Advocate for our schools
One of the challenges our schools have faced in effecting change in our state government is that there is very little organized advocacy on behalf of our public schools. In fact, there is a massive amount of organized advocacy against public education in our state. Whether it be the coastal tourism industry advocating to keep a law in place mandating the earliest a school can start (thereby forcing our school calendar to not provide the best opportunities), or the homebuilding industry spending $350,000 to fight against the implementation of our school building impact fee, there are significant groups working against solving our concerns.
I believe it is a responsibility of our school Board to educate our community on political issues facing our schools, and to advocate for change to improve the state of funding in our schools.
Did you know that the formulas for funding our schools still take into account the ability of our school Board to tax our residents, even though Act388 takes away that ability?
Did you know that Act388 will cost our school district over $20,000,000 dollars this year?
Did you know that our state legislature mandated our school district contribute an additional $1,800,000 to the state retirement system without providing funding for that?
Did you know in the 2017 state budget Senator Wes Climer advocated for funding to help solve these problems for fast growing districts, but by the time it was passed it was spread across almost half of the school districts in our state, resulting in just over $100,000 for Fort Mill? And that was eliminated in this year's budget?
Our administration and school Board has been forced to deal with all of these issues. We should continue to advocate for our schools and ramp up education efforts for our community around these issues.
Continue to build relationships
It is important to build relationships with the community, fellow Board members, the administration, our county/city/town councils, state lawmakers, and many more.
For the community, it is important to keep a finger on the pulse of our citizens. This will allow a Board member to act confidently that they are representing the interests of the community overall. As a Keep Our Schools Strong co-Chairperson, I had the privilege of working with the community on supporting district and community goals.
For fellow Board members, it is important to remember that each person is only one of seven members entrusted with our schools. It is impossible to affect change or even continue positive momentum without building relationships with other Board members. I have positive relationships with all current Board members, and if elected I will continue to build on that.
For the administration, it is important to build relationships so that you can learn, question, and challenge while simultaneously supporting the administration. This is a critical balance that Board members must focus on, and one that I have built a solid foundation on during my time advocating for the 2018 bond referendum and impact fee.
For the local councils, it is critical to build relationships as the school district is one of several government entities who must work in harmony with each other in order to deliver the best community for our residents and businesses. Members of all three councils (York county, City of Tega Cay, and the Town of Fort Mill) have encouraged me to run for the school Board. If elected, I believe I have a solid foundation in these relationships in order to continue to build on the progress we have made in inter-governmental relations over the past year.
Relationships with state lawmakers and other government contacts are important to be able to advocate for our district. I will continue to build on those relationships in order to help educate our lawmakers and advocate for our district.