The job of the school board is to serve teachers, staff, students and members of the community. In particular, the board should answer to the taxpayers. The current school board majority, or the “Core Four”, has shown that fiscal responsibility is not their priority. They have purchased one piece of property for more than double the assessed value, another parcel which is largely a drainage ditch for an adjacent landowner and a third upon which a planned school cannot be built. WHY?

The mantra of the board majority is screaming that experience is everything and a new board would not have the experience to handle complex problems. Well, I’m here to tell you that the “experience” of those leading the district for the past 10-20 years surely has failed miserably.  An opportunity to use this great “experience” and to be fiscally responsible presented itself during the construction of Piney Woods Elementary School. Instead, the board majority has been recklessly spending taxpayer dollars while taking election money from the same contractors and its consultants hired to build this project. The “Core Four” majority even went as far as to prohibit a board member, Ken Loveless, who was elected two years ago, by the people, from going onto the jobsite to review the construction. Ken is a general contractor having 45 years of experience in the construction industry. Again, the “Core Four” majority says that they respect “experience”, with the caveat that they oppose a trustee with whom they disagree philosophically. They even went as far as threatened to remove Ken from the board if he set foot on this District 5 construction site.

Cathy Huddle’s experience as a financial manager, audit committee chair and marketing manager with a large corporation gives her the ability and analytical skills sorely needed on the board. In addition, she has served on numerous school committees and councils and volunteered in District 5 schools for years.

Rebecca Hines has experience. She owned a small business, is a law school graduate and has been the CEO of the Chapin Chamber of Commerce. Those background positions prepared her with much experience that the D5 board is currently lacking. Her experience with the Chamber helped market our student’s skills to businesses, which is a definite plus.

Matt Hogan is an insurance executive with the South Carolina branch of a large national insurance agency. He understands risk and liability analytics, safety, bonding and current topics of management that others can only read about. His addition to a board, which spends 89% of its current budget with payroll related matters, is timely and invaluable, especially in the current climate with COVID-19 employer liability.

It is time for a change on our school board. We have new potential members who are qualified and eager to give back to the community. They will bring the trust back to the board that has been missing. I have seen and experienced firsthand how the community wants change.  Let your voice be heard and put your trust in these new candidates!  #HHH

Put teachers, staff, students, parents and taxpayer’s interests before that “same ol’ same ol’ experience” of the long standing board members by voting for Huddle and Hines in Lexington County and Hogan in Richland County.

Ms. Charli Wessinger

Lexington County Resident and County Council Member Elect