Open Letter

Recently Kristin Batchelor wrote a letter to the editor of the Irmo News titled “State Needs to Step in on District 5” in which she states she is writing to various state agencies to “step in.” She then lists a litany of her concerns with the board and ends with “I implore that you do whatever you can to prevent further damage from occurring.” While she doesn’t enunciate it clearly, it appears her mission is for the state to remove duly elected school board trustees.

What she doesn’t tell readers is that she was an active and vocal supporter of two candidates that lost in the November 2020 election – April Alsup and Robert Gantt. She had no fewer than 30 posts on her Facebook page promoting these candidates.

Fortunately for voters, the state will not remove duly elected school board members over concerns driven by rumors and half-truths – or because school board members weren’t your candidates.

Ms. Batchelor goes on to state that she has withdrawn one of her children from the district but not the other. If her reasons for doing this are solely the state of our district, why remove one of your children but not both?

Unfortunately, local “news” outlets have used false statements made by a former board member to sensationalize the departure of the former superintendent – most likely because that type of news is what sells newspapers. If Ms. Batchelor truly cares about our district’s reputation, perhaps she should stop adding to the falsehoods and innuendo and focus on accomplishments that positively impact students, teachers and our community, such as:

  • Providing more face-to-face instruction than most school districts in SC, thereby minimizing learning loss. Per a recent newspaper account on learning loss – “For students in the 15 districts that offered a full return from the outset, “their need is not nearly as strong,” (State Education Superintendent Molly) Spearman said.”
  • Correcting our substitute teacher contract so we can increase our substitute pay (and the number of available substitutes) without increasing our overall cost – 7/12/21 Action Agenda
  • Eliminating $2.5m in unneeded short-term bonds ($ that exceeded the approved short-term capital budget) and reducing property taxes – 3/22/21 Action Agenda
  • Retroactive pay increases for teachers and $1,000 staff and teacher bonuses to attract and retain teachers – 12/14/20 Action Agenda

As a parent and/or taxpayer, I encourage you to attend board meetings or watch the videos posted on LexRich5.org and draw your own fact-based conclusions on what this board has done and is doing for our district. You’re also welcome to reach out to me through my District 5 email: [email protected] I am happy to answer any questions except those surrounding the resignation of our former superintendent or what happens in executive sessions. Note that I speak only for myself and not the entire board – in this Letter to the Editor and when responding to emails.

I am very excited about the direction of our district. At our last board meeting and Dr. Ross’ first meeting, he presented the framework for his strategic plan. It is time to focus on the future of our great district and in his words, in all things ask, “and how are the children?”

The accomplishments of this board, some of which are listed above, are for the children, either directly such as the opportunity for face-to-face instruction, or by supporting funding our teachers and staff so that our children will have the best teachers and environment. I look forward to working with Dr. Ross to continue to put our children first in all that we do.

Catherine Huddle

Trustee, Lexington Richland School District Five