Proposed legislation will abolish county school board

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By Stan Welch

State Representative Don Bowen is preparing to file proposed legislation that would abolish the Anderson County School Board, a move which Bowen says would save $700,000 a year.

Bowen spoke to The Journal recently as he was on his way to Columbia to read and review the bill. If it met his approval, he planned to propose it for the November pre-filing date.

The bill would abolish the school board, which Bowen says does very little except “ . . . essentially rubber stamp the budgets proposed by the five districts in the county. And they deal with truancy to some extent. I think the districts can deal with truancy, and either the county council or county delegation can assume their budgetary responsibilities. I would like to see the delegation do that, personally.”

Bowen said the proposed legislation just makes sense in this time of financial difficulty. “It’s getting harder and harder to find money to do things. We have to become more responsible managers of our resources. Maybe this money would find its way to the classroom if it wasn’t being spent here.”

Bowen stressed that his efforts are aimed at reducing the administrative side of the education system. “I never have and never will vote to remove money from the classrooms. I am 100 per cent behind the teachers, the students and the parents. But we have way too much administration, and duplication of services.”

He pointed out that he has also proposed legislation that would establish just one personnel department for the entire Anderson County school system; only one finance department; only one procurement department. And he says that approach needs to be implemented across the state.

“I have scattered FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests around the state and the information I have obtained indicates that such actions would save $156 million statewide. That money belongs in the classroom. South Carolina has been at the bottom for far too long. The least we can do is give our children a good education so they can try to deal with the financial mess we are leaving them with.”

Legislation would abolish county school boardBy Rep. Don Bowen