AUGUST 5 , 2016

Why do we need an organization of rural schools in SC?

Rural schools have been neglected.

Problems facing rural school districts:

Rural schools don’t get widespread media coverage so our struggles and triumphs are not well known.
We have huge teacher turnover because of non-competitive wages, lack of housing, social opportunities, shopping and medical care.
Some teaching slots must sometimes be filled by international teachers who may not understand our culture, our students and may not speak English as well as necessary.
We are held to the same standards, but with fewer resources.
Nobody in power cares about us.
Rural superintendents are not speaking up to the right people about our needs.

-  Legislators seek to address STATEWIDE issues in an effort to please everyone.

The State does not take rural school problems seriously.
State Superintendent promised to create a Rural Taskforce to support rural schools, but has not done so to date.
Our situation divides us into “them” and “us” and “we” don’t have power.
Communities with bigger voting blocks and louder voices get more attention from the media and the legislature.
Our buildings need to be replaced or repaired, but we don’t have the necessary funding.
State is not taking district needs into consideration when allotting funds.
The General Assembly is just waiting for people to lose interest in the funding issue- Abbeville, et al, case specifically.
Rural supts. wear too many hats so it’s hard to find time to do lobbying.
Right now the State pays attention to the “premier” districts.
More of us need to speak up.
We live our challenges everyday while others spend their time getting well positioned politically.
Even when you meet with the State Superintendent and do everything that is asked of you, you still may not get the help you need.
How could SCORS help address our problems?

Rural people will only have power if we take it.
The school administrators who started the Abbeville case are mostly retired. We need a way to keep the Case alive.
Educate new supts about Abbeville case.
We need to publicize our needs locally and statewide.
We will have a louder voice if more of us speak as one.
Right now the legislature sees our problems as Rural, Poor, Racial. We need to break those big issues down into problems the legislature can address.
SCORS can develop ways to make rural voices heard.
The problem in SC is that it’s all about money and ego and people asking, “What’s in it for me?”
Rural schools don’t have enough staff to handle the paperwork. “2 staff members to do 86 jobs!”

What happens next?

Talk to your colleagues, “If we want things to change we MUST talk about the elephant in the room.” If we don’t do anything, nothing will change.
We each need to recruit more rural supts and community people who share our passion for our cause to attend the next SCORS meeting tentatively scheduled for Oct. 6 in Columbia after the SCASA meeting.

Lauren- bring flip chart stand on Oct. 6.

Arnold- check out 501C4, Oct. 6 availability of room

END - August 5, 2016 Meeting Minutes