Aiken County Board of Education candidates trying to earn community's trust

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019
News 12 at 11 o'clock

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Ten candidates are hoping to fill three seats on the Aiken County Board of Education.

The seats opened up when three board members stepped down in September. They left after Superintendent Sean Alford resigned.

Budgeting, transparency and child safety were huge topics. Another big thing they talked about was trust. There's a distrust with some members of the community following those resignations and tonight, the panel got to address any and all concerns.

Sylive Carey has lived in Aiken for nearly 15 years.

"My sons started in elementary school, went through middle and high school," said Carey.

Her sons have already graduated from the Aiken County School System, but she still went to the board forum tonight.

"My subdivision got redistrict by the previous administration, and I'm looking for a candidate that will restore my subdivision back to Chukker Creek Elementary," said Carey.

Rezoning was one of the issues talked about as nine candidates pled their cases to get one of three vacant spots on the board.

For Carey, the educational experience is an important factor, but it's not the be-all-end-all.

"I would also like to see someone who's a business person. Not just in education, but somebody who has a really broad experience in business as well," said Carey.

For others like Emilie Degryse, safety and children's well being is the top priority. Degryse is newer to the area and has three sons in the school system, all third grade and younger.

"I appreciate that they touched on the mental health issue with children, and the anxiety and suicide rate," said Degryse.

The community got a good taste for the candidates at the forum, and for many, it helped make the decision easier.

"It was good to actually see the whole panel and hear from all the candidates, and I definitely have a favorite now after coming tonight," said Degryse.

The forum lasted about an hour and a half, with opening statements, followed by eight questions for each candidate, and a closing remark.

If you didn't have the chance to go to the forum tonight, there will be another one on November 19 before voting next month.

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