2nd Charleston Co. School Board member pushing back against ad campaign

Updated: Oct. 23, 2020 at 6:46 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Charleston County board member confronted an ad campaign Friday by the Charleston Coalition for Kids.

Current board member and candidate, Chris Collins told reporters that the ad, which points out past votes he’s made on raising board member salaries, takes the situation out of context by inferring that his salary on the board could pay for several new teachers.

“We don’t make any money so what you saw in the paper, what you saw on TV with that ad that I am getting a lavish lifestyle that could pay several teachers, I just want to know if anyone knows any teachers that are willing to work for $50 a month,” Collins said.

Board members currently make $25 a meeting. However this month, the board did vote to increase their salary o $800 a month. That will take effect after the election.

“There’s no school board member in the state of South Carolina that makes a decent salary. None. You don’t do it for the salary. You do it for the community,” Collins said.

Meanwhile, the director of Charleston Coalition for Kids, Josh Bell, responded saying that in the ad campaign, they are pointing to a proposed raise for all board members back in 2017 which was eventually reversed.

“We have to get the word out to voters that number one, school board votes are among the most important that you have, and two that you’ve got to identify the right candidates,” Bell said.

Collins is also accusing the Coalition of Kids of trying to "control " the Charleston County school board through funding for candidate endorsements.

“Charleston Coalition for Kids have planned attack scheme to take over the Charleston County school board. These men are not providing board members with resources or any other information or any type of knowledge," he said. "They’re not supplying the community with any type of resources.”

While Bell did not disclose how much money the coalition has spent on the ad campaign, he said the intention behind the ads are far from any special interests.

“We’re joining with many others evaluating candidates and speaking very clearly about who we think would be is best positioned to make a difference for kids,” Bell said. “Our interest is simply we want students' education to get better and their opportunities to increase.”

Collins is the second CCSD board member to speak out against the ad campaign. On Wednesday, board member Kevin Hollingshead’s lawyer sent a cease and desist letter to the organization.

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