Dillon County Council member Jack Scott is fighting an uphill battle for the Democratic nomination for S.C. House District 55.
Scott is taking on a 20 year incumbent politician in rural South Carolina, never an easy task. In taking on incumbent Jackie Hayes, Scott is also fighting a highly successful coach and athletic director who has brought considerable success to the Dillon High School football teams in over a quarter of a century as head coach.
Scott advocates giving voters the opportunity to elect members of the Dillon County School Board. Currently, the board is appointed by the governor, often on recommendations from the Dillon County Legislative Delegation which consists currently of Rep. Hayes, Rep. Lucas Atkinson, Sen. Kent Williams and Sen. Greg Hembree.
In 2010, Dillon County residents voted overwhelmingly in an advisory referendum to change the school board members from being appointed by the governor to being elected by the voters – 6,071 Yes votes for elected members to 737 No votes.
Being only an advisory referendum, the results were not binding and nothing has changed. The board is still appointed against the wishes of an overwhelming majority of voters.
Dillon County spends the lowest dollars per pupil in the state of South Carolina, the only county where less than $10,000 per pupil is spent in a combination of local, state and federal funds. Part of the problem is the local tax base is almost non-existent, but the state share to Dillon County is lower than most other school districts in the state.
Maybe an elected school board will not change things for Dillon County students, but it is obvious the current system is not working and a majority of voters expressed a desire for the change.
Scott has also said he will work to improve the crumbling infrastructure in Dillon County, something that will require an infusion of state dollars to help. Those dollars have been slow in coming from the current Legislative Delegation.