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Fox Creek digging a deeper hole

web posted May 17, 2006

OPINION – With so much media attention being focused on Fox Creek Charter High School for missteps over the past year it would seem obvious that the school would go to extreme measures to make Board of Directors elections as open and honest as possible. Over the past year there have been allegations of improper past elections. So, knowing the media was watching, seven teachers published an “Endorsement” flyer and distributed it at the school during operating hours the day before the elections. All but one of the candidates endorsed was elected to the board, and the election is now being challenged. The students at the school may be very bright, but it is painfully obvious those running the school are very slow learners.

The problems at the school go far beyond being just improper. Violations have occurred. The major problem now is figuring out who has the lead on the matter. Flagrant violations to the Edgefield County School District Policy, which was adopted by Fox Creek, are clear. There are other issues involved that have not come to light, until now, that raises the stakes.

At least two of the teachers that signed the endorsement say they were mislead as to how it was to be used. That is not a very good excuse when a teacher, of all people, should know to read something before you sign and understand the words printed on the paper. One, according to sources, is said to be claiming they felt pressured into signing the document.

In addition, parents have claimed in the past that the ballot box would be taken to another room to be opened and counted and the resulting winners announced in public. This time, the ballot box was taken to another room were it remained for almost two hours, before being brought out and counted in public and the winners announced.

This was done while telling a reporter he was not allowed to watch or be on the property to observe the ballot box.

We do not understand why Fox Creek High School would continue to make the obvious private club atmosphere surrounding the school even more obvious by violating known standards and ethical guidelines. Moreover, this time, perhaps the law.

Other issues have also come to light. Merriwether residents, and some county residents, are asking why they are not able to vote for the school board members at the public school since their tax dollars are being used and dispersed by them. The Fox Creek Board oversees more money than the countywide elected Sheriff does and only 216 people get a say in the matter? Some who do not even live in Edgefield County? That does not make sense.

The entire episode is still developing. The matter will no doubt have to be addressed by the Edgefield County School Board Tuesday night. Coincidentally, Fox Creek School Board Chairwoman Sherolyn Bishop was already scheduled to appear before the board concerning other issues. At least one of the non-elected candidates for the Fox Creek School Board will also be attending the meeting.

We just have to ask the question: When the spotlight is one you, why would you want to “act the fool”? Maybe it is not an act.       

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