Enquirer Herald

School board gets earful

CLOVER -- Several Lake Wylie residents are upset about their school district representative, who they say is now incapable of properly advocating their interests.

Residents spoke out at Monday's school board meeting with concerns that it appears Bob Magee no longer lives in the community where he serves on the Clover School Board of Trustees. He occupies the Bowling Green seat on the seven-member board.

That concern, Magee says, is unfounded.

His said his wife was relocated to Oconee Nuclear Station and they sold their Lake Wylie home. But Magee moved to another Clover-area residence and he still banks locally, goes to church, exercises and patrons local restaurants, he said.

According to York County GIS, Magee owns a home at 5099 Willow Pond Road. Because Magee's sales job involves considerable travel, he often is away from Lake Wylie, which could cause the misunderstanding, he said. But he is still available to discuss school district concerns.

"People can get in touch with me if they want to," said Magee, who was elected in 2006 for his second term. "I don't see how there's any problem."

But many don't share his view.

A half dozen concerned residents attended Monday's meeting to ask the board for an explanation as to why Magee is still allowed to serve.

Sherri Ciurlik, a parent at Crowders Creek Middle School, joined several others in questioning whether Magee meets the residency requirement.

"It's not a personal issue," said Ciurlik, who said she voted for Magee during his last campaign. "My selection no longer resides in Clover."

When Ciurlik tried to contact Magee months ago to discuss a district issue, she was told he no longer lived in Lake Wylie and was instead living with his wife near Clemson. Because Magee still maintained a Lake Wylie address, Ciurlik said, she was told he could remain on the school board.

"If you do not live here, do not work here and do not have a child attending schools here, how can you be my voice?" Ciurlik asked.

Magee said he's still available.

"They can call," Magee said. "We can make an appointment. They can e-mail, or whatever's convenient for them."

Still not sold in the idea, several residents stayed after Monday's meeting to plot their next course of action, which could include a petition to put pressure on the board. Cuirlick called Magee's Clemson-area residence, a "fundamental change" to her representation on the board.

Eric Carpenter agrees, and suggested Magee no longer has to "live with the consequences" of his actions on school board. Owning property within the district but not living there full-time goes against the spirit of the rule allowing Magee to serve, Carpenter said.

Christine Baldizzi, parent of two at Crowders Creek Elementary School, said someone who does not live within the district daily should not represent them.

"We really do need somebody who's in the thick of things," Baldizzi said. "I'm just afraid that he's out of the loop.

"The best person to represent you is a person who lives in your community," she said.

Board chairman Steve Brown, along with the rest of the board, said little on the issue during Monday's meeting.

"Your concerns are duly noted, and we will address them at the proper time," said Brown, who didn't elaborate on when that would be or if it'll come up at a future meeting.

Some board members spoke with the residents following the meeting and defended the rule to allow Magee to serve until his term expires in two years. As long as a board member has a residence in the community, which Magee and his address show, the person is eligible to serve, according to a district regulation.

Magee, who cites his "near perfect" attendance record at meetings and six years of service, said he remains committed to the district. He also invited residents to communicate with him any time they wish by calling (803) 831-2955 or e-mailing rsmagee@bellsouth.net.