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School board race heats up, filing closes Friday

One more person has filed to run for an open seat on the Colleton County School Board as part of the upcoming November election.

Current incumbent Tim Mabry has officially filed and is again seeking his seat on the elected board. Mabry current represents District 2.

Three current seats are up for grabs on the board: District 2, District 4 and the remaining term for District 3. District 6 is also up for grabs. District 6 is currently held by Harry Jenkins. As of press deadline, Jenkins had not yet filed to run again.

Filing opened for these three seats on Friday, July 27th. Filing closes at noon on Friday, August 10th.

The other candidates who have already filed for the school board are William Bowman, Cyndi B. Roberts and Sharon Witkin.

Witkin is seeking a seat on the board to represent District 3. This district seat will be left open in November, when the current term of board member Gale Dogette ends.

Doggette recently resigned from her seat when she moved outside of her district’s jurisdictional lines.

Bowman served two terms prior on the board for District 7. During his latest term, however, district lines were redrawn. These new lines changed his address to be outside of his elected jurisdiction, forcing him to resign from his post. This will be his first time running for school board under the new jurisdiction lines.

“There needs to be a higher level of accountability,” Bowman said, in a previous interview with this newspaper. “The school board has a purpose and rules and responsibility that come with that purpose. The school board is to be a liaison to the public, and to inform the public of the happenings of a district level. Another purpose of the school board is to hold everyone accountable to the taxpayers.

These purposes seem to escape the current school board members,” he said. “Not everyone is currently being held accountable for their actions.”

Roberts is also running to represent the greater Cottageville area. She is running against Bowman.

The sitting incumbent for this district is Darlene Miller. As of press deadline on Tuesday, Miller had not yet filed to run again.

Based on interviews with Roberts, the realtor and mother of two says she is seeking a seat on the school board to ensure that the school district can retain teachers. She also wants to see more transparency from the board, along with more frequent meeting times from the elected board, she said.

“My kids go to school here,” she said, adding that the school board’s current meeting schedule is “not enough” to deal with a district the size of Colleton County. “I have the time and the commitment to do this,” she said. “There is a current teacher shortage, and a severe problem with teacher satisfaction in our district,” said Roberts. “Our teachers are the ones in the trenches, and no one asks them about their documentation, or about their classrooms. They are hands-on, every day and I want them to be able to do more proactive efforts in how to reward positive behavior form their students, and in how to discipline their students.”

Witkin is a local community activist and a mother of two. She says she is running for the school board because of her desire to serve the community and to improve local education.

“I just graduated from the local leadership program, and that opens your eyes to what is and what could be. I am motivated to give, and to make changes for the better,” she said. Witkin says she is primarily concerned with the district’s ability to attract and maintain teachers and staff. “We need to develop them in their profession, and retain them in our classrooms,” she said, speaking of our teachers. “I will be a positive-minded candidate who wants to be invested in our district, and in our community.”

Candidates wanting to file to run for their appropriate seat on the school board can go to the Colleton County Board of Elections and Voter Registration Office in Walterboro. Filing hours at this office are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. On the final day of filing, August 10th, candidate applications will only be taken from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

According to county Elections Director Angela Upchurch, the local county elections office will be overseeing these school board elections.

In order to file as a candidate, an interested person needs to complete a Nonpartisan Statement of Intention of Candidacy Form, which is available in the “Candidate Information” section at www.scvotes.org.

According to Upchurch, there is a $20 fee to file for school board. Checks should be made payable to the Colleton County Election Commission at the time of filing.

Christie Slocum (503 Posts)