Should SDPC add a seventh seat?

Should the School District of Pickens County add a seventh seat?

That question has been bandied about since a bill introduced by Reps. Collins and Clary of the Pickens County Legislative Delegation passed the S.C. House of Representatives. It now sits in the Senate.

The bill was introduced following a report by AdvancED that cited continued behaviors by some SDPC board members as hindering the board’s ability to function and continued practices of acting outside the scope of their roles.

If it were just the consideration of adding a seat, the answer would be a simple yes. But this is not a simple matter.

First, a board with an odd number of members gives the odds of tie votes and stalemates the short end, making it difficult for those events to occur. That is how most organizations or governing boards operate, and barring an odd number, there is a mechanism in place to resolve ties and stalemates. That is not the case here.

The reasoning behind the introduction of the bill is solid but the problem is that adding the seventh seat will not solve the issues facing the School District of Pickens County nor will it solve SDPC’s continuing interactions with AdvancED in the short run.

In fact, the addition of a seventh member on the board would not do what most probably want to happen: bring cohesiveness to a group of people elected by you to look out for the best interests of the children in this community and, ironically, the future of our county.

A seventh member, if appointed, would be in a position much like that of a hall monitor in grade school: Everyone would know why the person was there — and who put them there — and, despite the difference in ages and supposed maturity, that playground mentality would rear its ugly head eventually and it would start all over again.

We can’t stop adults from doing something that is not in the best interest of everyone if, up to this point, there has been no reason for them to stop. It won’t matter who appoints a seventh member — the governor, the guy who bags your groceries or the jerk who cuts you off in traffic — if the behavior of the board as a whole does not change.

Additionally, while the intent behind the bill might be true in spirit, there would be no convincing certain polarized groups that exist in Pickens County of that. One group says this, the other says that, this group calls that one a name, that group retorts with comments of its own.

We can thank Facebook for allowing us to watch in real time what looks like two rival high schools trash-talking each other in the weeks leading up to the big in-county rivalry football game.

But no matter how it all shakes out, we need to all remember one thing: those being hurt the most by all of this are the students who look to the School District of Pickens County to give them the foundation and the skill set they will need to become productive members of society.


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