Press Release: SOLVE Rally February 7th, 2008
Support Our Local Voice in Education
Information Contact: Steve Parker 864.978.0195
Please join me for the rally against school consolidation on Thursday, February 7, 2008 at the Boiling Springs Ninth Grade Campus at 7:00pm.
As a former teacher and high school football coach for 20 years, Steve Parker is no stranger to developing defensive plans. Steve sees his new defensive plan, SOLVE, as one of the most important that he ever had on the the high school campus. As Parker explains, SOLVE is an acronym for Support Our Local Voice in Education. This is a concerted effort to block Representative Ralph Davenport’s plan to consolidate Spartanburg County’s seven school districts into four larger districts. Combined districts would include Districts One and Two; Districts Four and Five; and Districts Three and Seven. District six is not included in the legislation. Parker first read about Rep. Davenport’s plan on January 16, 2008 in the Boiling Springs Sentry. Since that time, the consolidation plan has drawn attention and criticism from educators, parents, and concerned citizens.
Parker stated that the plan is flawed financially, educationally, and philosophically. Rep. Davenport touts that his new plan would save over $20 million in costs. Parker and others are not so certain that these savings would ever be realized. Parker notes that Districts Two and Four in Spartanburg County already maintain a cost per student ratio less than the “Mega District” of Greenville County. Districts One, Five and Six are within 10% of the cost per student ratio of Greenville County.
Educationally, Parker also sees flaws in the Davenport consolidation legislation. Combining districts does not make for a better learning environment. “Becoming bigger does not mean better,” states the former educator.
Philosophically, he sees a broken plan. “Our grassroots group is in favor of less government and more local control. Combining school districts takes away local control and puts the control in the hands of big state government,” says Parker. This would be particularly true when smaller districts like District Three and District Four are combined with larger districts like Districts Five and Seven. Citizens, parents, and educators know their school district population and its needs. They should rely on the local control to meet the needs of the children. Educators and parents in “Mega Districts” like the counties of Greenville, Horry, and Charleston have lost their local voice to support their educational systems. “I have to wonder if consolidating from seven districts to four districts is the forerunner to a mega district in Spartanburg County, as well,” states Parker.
In addition to overall district consolidation, attendance lines are reported to be on the drawing board for change in Rep. Davenport’s legislation. Moving students from one school to another is disruptive to the educational process and can have negative results.
Rep. Davenport also suggests adding an additional layer of bureaucracy by instituting a county school board. This concept has already been proven to be an obsolete model several years ago.
Parker is planning a rally for SOLVE on Thursday, February 7th at Boiling Springs Ninth Grade Campus at 7:00pm. Local Citizens, parents, students, and educators are encouraged to come and Support Our Local Voice in Education!