Something is wrong with the picture

What weird voices are speaking to the Pickens County school board? How can these people be telling citizens that the taxpayers will save a bunch of money by closing Holly Springs. Ambler and A.R. Lewis, our three hill-country elementary schools, and busing all these kids to town in Pickens or to Dacusville?

Without doubt it will take “modification” of the destination schools — or building new ones — along with transportation costs — to accommodate several hundred more students. We all should know by now how “economical” that will be.

Plus, we are still paying for modification of these would-be abandoned school buildings while our school district geniuses decide what to do with them once they are empty. Let the people remember — though the board does not seem to — that millions in bonds spent on bringing these three “expendable” schools up to pretty nice standards will still have to be repaid — just as bonds on now-empty Gettys Middle are being repaid, tax dollars to make its web-spiders cozy.

How gullible do they think we are?

Far worse than the money angle, it’s really strange to hear ex-school board chair Philip Bowers pushing for this move, when one of his championed causes, that he describes for voters, is preserving “community” for our children.

What a great way to do that — yank away our schools, the centers of active community life for several generations, and dump our kids into some central pot — as far from home as they can be moved daily, unless the board decides to bus them to Columbia.

My daddy ended his Pickens County schooling in about 1902. When he finished seventh grade at Old Palestine, over near Keowee River. After seventh grade, children had to move to town to go to high school, through 11th grade graduation, or call it quits.

But few family farms could give up their child workers. There were no school buses, so high school students had to live somewhere near town or forget school. This may seem dreadful now — but was this worse for teens, than it will be when five and six-year-olds are spending nearly as much time on the bus as they will be in the classroom? Or with their parents? These are little kids, in many cases, that we are uprooting from the caring communities they are used to and deserve.

It looks like somebody is starving for control. Something is terribly, terribly wrong with this picture. It’s time we all paid close attention to who and what is running our children’s future — and make corrections.

Dot Jackson


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