PICKENS — Concerned Citizens for Pickens County initiated a petition for the removal of the Pickens County School Board but has announced the withdrawal of its appeal to the governor’s mansion.
The local organization formally began its petition Feb. 3 in response to re-accreditation concerns for the county’s school district. On Feb. 20 the governor’s office responded that there was nothing that could be done, no matter the number of signatures, barring a criminal act.
At Monday’s regular meeting of the school trustees, the announcement was made.
Now the organization has decided to move in a different direction.
“The petition is now a moot point. We are looking, I think, to be more of a watchdog,” explained John Miller, speaking on behalf of Concerned Citizens for Pickens County. “We don’t have a political agenda. It’s not about the Old Gettys property, it’s not about two middle schools or charter schools, it’s not about taxes, and it’s not about the building program. It’s about governance.”
The petition was started when AdvancEd’s report concerning reaccreditation for Pickens schools was based in part upon the board’s management and governance with the report reflecting poorly on the board. A consultant has been brought in to help the board address AdvancEd’s concerns to receive reaccreditation approval.
“The report is damning. You just have to read it, there’s nothing confusing about it and none of our board members have addressed it publicly,” Miller said. “I understand ‘we’re working with a consultant,’ but at some point they have to take some responsibility.”
It seems to be a sticking point for Concerned Citizens for Pickens County that the board has not addressed the issues as detailed in AdvancEd’s report.
“Unfortunately it’s the one thing from that end of the room that’s not getting talked about,” Miller went on to say. “No one on the board has ever said, ‘Gosh, we’re really sorry,’ so we can begin to fix the problem.”
Since the organization’s petition has turned out to be fruitless under the circumstances, where does the group plan to go from here?
“We’re focused on the elections. We’re very focused on the April election coming up and the fall elections,” Miller explained. “In our minds, the solution to the governance problem of the board is going to be at the ballot box.”