Schoolbus

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The recent temper tantrum by Kevin Fisher in his article attacking Lexington Richland School District 5 and supporting Kim Murphy was full of childish insults and misguided perspective. (CityWatch, “School Board Bullying of Kim Murphy Must Stop Now,” Feb. 13)

Let’s ignore his insults, and focus on a more informed perspective not clouded by angry temper.

Fisher pointed out that Murphy did “delay the district with environmental objections to their building plans” and that she used “legal and regulatory channels that are available to any citizen.”

Were her objections reasonable? You can call a mud puddle a wetlands, and the “creek” Fisher referenced is better described as a drainage ditch. The courts allowed District 5 construction to move forward.

The old “outdoor education center” he mentioned was abandoned years ago. It was unused and in disrepair. The school had a better use for that area. The courts allowed District 5 to move forward.

Murphy did briefly hold a seat on the District 5 school board, but she was removed because she was not lawfully entitled to the seat she held. The S.C. Supreme Court agreed; again, District 5 moved forward.

Some years ago, a highly regarded former District 5 superintendent was right when he described a “witch hunt” atmosphere in our community.

He wasn’t calling anyone a witch. Rather, he was referring to the irresponsible harassment District 5 leaders were being subjected to by some.

Sadly, the “witch hunt” continues its hollow allegations and irresponsible harassment of District 5. Sometimes it’s punctuated by childish insults and efforts to obstruct responsible progress.

Don’t get me wrong. There is value in having taxpayer “watchdogs.” But, to my knowledge all that the District 5 “witch hunt” has uncovered are a few typos and misspellings.

Over the last 20 years as a District 5 taxpayer, parent, PTSO president and School Improvement Council chair, I’ve learned District 5 leaders welcome reasonable questions and constructive criticism.

I’ve also learned that District 5 leaders are fiscally conservative, and they work hard to balance critical education needs with the reasonable concerns of taxpayers.

If the District 5 board thinks taxpayers have been harmed by wasteful and frivolous delays, it seems reasonable they have a responsibility to taxpayers to seek damages through the courts.

That is not “bullying” or “vengeance.” The district seems to be honoring the board’s fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers and students using the same “legal and regulatory channels that are available to any citizen.”

In closing, Fisher once wrote that Murphy was removed “irresponsibly” and “illegally” from the District 5 board (“Democracy, Rule of Law on the Line in Kim Murphy Case,” Oct. 12, 2016). Maybe he thinks his opinion is above the S.C. Supreme Court ruling that upheld Murphy’s lawful removal? Or, maybe he’s part of the “witch hunt?”

Regardless of how the courts rule this time, I’m confident District 5 leaders will keep moving forward responsibly in the best interests of taxpayers and students; in spite of the “witch hunt.”

Paul DuPre

Columbia

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