly than an average mortgage), but any excess funds were spent on frivolous decisions of the board. Foreclosures were ridiculously high there, and property values were in the toilet.

The new campus-size elementary school implemented security guards, drug-sniffing dogs and they were discussing metal detectors in the schools when we left. Can’t imagine that happening here? I never thought it could happen there, either. We lived in a town where we never had to even lock the doors!

We have the school board election coming up soon with open seats. I want to urge everyone to please encourage anyone they know in Easley and Clemson that is a conservative and knows the value of our community and smaller schools to run for an open seat.

We’re pretty lucky in Pickens, as we have two strong community leaders running for that seat that would never be in favor of closing our schools and passing illegal decisions like what has happened recently. However, it has been four against two in all the major decisions affecting our community and our beloved “mountain schools.” That needs to change so the majority vote is in our favor!

The school board’s five-year plan has the strong possibility and plan to close more schools in the near future. We need candidates to run who are aware that they represent the voters, not the school administration.

Laura Demler


Setting it straight

Dear Editor,

Thank you to the readers of the Pickens County Courier for setting the record straight and reminding the letter writer of two weeks ago that prayers in any other name than Jesus are not heard by God.

Romans 10:9: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Mr. Saitta is trying to restore “in Jesus’ name” prayers to the school board, but the board has stopped him again. I pray more take a principled stand. If he is stirring up trouble, consider me a trouble-maker for Jesus, too.

After most of our officials are elected they stop listening to God but take their orders from man, and they have run up the white flag on their Christian beliefs. The ACLU loves them. The ACLU detests Mr. Saitta and Mr. Dabo Swinney and anybody who promotes Christian values.

All citizens of Pickens County must stand against these anti-American organizations and their allies who work against the common man and woman in our country.

John 14:6: “Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Elizabeth Ellenburg


Supporting positive change

Dear Editor,

We have an opportunity to support positive change on the Pickens County School Board by supporting District 3 candidate Shannon Haskett.

Mr. Haskett is a well-known and well-respected local businessman whose primary concern is for students, teachers, schools and the well-being of Pickens County and its citizens. I am a newly retired teacher from Holly Springs Elementary School, and I actively watched last spring as the school district’s facilities committee, which Mr. Haskett led as a parent volunteer, worked to find alternatives to closing our mountain schools. It was a problem that he did not create, but he was willing to seek solutions.

I admired Mr. Haskett’s efforts as he researched, spoke with community members, did the math and presented his findings and recommendations — based on his collaborations and observations. His genuineness and his ability and desire to work as a team are much-needed qualities he will bring to the Pickens County School Board.

Shannon Haskett would be a welcome addition to the Pickens County School Board and a much-needed voice for Pickens County families.

Betty McDaniel


In support of Saitta

Dear Editor,

I’ve served on the Pickens County School Board 16 years (four terms). Board members usually fall into two broad categories: those who follow the district administration, and those who follow the public.

The district administration’s point of view is already overly represented on the current board. You saw this when the public wanted to keep Holly Springs and Albert R. Lewis open, but the administration and most of the board members ignored the public and closed the schools anyway.

I fear with the new board members coming from Easley and Clemson (two former school administrators), we’ll see a school board that is even less responsive to the public.

Alex Saitta is uniquely qualified for many reasons, but mostly he is independently minded and has an attentive ear to the public. He is a much-needed counter weight on the side of the people. We all saw how he spoke out and voted against closing our two country schools. He has taken up for the taxpayers and for Christians when it comes to school board prayer.

Alex not only listens to the public, but keeps us informed with his letters to the editor, mailers and being accessible to the media. The public cannot afford to lose that, or we’ll never know what is truly going on.

Alex has saved untold tax dollars and has unmatched financial knowledge of the school district. When Clemson City Council was overcharging the county and school district $10 million on the TIF, Alex uncovered what was going on, researched the law and led a successful lawsuit to get our money back. Now it is being repaid and used to educate students in Pickens County.

I visited the Pickens County Career and Technology Center and I was greatly impressed. Ninth through 12th-grade students are engaged in most exciting career training from auto robotics to biomedical science to construction. Many graduating students are placed with local companies in the Upstate. Current and past board members, administrators, teachers and staff have made the career center a jewel of the School District of Pickens County.

Alex says what he means and does what he says. He fixes injustices, solves problems and has a list of concrete accomplishments on the school board to support it.

Dan Winchester