Seventh Seat Map
By Alex Saitta
January 20, 2018
Seventh Seat In Easley:
Our state representatives Davey Hiott, Neal Collins, Rex Rice and Gary Clary sponsored, voted for, and pushed through legislation to add a seventh seat to the county school board.
In November the seventh seat will be added in Easley (Crosswell area), and will give Easley its second seat on the board. The board has already swung to the liberal side with the board raising property taxes three times in a row (Sept 2016, Jun 2017 and Sept 2017), and this will make it worse, resulting in even more spending, borrowing and taxing down the road.
Tie Votes? No:
Representative Clary, in clarifying his support for the seventh seat, cited all the tie votes. I wonder if he ever examined the voting record. Since late 2010 (when the school board was changed to 6 seats) there were 850 votes on action items. Only 15 issues had tie votes and 14 of them were settled with a compromise, breaking the tie. The one issue that remained deadlocked and was not settled, wasn’t educational either. It was the sale of the old Pickens Middle School on Sparks Lane in Pickens.
There is a growing desire among the political and elected leaders in the city of Easley to control the direction of the county as a whole. They furthered that along by electing many of their moderate and liberal friends to the school board and county council in November 2016.
Another route was adding this seat to the school board. As you may recall, Hiott, Clary and Collins proposed the legislation to add the seventh seat, they were going select the new member to the board. That ran into resistance from people in the community, so they had to settle for this instead.
Looking at how the new lines are drawn for the seven seats, you’ll see how the liberal areas of Clemson and lower part of Six Mile are now two seats, plus there are two seats in Easley. Typically, this is going to result in a left of center 4 to 3 majority on the school board. I think that was by design.
The way they added the seventh seat to the six seat board was by cutting the old Dacusville seat in half. The northern part remains the Dacusville seat. The southern part (which is the eastern section of greater Easley) is the new seat and that will be called Crosswell seat. This change gives Easley two of its very own seats nice and cozily drawn within greater Easley.
Think about this. Now greater Easley is concentrated in two seats, so that will put two Easley residents on the board all the time. Before greater Easley was spread over the Easley district, part of the Dacusville district and part of the Liberty district, usually yielding one and sometimes two Easley residents on the board.
The eastern side of the old Pickens district was shifted to the new Dacusville district. In turn the western side of the Pickens district was shifted into northern Six Mile, out as far west as the Oconee line, running west along Highway 183. As a result, the Six Mile seat lost its conservative northern part and was left mostly with its left leaning southern part.
In the past the Six Mile seat was split between the conservatives in the north and liberals in the south. With the northern part no longer in the Six Mile district, the new Six Mile seat will be left of center. Add in the Clemson seat and that is the four left of center seats in this new 4 to 3 majority.
Details In Pickens District:
As the former Pickens trustee, I looked closely at the new lines of the new Pickens district. If you live in the Glassy Mountain precinct, for instance, on N. Glassy Mountain Road you now vote for the Dacusville trustee, no longer the Pickens trustee.
If you live in the Crescent Hill precinct, right behind Hagood Elementary for instance, ditto.
The Griffin precinct is no longer represented by the Pickens trustee either. So if you live across the street from Pickens High School on Fox Squirrel Ridge Road, you’ll be represented by the Dacusville Trustee. Hard to believe, right? This is how much the lines were skewed elsewhere to give Easley its two very own seats.
The Pumpkintown precinct was moved over to the Dacusville district too, so those living by Ambler Elementary no longer vote for the Pickens trustee.
Gosh, looking at the map, if the “Pickens” trustee is elected out of that northern Six Mile area of the Pickens district and the Dacusville trustee is not elected from Pumpkintown, Glassy, Griffin or Crescent Hill precincts, but elected from Dacusville, the board will not have a trustee who lives in the Pickens zip code.
Redistricting and who draws the new district lines is put in a powerful position and sometimes the result is not fair.
Our school system faces problems — nearly 25% of our students are below grade level, there is inefficiency in the system (spending $11,500 per student yet only 53 cents of every dollar makes it to the classroom), and Columbia and the district administration is micromanaging teachers in the classroom.
Adding another seat to the school board will not help any of those things.