Guest Editorial: Yes2ourstudents, LLC means NO

Based on my previous letter to the editor, several community members have asked my opinion on the school board applicants and the VOTE NO yellow signs in opposition of the school bond.

Meisner

First, I support the incumbents, for this election cycle who are Craig Plank, Amelia McKie, Dr. Cheryl Caution-Parker, and James Manning.

There is forward momentum that should not be disrupted by bringing in new board members for this election cycle. It takes a while for a board member to get up to speed and these folks have been working on getting district two back on track so changing horses in the middle of the race may not be a good idea. Above all else, our board elections should do no harm to the students.

Second, I am the registered agent (with the S.C. Secretary of State) for Yes2ourstudents, LLC and to be clear, Yes2ourstudents, LLC opposes the school bond and any further indebtedness until the previous bonds are paid off and the district hires fiscally responsible leaders.

The VOTE NO signs adequately express the opinion of Yes2ourstudents, LLC. A NO VOTE is in fact saying yes to our students.

It is my opinion that the district should inform the public that it has not yet borrowed funds already available to it under state law. An amount, which equals up to 10 percent of the assessed value of the properties, located in the district. For example, state law allows the district to borrow $10,000 for every $100,000 of property assessed. I am sure you have all noticed the growth in the northeast which corresponds to a growth in the amount of money the districts can access, yet they want more.

Importantly, if the bond passes, the district can still borrow the 10 percent. As such, a NO VOTE for the bond, benefits our students immediately because the district can borrow the 10 percent without mortgaging the future of parents and the students.

There is only so much tax money to go around, and if we, as a community, allow district two, to continue in an unbridled spending spree, our students will no doubt suffer. Our students will join their parents as indentured servants of a fiscally irresponsible school district.

This bond will immediately hurt the most vulnerable in our community e.g. those citizens renting their homes and retirees on fixed incomes. In fact, several landlords, have said they have no other choice but to raise rents if the bond passes because Richland County Council has already made landlords and business owners primarily responsible for paying for our schools.

As a community, we have not fully paid for the previous three bonds, can we really afford a fourth?

I am personally offended that the district has used the security of our students to gain favor for the bond when there are simple security measures the district should have already employed such as an FBI “deep dive” on the personal backgrounds of substitute teachers, and others that have control over the schools and therefore, the students.

A NO VOTE for the bond is the right vote for our student’s future.


Rhonda Meisner, Richland 2 Parent

Comments

  1. As Chief Communications Officer for Richland School District Two, it is my responsibility to ensure our community has accurate information about our school district. Therefore I think it is important that I address inaccurate information in this editorial as part of our ongoing effort to educate our community and make sure they have the facts. In a presentation — given at least 40 times since July 24, 2018, — the district has informed the community that we have borrowed funds under Article X, Section 15 of the State Constitution that allows school districts to borrow eight percent of the total assessed value of properties in the district. A video of the part of the presentation that includes this information is on https://www.richland2.org/realdeal . The author of this editorial has attended at least two meetings where this presentation was shared.
    In regards to the statement about background checks, the district does robust background checks on individuals recommended for a job before they are hired including substitutes. The background checks include a nationwide criminal background check through BIB (Background Investigation Bureau). BIB, has access to criminal record information contained in all US court systems and most foreign countries. They own the largest domestic court record electronic retrieval system in their industry. Richland Two’s background checks also include a nationwide sex offender registry check and prior work history and reference check.

  2. Elise Bidwell says

    Great Op Ed, Rhonda. I sent you a private message on LinkedIN and would very much like to connect with you. Thank you for standing up for our kids, and our tax payers.

  3. I am the Chair of Yes 2 Our Students Campaign and want all Richland 2 voters to know that Rhonda Meisner is not and never has been part of the Yes 2 Our Students Campaign. The Yes 2 Our Students Campaign is made up of a group of parents and community members with a vested interest in the education and safety of Richland Two students. The primary goal of Yes 2 Our Students is to educate our community regarding the need for improvements to academic facilities, safety/security, transportation, technology, athletics and arts, and why a YES VOTE on Tuesday is crucial! Please vote YES in favor of Question 1 and Question 2 on Tuesday, November 6th!

    • Rhonda Meisner says

      Ms. Hemphill. Apparently you are confused about your ballot organization and my legally recognized limited liability company. I have never said I am part of your organization to support the bond. In fact, Yes2ourstudents, LLC has been clear, we do not support the bond. I am the registered agent of the legally recognized organization of Yes2ourstudents, LLC which has as the purpose:(The purposes for which the limited liability company is organized are to support the education, family, and social life of those students in our city without unduly burdening them with debt.) So you see Ms. Hemphill, both organizations support the studentss;however, Yes2ourstudents, LLC declines and does not support further indebtedness by the district and supports a NO VOTE for the bondt. $367 million in outstanding bond amounts is way to much. To add another $464 million is intolerable, at least in the eyes of Yes2ourstudents, LLC. I hope the rest of Richland County joins Yes2ourstudents, LLC and votes NO SCHOOL BOND. NO BAIL FOR RICHLAND TWO AND NO BOND FOR RICHLAND TWO.

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