By Paul Gable
When Horry County voters go to the polls Tuesday July 17th to elect the Republican nominee for School Board Chairman, they should only have one consideration in mind – who is the strongest leader among the candidates.
Approximately 20 years ago, the Horry County School Board ceded much of the control of policy making to then Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait. Since then, successive boards have allowed this policy to continue with only a very few minor changes.
The board basically identifies general objectives or goals, but the superintendent is allowed to make policy to achieve those ends. The board does some monitoring of the superintendent, but is at the mercy of the information that is shared with it.
What this means is the school board members the public elects to supposedly set policy have become little more than figureheads controlled by the superintendent and staff.
When new school board members are elected, they are given a class by staff on what they can and can’t do under this type of governance system.
Think about that for a minute. School board members are told by staff what they can and can’t do rather than the other way around. Makes one wonder why we need a school board at all and certainly question why school board members voted themselves a 66% pay raise last year.
It is past time to elect a school board chairman who is a strong leader willing to make the changes necessary to the current district governance model to put the school board back in the position of making district policy, especially in areas of budget and oversight of operations and facilities.
I believe Ken Richardson is that candidate.
Richardson worked for 40 years in a very successful Fowler Motors, the last 14 years as owner of the business. He has served for over 20 years as a member of the Horry Georgetown Technical College Area Commission, including 15 years as Chairman and now Chairman Emeritus.
As a businessman and Commission Chairman, Richardson understands how to lead people to accomplish goals. He is extremely familiar with the budget process in both the public and private sector.
Richardson’s two opponents are very nice people whose interest in the students and their success is unquestioned. However, one is a retired teacher who has no real leadership experience and the other is a board member who has served for five and one-half years under the current system of allowing the superintendent and staff to control policy while voting for the 66% pay increase for herself.
It is time for someone from outside the system to come in and take a leadership role so the board is returned to the position for which it is elected, namely to set district policy and oversee the budget.
It is time for Ken Richardson.