Meet Chuck Saylors and Tim Schuyler, candidates for Greenville County Schools Board of Trustees for Area 20. In this episode, each candidate has 10 minutes to introduce themselves to the voters. Your vote is so important! Please take a listen and share with your neighbors. Find your sample ballot at www.scvotes.gov.
Catherine Schumacher, Public Education Partners 0:00
Simple Civics: Greenville County is sponsored by Public Education Partners and informedsc.org. Informedsc.org is an award winning data center that provides nonpartisan comprehensive information about all things public education in Greenville County and South Carolina. From student testing to teacher salaries to district budgets informedsc.org makes it easy to find the information you need to understand the issues and advocate for students, teachers and schools. Visit informedsc.org. Informing influencers, advancing public schools.
Katy Smith 0:34
On November 8 voters across the country head to the polls to elect those who will represent us in local, state, and federal government. Some Greenville County voters will see choices for Greenville County Schools trustees on their ballots. Today we are pleased to have Public Education Partners join us in bringing you a six part series to introduce to you the Greenville County School Board candidates who are running to set policy and direction for the public school district that serves 77,000 students, 6000 teachers and 10,000 employees. Candidates will be interviewed by Catherine Schumacher, President and CEO of Public Education Partners. Today we introduce the candidates for Area 20, which is generally Taylor’s – Chuck Saylors and Tim Schuyler. Here were our ground rules. Each candidate received the same questions at the time of their invitation to join us. Each was given 10 minutes for their interview. They were also allowed to bring along a companion, such as a campaign manager, family member or friend and to record our session themselves. There were no edits made to the interviews with the candidates. You can see if they are on your ballot by looking up your sample ballot at SCvotes.gov. First up alphabetically is Chuck Saylors.
Catherine Schumacher, Public Education Partners 1:52
Well, I’m happy to be here today with Chuck Saylors, who is on the ballot for Greenville County school trustee in Area 20. And Chuck, why don’t you tell us about yourself and why you decided to run to be a Greenville County Schools trustee.
Chuck Saylors, Area 20 2:05
Well, thank you, Katherine. And I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today and those that are listening to this podcast. I’m running again, as an incumbent to continue some of the good work that we’ve done over the last several years. We have worked very diligently to make sure that our teachers have the adequate resources in the classroom, that they can be successful with their students and their students succeed. We’ve worked hard to expand school safety, to attend to transportation issues, to make sure that our finances are stable, that our district is ran like the $700 million plus business that it is. And so what I would like to do is to continue serving the voters and the families of district 20 that I’ve been blessed to do so far, in the over the years, to make sure that our children’s education is still addressed in a quality, stable manner.
Catherine Schumacher, Public Education Partners 3:09
Well, how does your professional and personal experience make you a good candidate for the school board?
Chuck Saylors, Area 20 3:14
Well, those that don’t know me, I’m in construction by profession. I do business development and government relations work for a construction companies in the southeastern United States. And we deal a lot with counties, municipalities and school districts. So I have been able to see through that lens, as well as my involvement over the years as a leader in the PTA, what school systems across our state and across our nation do when it comes to best practices. And through that lens, I’m able to garner and bring back some information and some practices that could be beneficial to our students, and supportive of our teachers. I also believe that because of my business experience, I look at our participation in the community as a school system a little differently. What I mean by that is economic development. When it comes to recruiting and securing businesses, families to relocate to Greenville. One of the things that they look at is the school system, the grades, the scores, the physical space in the school itself. And so I bring that information to the table, those connections, parental engagement, community engagement, and the resources that we can bring to bear to make sure that this, again, the students and teachers in our classrooms have a quality safe, technologically equal learning environment.
Catherine Schumacher, Public Education Partners 4:45
Well, what do you think are the biggest challenges facing the district and what is something that the Board of Trustees has the power to do to address them?
Chuck Saylors, Area 20 4:52
Well, most anything that needs to be addressed for our system, whether it’s financial, instructional, operational, the board has the responsibility to either pass policy to support the administration or work with them to see that that is funded and properly implemented. So the board is responsible at the end of the day for everything related to the school system. Now, does the board have the responsibility to involve themselves in the daily, day to day hands on administration of the school system? No, we are a trustee based policymaking body that works to make sure that the school system, the superintendent and everyone between the superintendent and the newest employee has the resources to be effective. What our challenges are going to be is, again, to make sure that our funding models remain solid. In the years that I have served on this board, a consistent challenge has been making sure that the funding we received from the state can pay the bills that we incur, to make sure that our students are successful. We are a heavily based employee business. And what I mean by that is, we have 10,000 employees, most of them are in directly connected in the instruction of a student. And so we want to make sure that those resources remain fully funded, and adequate to do the job that the parents and the community expect us to do.
Catherine Schumacher, Public Education Partners 6:31
Well, we have a little bit of time left. So is there anything else that you would like to share with listeners and let them know?
Chuck Saylors, Area 20 6:36
I would like to make sure that the listeners make… take the time to be informed, to seek out information, to reach out to me and to my opponent and see exactly what our personal philosophies are related to education. You know, you can sit here in 10 minutes and give you the 30,000 foot view of what your expectations are. But until you have an in depth conversation with an individual and let them ask a singular burning question that they may have. That’s where the differential I think will be seen. I am really concerned about the movement in this nation that seems to be bleeding into our state, when it comes to tearing down public education. Public education is the cornerstone of our democracy. You hear that all the time. Sometimes people don’t necessarily believe that as a tactic, but it is. And our country, our community is based on making sure that our students have a safe, secure, technologically equal learning environment. And that’s my focus is to make sure that we still have the resources to do that. Public education is not a political football. It’s not a partisan commentary. It is a fact based, student driven, teacher supported system that we need to continue to supply and support. The way we have. One of Greenville’s greatest treasures, one of the things that attract people to Granville, more than most anything else, is the quality of our school system. And we want to make sure that when our students are here, it is a positive experience. We want to make sure that their instructional activities are top notch, that they have the physical and mental health support that they need when they need it. We want to make sure that the third of our student body that rides a bus can get to and from school every day in a safe and secure manner. This is a huge operation. It’s a huge business. You know, we have 77,000 students in Greenville County, 100 facilities, and 1/3 of our students ride a bus. How many of your listeners know that if you take those bus routes, and put them end to end, we encompass the globe one time a day. That’s a lot of groundwork to cover. And we want to make sure that the children arrive safely to their destination.
Catherine Schumacher, Public Education Partners 9:20
Well, thank you for joining us today, Chuck and we look forward to seeing you on the ballot in November.
Chuck Saylors, Area 20 9:35
It is my pleasure and I thank everyone for their time and their consideration. Have a good day.
Katy Smith 9:41
Next up is Tim Schuyler.
Catherine Schumacher, Public Education Partners 9:43
I’m happy to be here with Tim Schuyler who is on the ballot for Greenville County Schools trustees for Area 20. So Tim, why don’t you start by telling us about yourself and why you decided to run to be a Greenville County Schools trustee.
Tim Schuyler, Area 20 9:57
Okay, great. Thank you for letting me be here. My name is Tim Schuyler and we’ve lived here in Taylors for the last nine years or in Taylors. And been in Greenville County for over 26 years since 1997. Married to my wife, my beautiful wife, who’s sitting right next to me here for 26… 28 years, sorry. And we have five children, ages 12 to 26. So that’s, that’s a little bit about me. And then of course, I own a business, which I’ll get into later in the next question, I believe. But our children have been… so our children over the years have been predominantly homeschooled, which may lead some people to wonder why I’m running for school board. Several reasons. And but basically, because I believe that all children need a quality education. And I believe that the parents want quality over quantity. I also believe that they should have a choice, you know, there should be some school choice with that with the parents. So, but it’s in regards to the public schools, I believe we need to get back to the basic subjects of reading, writing, math, science and history. Our focus should be on these core subjects with as little government interference as possible. So I’m running for school board to help ensure that our future generations are grounded and educated in truth, and not lies or radical agendas.
Catherine Schumacher, Public Education Partners 11:23
Well, how does your professional and personal experience make you a good candidate for school board?
Tim Schuyler, Area 20 11:29
Well, I own my own business, which I already mentioned, it’s actually a sports management company called breakaway sports. And we do a lot of different things with that it’s kind of morphed over the years, but I’ve had it for the last 20 years. It started just as basically me looking for part time income as a referee, a sports official, and it just kind of grew. I developed relationships with with schools and, and churches, you know, directors, athletic directors, coaches along the way. And it grew from from me just being a part time referee to providing staffing services, providing officials for athletic events all over the upstate of South Carolina. And now it’s it’s turned into the last several years, it’s turned into a full time endeavor with some… we do league management. So I manage church leagues and rec leagues all over the Upstate. Work with, you know, youth all the way to adults. Anything athletic related, I’m a huge, you know, I love sports. So, it’s, it’s been a passion of mine over the years, and it’s, it’s been something that I’ve been able to, you know, bring, you know… come to fruition over the years and do it do it as a full time thing. So I’m excited about that. But I also feel like that that’s kind of helped, you know, that will help me in this position. Because of the relationships I’ve built with people, you know, of course, been involved with, with the schools as a, you know, not a volunteer but as a as serving the schools as a sports official and, and providing providing quality athletic services and staffing for for those schools. And then of course, the churches in the in the community. So but, you know, along with that I do several things. I manage a team of over 120 people and interact with these folks every day. Administrators, church directors, coaches, parents and the students on a daily basis. Over the years, I’ve written policies and procedures, bylaws and staff training manuals in relation to that. I’ve also conducted countless trainings. And of course, this is specifically for the sports officials, which I mentioned earlier, teaching them how to rightly and safely adjudicate athletic contests withstanding the pressures, you know, that come along with that, of course, everyone knows that, you know, fans and coaches can be unruly when you’re, when you’re an official when you’re wearing stripes. Nobody likes you. So, but withstanding those pressures and and you know, doing it in a in a, in a right and just way so, and unbiased in an unbiased way. So, I feel like that, that experience with my own personal experiences and as a referee, in those kinds of situations, and in those pressure situations, I feel like I can, you know, I can sit on this board and really face you know, face whatever comes my way. The challenges, the pressures, you know, from the media or from from board members, whatever it is, and then it ultimately stand for truth and what’s right, and make decisions that are best for the community for the children and for the parents involved.
Catherine Schumacher, Public Education Partners 14:49
Okay, well, thank you. Well, what do you think are the biggest challenges facing the district and what is something that the Board of Trustees has the power to do to address them?
Tim Schuyler, Area 20 14:59
So there’s, there’s, I think there’s a lot of challenges, actually. And I, we can’t really get into them all today. And to be perfectly honest, because I haven’t served on the board before, I don’t know what what the board has the power to do and what they don’t. But what I will address is, is, for me that kind of at the top of the list of the challenges and how I would like to see them addressed as as if I have the opportunity to serve on the board. So the first one would be parental rights or parental choice. Parents should have the right to direct the education of their children. This includes the right to see their their records, the curriculum that’s being taught, teaching and testing materials, they should also be notified and given approval before any medical procedure or therapy is performed on their child. Masks in school or vaccinations of any kind should be solely decided on by the parents and any such mandate should never be implemented. So that’s parental choice and parental rights. I also believe, along with that, that that parents should have the right of course, I had mentioned at the beginning that I have we’ve homeschooled our children. So I believe that parents should have the right to choose Private School, homeschool, or public education. And no matter what they choose, they should have basically the same rights involved based on what I just said. So that’s parental rights. Number one. Number two is the curriculum that’s that’s, that’s being introduced into the schools. So as I mentioned earlier, we must get back to a basic core curriculum that is simple to teach and focuses on the fundamentals. We must ignore federal government curriculum initiatives, which constantly change and create confusion. Any initiative with a specific agenda, such as CRT, SEL, or sexually explicit content, should be immediately removed and never be taught or made accessible to our to our children. Now, you know, I don’t know all I haven’t looked at all the curriculum that’s in the schools, but I feel like especially the the three areas that I just mentioned was CRT SEL, and the sexually explicit content. We’ve heard of many examples of those in the schools. And you know, whether whether we currently have them in our Greenville County schools or not, that’s something that I want to investigate and make sure that we purge anything and not allow any of that to be in there in the future. So that’s the curriculum. And then the third thing is the budget. And I believe there, we need full transparency. The budget should include only fiscal fiscally necessary expenses. And it also should be audited every year and made accessible to the public. So that’s where the transparency comes into play. We must also stop taking federal money that comes with strings attached. And finally, this is a big one for me, we I believe we must do away with the Education Lottery. The Lottery has done more more bad than good over the years. And basically what it’s done is it’s lined the pockets of our government bureaucrats and given it’s done some good it’s given scholarships to, to mostly middle class and upper class students. But but the money needs to go in my opinion, any funding needs to go more toward the, you know, the students and the teachers that need it need it more than than the government bureaucrats in the the upper and middle class? So that’s my thoughts on that. And all of those things I believe can be addressed within the budget and there needs to be much more accountability in that way.
Catherine Schumacher, Public Education Partners 18:44
Okay. Well, thank you, Tim Schuyler, for joining us having a conversation and we look forward to seeing your name on the ballot on November 8. Thank you for your willingness to serve.
Tim Schuyler, Area 20 18:54
Catherine Puckett 18:56
Simple Civics: Greenville County is a project of Greater Good Greenville. Greater Good Greenville was catalyzed by the merger of the nonprofit Alliance and the Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy. You can learn more on our website at greatergoodgreenville.org This is a production of the Greenville Podcast Company.