Senate 8 Candidates Talk Education at Mauldin Middle
Monday session was on hot topic.
On Monday evening, the candidates for the District 8 Senate Seat met in a forum at Mauldin Middle School dedicated to educational issues.
The event was moderated by Deb Sofield and a large group of parents and educators attended, to hear challengers Chad Groover, Jim Lee, Ross Turner and Joe Swann along with incumbent David Thomas.
Among the main topics were the much-talked about issue of school choice, as well as dropout rates, teacher salaries and teacher evaluations.
The candidates did receive questions in advance and found agreement on many points. All of them felt there needs to be more choice, less red tape at the administrative level and that $29,000 is a fair starting salary for a teacher. Among the other highlights:
Groover said he believes that parents are not getting “bang for their buck” and that every facet of funding should be reviewed.
Lee said that funding sources need to be simplified and that merit pay for teachers should be considered.
Swann said that parental involvement strategies need to be devised and more needed to be done to get money for school supplies into the classroom. Swann also noted that funding for education is still at 1998 levels.
Turner said he would cut 10-15 percent of the administrative payroll and put more of that money under local control.
Thomas said that teacher salaries need to stay competitive with neighboring states and endorsed a zero-based budgeting process.
Voters who spoke to Patch afterwards found the event helpful, but had trouble differentiating the candidates' positions on issues. Among the issues that received little or no attention were bullying, inclusion, transportation and the relationship between athletics and education.