Twelve months ago, our legislative delegation (Chip Rogers, Calvin Hill, Charlice Byrd and Sean Jerguson) gerrymandered two Board of Education members out of their posts due to a disagreement with them over the application for Cherokee Charter Academy (CCA).
Not only did they ignore a School Board suggested map, but produced two maps with the same result: the movement of Janet Read and Mike Chapman into seats of members that were not up for re-election AND voted against CCA’s application.
Despite protests and the threat of SACS involvement, they restructured the School Board and redistricted advocates of 39,000 students out of their seats.
The legislators refused to offer a public referendum on the restructuring and eliminated the ability of the voters to decide whether Chapman deserved to be re-elected.
In the time since, the voters have elected Read to a newly created post as School Board Chairwoman.
Rogers, under political pressure and scandals, resigned; Ms. Byrd and Jerguson were defeated at the polls.
Simply put, the voters have spoken. They’ve said that our school system is important and deserves top priority at the state and local level.
Educating our future citizens is the key to economic prosperity and growth. Hopefully, our delegation will heed this call.
I, personally, look forward to the coming year as one when the state starts to restore funding of education to pre- recession levels.
I would also like us to incorporate CCA into the community as it has shown to be a valuable asset to some families that felt they needed something different.
I’m excited by the School District’s plans to expand the Cherokee Academies, as we’ve seen that the community wants a strong public system with plenty of choice.
Now, it’s time for our leaders to come together and make it happen.