Activist demands school board representation
Local activist Louis Smith, president of the Robynwyn Palmetto Civic Association, addressed the Dorchester County District Two School Board Monday on two issues pertaining to racial inequality.
Playing to the three television cameras that Smith had invited to the meeting, he accused the board of a lack of oversight on the expenditure of taxpayer dollars.
Last year, voters in the DD2 region of Dorchester County approved a $179.9 million referendum for construction of new schools and renovation of existing ones. Smith says the development of the project to date has overlooked minority-owned businesses as well as local companies based in the county.
“We need jobs! The oversight committee has no accountability,” Smith claimed, “there is nothing coming to the community regarding how we are going to get jobs.”
As a result, Smith suggests the school board’s committee overseeing such development be abandoned and replaced with appointees from Dorchester County Council, Summerville Town Council, state legislature and the local NAACP chapter.
Threatening the board with the Justice Department, Smith also demanded that school board officials be elected by district to improve potential for minority representation. DD2 school board members are currently elected at-large throughout the district’s region in Dorchester County.
“Look at the composition of the school board,” stated Smith, “minority candidates are still operating under standards of the 1950s and 1960s, voters vote for color not ideology.”
Preparing for any obstacles to what he calls “needed diversity,” Smith says he and Robynwyn Palmetto Civic Association are ready to demonstrate.
He gave the board six weeks to come up with a plan “or we’re going to the justice department.”
After addressing the board, Smith held a “press conference” at the back of the room in front of the television cameras.