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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Message to Public School Advocates From Walter Brown

This message is from Walter Brown, who oversees the Rock Hill School Board's advocacy efforts.

As the 2008 Legislative session begins in Columbia, it is a good time to take a hard look at issues that could affect public education in the state.

In his State of the State address, Governor Sanford is pushing for tax cuts and a call to curtail spending.  It is interesting to note, however, that he is still promoting the idea of education tax credits or vouchers to help parents send children to private schools.  This is a rather interesting move in light of the fact that his proposed budget plan would reduce the state's budget by $326 million, in part by cutting subsidized health care for some poor children.

Is a reduction in healthcare for poor children, while promoting a tax credit for those that can afford private schools, contradictive?  Governor Sanford would also like to have the Superintendent of Education an appointed position.  The Chair-elect to the State Department of Education is a woman who home schools her children.  She holds a seat on the board by appointment from the Governor.

It is never too early to let your representatives hear from you on any issue.  If you support public education, now is the time to begin making your voices heard.

There was also an announcement in The Herald from Senator Greg Gregory.  He will not seek re-election.  Senator Gregory represents an area that includes some of our schools' attendance zones.  Senator Gregory, according to the article, is sponsoring six resolutions to amend the State Constitution to give the Governor the power to appoint the Superintendent of Education, Treasurer, Comptroller General, Secretary of State, Adjutant General, and Commissioner of Agriculture.  All of these bills are in committee.  Everyone needs to ask themselves if we really want a Governor to have this authority?  Is it important for me to have the opportunity to vote for these offices?

We are seeing more and more of the control being moved to Columbia and the power of the vote being taken from the everyday citizen.  Is this truly what we want for our state? 

Let your voices be heard by those that are convening in the General Assembly.  Contact your representatives now.
Walter Brown

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