Fort Mill Times

You decide: On the right path or not for seat 5?

Voters can choose from two business people who are candidates for the Clover school board’s Seat 5 in the Nov. 4 election.

Both candidates have children in Clover schools, and both live in Lake Wylie. But that’s about where their similarities end.

For voters who think the Clover School District is going in the right direction, and believe that it made the right decisions in its recent bond package, incumbent Rob Wallace is the likely choice.

But those who disagree with the direction the district is headed may want to cast their ballot for challenger Jamie Henrickson.

Wallace was appointed a year ago to fill the remaining four-year term of the late Barbara Parrish. He is being challenged by Henrickson, a sales and financial adviser.

Wallace’s community involvement includes youth sports, while Henrickson has been a school volunteer and is a PTO member.

Wallace, a Clover businessman, points out that implementing the highest property tax increase for school operations each year is “killing businesses,” and needs to be addressed.

When it comes to issues like the bond referendum, the divisiveness of the communities within the Clover School District extends to these two candidates. It’s the main reason Henrickson said she was spurred to run.

Wallace supported the bond, though he also said he believes the aquatics center should have been a separate vote.

Henrickson opposed the ninth-grade academy and high school plan, the artificial turf at the three athletic fields and the aquatics center.

The bond has been approved by voters, and it’s time to focus on the future and preparing for growth, both candidates say. But we believe uniting a community is also an issue the board needs to confront.

While Henrickson is concerned about the rift of “us and them” and lends an ear toward the high growth area of Lake Wylie, Wallace said it was a small, vocal group that came out against the bond, wanting a second high school in Lake Wylie.

Polls show 63 percent of Lake Wylie residents voted against the bond, which was approved by 57 percent of voters overall. Unhappiness with the plan extended beyond this group and for reasons other than wanting a Lake Wylie high school. To not see that is shortsighted.

Wallace said as long as there is an agenda on one side or the other, the community will not come together. We think it’s worth a try, especially by someone like Wallace, who appears to be a good compromiser.

Another issue the candidates differ on involves technology, specifically the Connected Classroom one-to-one computer project.

Henrickson said she does not feel it’s necessary for all elementary age students to have an iPad to take home. “I have yet to see the benefit,” she said.

But in today’s world, with technology important in so many ways, we think Clover schools are on the right track. Wallace agrees.

Wallace looks at the bottom line and all sides of an issue, while Henrickson appears to have her mind made up.

We believe these candidates bring very different perspectives to the board. Those who support the direction the district is headed may want to vote for Wallace, while those who see a need for change may want to consider Henrickson.