Berkeley County School Board unanimously passes funding and library content resolutions

The school board voted unanimously on the two resolutions.
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 10:12 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2022 at 11:34 PM EST
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MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCSC) - After the termination of former superintendent Deon Jackson, the board made several decisions about funding and what kind of content students are allowed to read in school.

The school board voted unanimously on the two resolutions. Although neither of these timelines are set in stone, the board says they will continue these conversations in future meetings.

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Berkeley County School Board voted 8-0 to direct finance staff to submit to the board of trustees a property tax decrease proposal following November’s passing of Berkeley County’s one-cent sales tax for schools.

David Barrow, the Berkeley County School Board member at large and former board chair, says he supports a decrease in millage, the measured value in property taxes, but doesn’t want to lower it too much to not be able to fund projects that are already approved.

“You can’t have a penny sales tax and take money out of that pool and give it back to the public if you don’t have enough money to pay for the projects that you’ve approved,” Barrow said.

Barrow says there is no plan on when they will have that millage number set.

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Another resolution voted 8-0 was to establish a committee to evaluate appropriate guidelines for the evaluation of materials of inappropriate sexual/pornographic content in all schools.

Heather Hickman, a concerned Berkeley County resident, says she wants the board to get inappropriate books out of the libraries.

“We pay for the books that are purchased,” Hickman said. “We do not have access to those book lists. We do not have access to the list of the books that end up in our libraries. We need help there.”

According to the Berkeley County School Board policy on Selection Of Materials For School Library Media Centers, school media specialists are responsible for the selection of media center books, audiovisuals and other materials. The choice of these books is based on grade-level appropriateness, representation of multiple viewpoints, high degree of comprehensibility, and more.

Alana Lewis, librarian at Sangaree Middle and the second lead librarian at Berkeley County School District, says inappropriate books are not in the libraries.

“There has been an abundance of misinformation and hyperbolic statements and political rhetoric about what is in our libraries,” Lewis said. “But I can assure you BCSD libraries do not contain porn.”

Yvonne Bradley proposed to amend this resolution to include adding a committee of librarians, parents, board members, mental health counselors, among others, to decide what should be deemed as appropriate and inappropriate content in the library.

She went on to say at the end of the day it should be a parent’s decision on what they want their child to read in school.

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“We do have policies in place now, so I don’t really think it’s necessary because if somebody wants to challenge a book, textbook or library book, they can do that now,” Barrow said. “But I’m okay with a committee.”

All the other Berkeley County School Board members did not respond for a comment on these resolutions.