Board vacancy leaves Stewartsville students without representation

By Abbi Overfelt

March 24, 2014

To the editor:

Darwin Williams was elected to the Scotland County Board of Education as a representative for the Stewartsville Township and upon his recent resignation, Mr. Williams urged his colleagues not to delay filling his vacancy. I want to voice concerns regarding the school board’s plan to leave Mr. William’s seat vacant until a new superintendent is hired.

Leaving this seat vacant is wrong and this is doubly true considering the time required to solicit and select applications, interview those candidates, and select and instate the new superintendent. Who will serve in Mr. Williams’ capacity during this lengthy process?

According to current data, 47 percent — 7 out of 15 — of the county’s students and 60 percent — 13,202 of 22,096 — of the county’s voters live in the Stewartsville Township. Numbers like these suggest the school board needs full representation for this township. Leaving any township devoid of total representation is tantamount to dismissing the needs and concerns of the students in that township.

It would not do for me to accuse the decent, dedicated members of the school board of willfully neglecting the children of the Stewartsville Township. I trust, being decent people, that any resulting harm is best categorized as unintended. But harm is harm, no matter the associated intentions.

The distasteful practice of taxation without representation caused the 13 colonies to launch the American Revolution. And as many of us know firsthand, in the American South, “wait” has been long equated or associated with “never,” therefore waiting remains an unfavorable and unacceptable option.

The students in the Stewartsville Township will continue to have needs in much the same way as the students in out townships. The only difference being the students in the Stewartsville Township will not be fully represented.

Your task of filling the vacated seat and hiring a superintendent is not easy, however you were elected because voters felt the best interest of Scotland County Schools and community would be the primary concern in your decision-making processes. You are now situated where you can prove them right or wrong.

Herbert Rainer