By Paul Gable
The Republican nomination for Horry County School Board Chairman will be decided by voters next Tuesday.
Most campaigns for political office center around a few important issues and questions. The biggest question going into next week’s voting is do you care enough about who will chair the government body that spends the largest portion of the property taxes you pay ($700 million in round numbers) to go out and vote?
Voters will choose between current school board member for District 5 Janice Morreale, former teacher Pay Milley and local businessman and current Chairman Emeritus of the Horry Georgetown Technical College Area Commission Ken Richardson. The victor will face Democrat business woman and former teacher Heather Johnson in the November general election.
Morreale’s campaign theme is ‘Back to the Basics’. However, Morreale seemed to forget one of the most basic rules in politics – Don’t Vote for a Pay Raise for Yourself – when she voted for a 66% pay raise for board members last year.
During the campaign, Morreale has pointed to getting the school district to pay for pool times for swim team members and the cost of transportation for band members to attend away games as two of her accomplishments as a board member. Both, I’m sure, are important to the students and parents they affect, but they are small issues compared to school construction, teacher pay and support and establishing the district wide agendas for board consideration.
Milley’s campaign has said school days are too long, curricula too difficult, nights too short and students too stressed to result in a good learning environment. She advocates 15 minutes of recess for every 45 minutes of instruction and copying the education model of Finland for better student achievement.
Milley acknowledges her issues will require approximately 11 new bills from the General Assembly to allow changes she advocates. Local legislators said those bills are never going to happen.
Richardson has been eyeing the school board chairman seat since the 2016 general election, an election he did not participate in because the HGTC commission was in the midst of a search for a new president of the college.
During his tenure as commission chairman, HGTC has gone through a period of rapid growth, expansion of curriculum offerings and new construction. Despite the expansion, Richardson proudly points out HGTC is debt free and said he will bring the same business acumen and financial management to the county school district.
Regardless of which candidate you support, it is important that you make your vote count on Tuesday July 17, 2018. As we saw last month, just a handful of votes can decide a primary election. Every vote counts.