I was told recently by a parent that I have no stake in Lexington Richland District 5 because I have no child in the district system, nor am I a teacher. For those like me, and for those unlike me, let’s clarify who is a stakeholder in District 5.
A stakeholder is someone who brought up children in this district, however long ago. They may even have grandchildren attending now like I do. Or they have children presently in class. Or they’ve never even had children.
A stakeholder is a person who watches how politics molds this community. They research candidates, even conversing with them. Or they just look up information online.
A stakeholder can be like I am, old enough, and experienced enough, to know what works and what doesn’t. . . from watching the mistakes this district has made. Or they can be young, simply wanting the best candidate in the job.
A stakeholder can attend every board meeting, watch live streaming afterward, read minutes, and study the laws and policies. Or they just talk to neighbors.
A stakeholder can be an entrepreneur, dependent on the economics of this community, relying upon this district to do the right thing to support property values and employment. And they can be a stay-at-home parent who cares.
A stakeholder can be in the Irmo cluster or the Chapin cluster. They can care about one and not the other, or care about the whole.
A stakeholder pays an exorbitant amount of taxes toward this district. A stakeholder is anyone who lives in this district and breathes its air.
This school board election is more important than it’s ever been before. This district has been so improperly managed that it lacks the funds to repair schools, puts freezes on overcrowded schools, and cannot hire enough teachers. Families moving here cannot be assured which school their child will attend.
The district’s board wasted $1.6M of our taxes to buy land, to learn a school cannot be built on the site. It sponsored a $243M bond referendum that raised taxes, only for the funds to be redirected, not building two schools as promised. In not building those schools, we are now faced with rezoning. However, this board stalled rezoning until after the election, yet it must take place by spring 2021 to fill the new, $32M Piney Woods Elementary School, financed by another bond that the public wasn’t even allowed to vote for.
A stakeholder only has to live in this district, and they have plenty of reasons to vote. They especially have a right to vote out the old and vote in those who promise to do better. Vote November 3.
Cynthia Hope Clark
Author and long-time district resident –