Originally created 10/26/02

Hopefuls detail plans in school board races



AIKEN - Three of the five Aiken County School Board districts are being contested on the Nov. 5 ballot.

District 5 incumbent Thomas Goforth and District 7 incumbent Rosemary English are unopposed.

Jeff Jones, a Savannah River Site employee, is challenging one-term incumbent Larry Murphy in District 3. Mr. Jones said he ran to find some answers for his son, who is classified as a "gray-area" pupil because his intellectual ability falls between special education and the mainstream.

Mr. Jones, a Warrenville resident, wants the school system to fund programs to assist children such as his son. Mr. Jones said Mr. Murphy doesn't have a "vested" interest in the school system because Mr. Murphy's children are adults. That leaves Mr. Murphy blind to some of the schools' problems, Mr. Jones said.

Mr. Murphy said he would like to continue his work in keeping trouble-causing students in the system, fighting the trend to expel them. When he ran four years ago, he said, he thought his area was the only one with discipline problems.

"I soon learned the majority of the problems we were having were happening all over the area," he said.

In District 6, incumbent Andrew Yaun is facing two challengers: recently retired Chukker Creek Elementary School Principal Christine Sanders and Graniteville resident Steve Cartin.Mrs. Sanders has worked in schools for more than 30 years, but Mr. Yaun said the board needs someone like him, a school outsider, to keep the balance. He is a retired data processor for Graniteville Co.

"We need all kinds - some from education and some from industry, and I am the only one from industry," he said.

Mr. Yaun promotes what he and the school board have done in terms of construction activity. He cited the remodeling of two schools and air conditioning placed in others.

Mrs. Sanders said her experience in the schools should give her an advantage, and she too wants to be "pro-active" with school construction.

"I really want to stay involved in education," she said. "It's been my whole life."

Mr. Cartin did not return a telephone message.

Former Republican gubernatorial and state school superintendent candidate Reb Sutherland faces political newcomer Valerie Towles in District 2.

Mrs. Sutherland, who ran for governor on a platform of more school choice via vouchers and the expansion of charter schools, works at SRS and is a former public school teacher.

Mrs. Towles, also a scientist, is active with parent-teacher organizations in the county and has the support of District 2 incumbent Art Hadden. Mr. Hadden said he isn't running again because it is time to retire.

Reach Matthew Boedy at (803) 648-1395 or matthew.boedy@augustachronicle.com.

The Aiken County Teacher Forum will hold a question-and-answer session for all school board candidates at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the South Aiken High School auditorium. For more information, call (803) 827-3350.