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School board stands with City of Hanahan to move forward on school

  • Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lindsay Street/IndependentHanahan Mayor Minnie Blackwell addressed Berkeley County school board Tuesday during public comments.

A Brooklyn accent shook the Berkeley County School District boardroom Tuesday night and rallied two divided sides unable to agree on the site for a new elementary school in Hanahan.

Bill Healy, a Hanahan resident and grandfather, asked the district to “fugetaboutit” and move forward in the best interest of the district’s children.

“Every day that goes by is a wasted day. Become leaders that you were voted in for,” Healy said.

He ended his three-minute public appeal with asking the school board members to stand if they were willing to come to the table with the City of Hanahan. All members including the superintendent stood, as present City of Hanahan officials walked to the front of the room to join them.

Healy was one of 15 public commenters that included officials from the city like Hanahan Mayor Minnie Blackwell and Mayor Pro Tem Joel Hodges. The City Council canceled its regularly scheduled Tuesday meeting to attend.

The bad blood between the district and the Council began late 2013. After the successful 2012 Yes 4 Schools campaign in which a new elementary school was promised to the Tanner Plantation area, the district asked for rezoning of a tract known as the Bowen site. The request was denied.

The school site was not on Tuesday’s regular board meeting agenda, but will be on the agenda during the upcoming Aug. 26 meeting, according to Superintendent Rodney Thompson.

The slew of public comments was sparked by an email sent by board member Doug Cooper. The email to Blackwell suggested that Hanahan’s children would be bused out of town if something didn’t give. Both sides of the issue claim the other has made misleading statements, but after Healy’s comments, members of the board and the superintendent said they were willing to put it behind them.

“I want to get this resolved, it is a priority,” Thompson said. “Please do not place judgment on our board members until all of this is resolved. You talk about some facts that aren’t correct ... if we get into a game of placing blame then we really aren’t going to move forward.”

“Let’s come to the table to move forward with an open mind,” he said.

Cooper stood by his email.

“I welcome that challenge,” he said to the council members. “The reason for my email is that we are so frustrated at the inability to come to any kind of resolution without a tremendous set of demands ... let’s try to do this again. We tried it once, but I think we can try it again with your help.”

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