Blackville school board candidates position themselves for race: Waring

Schoolchildren in the Blackville-Hilda school district are better than what some measurements state.

That's Inell Waring's position on the quality and potential of the students in the district.

It's also one of the reasons Waring, 53, is running for a second term on the Blackville-Hilda school board.

Two seats are up for grabs in the April 14 school board elections. Incumbent Steve McCormack is running for another term but he and Waring have a challenger in newcomer Brenda Holman.

"I'm a public school advocate. I feel that we have been taking a dim look on public education - especially with test scores," Waring said. "If you look at our test scores - now you would think our children can't function."

However, Waring believes too much emphasis has been placed on state test scores, which have overshadowed other, less quantifiable achievements, she said.

"I believe public schools are the answer. I should give credit to the superintendent (Teresa Pope). All our teachers are certified now," Waring said.

In 2008 and 2007, the district received in its district report card from the state education department "at-risk" in its absolute ratings and "below average" in it growth ratings, according to state education data.

Having been a military wife, Waring moved around a lot. That has given her more of a "well-rounded life" and exposure to different cultures. It's an aspect she would like to see Blackville students get a taste of as well - to the world outside of Barnwell County, she said.

"We ask our teachers to expose our children to different things," Waring said.

If reelected, Waring said she knows one of the biggest challenges she and the board will face will be the budget.

"Some tough decisions will have to be made," she said.

The district recently refinanced a bond for district improvements. The board was originally going to obtain $500,000 from the bond, but opted for $400,000 given the current economic conditions and the fact the Allied Air plant in Blackville will close within two years.

Waring sees herself as an encourager for young people.

"I'm always encouraging the students to forge forward or as my daughter says, ‘Do not stop learning - it makes you more marketable,'" she said.

Waring has five grown children.

"My kids say, ‘Why did you come back to Blackville?' Because I care about Blackville," Waring said.

Especially its children.