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Offers support for USC board

By Staff | May 18, 2009

To the Editor;

United South Central is fortunate to have dedicated school board members. They have taken on the unpleasant duty of cutting hundreds of thousands of dollars from our budget. Three of these members do so without pay. Their job is a thankless one. No one wants to put people out of work. However, there is no way that the budget cuts are going to be made without some sacrifice of jobs. The board is looking at all areas for cuts in the best interest of the school and the students.

At the recent school board meeting, Eric Wegner addressed the board during the public comment section of the meeting. He spoke passionately in support of keeping one of the employees. However when he threatens the board, he has gone too far. I am sure Mr. Wegner regrets his choice of words. Neither Mr. Wegner nor the members of his group stayed for the rest of the meeting when the board voted on placing employees on unrequested leave of absence.

In addition to speaking at the board meeting, Mr. Wegner circulated an e-mail to many in the community. I was not one of the recipients of the e-mail, but I did obtain a copy. The e-mail sets out several concerns. It is unfortunate that Mr. Wegner did not research these concerns before circulating the e-mail. Had he done so, he would have found that the board does have a plan for getting out of Statutory Operating Debt (SOD) – it was approved by the board and the Department of Education in January and is on file at the school for public review. He would have found that there is not a limit on how many years you can be in SOD. I have heard more than one person comment that if we are not out of SOD in two years our school will be closed. This simply is not true. Go to the Department of Education website and look at the reports given annually to the legislature. Many schools have been in SOD for years.

The tone of the e-mail plays on people’s fears – fear that we will not have a school, fear that if our school dissolves, we will not have a vote in the district we are assigned to. If our school were to close, members of this district would continue to pay the debt of this district; start paying taxes to the new district and would vote in the new district.

The USC School Board is very dedicated to their positions. I haven’t noticed an overwhelming number of names of the school board ballots in the past years. So let’s not ridicule, threaten or belittle those that do serve. Support them. Ask them questions. I have called members several times. My call has always been returned and I have always gotten answers. I have not attended a school board meeting. But I will not sit by and listen to idle gossip and rumor. Do not let the agendas or opinions of others blindly lead you. Get the information. Go to the sources. Do your research. Make your own decision.

Sharon Parriott