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Richland One special election polling locations, candidate information

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 3:06 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Richland One School District One will have its special election on October 26 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Candidates Robert Lominack, Jim Manning, and Hamilton Jacobs are competing for the vacant spot left behind by Commissioner Yolanda Anderson who resigned in August after she said she moved out of the district.

Lominack is a former Richland One teacher and now heads an education nonprofit, Manning is a former Richland County Councilman and social worker, and Jacobs is a Richland One graduate and local sports coach.

Each candidate has a unique take on the issues Richland One faces this year including school inequality across the district, the teacher shortage, and COVID-19 protocols.

Here’s a breakdown of each candidate’s views:

SCHOOL INEQUALITY

Robert Lominack, Richland One School Board Candidate:

  • We’ve got to make sure we’re addressing poverty, especially at our high-needs schools. And so they need more social workers and more mental health counselors to try to tackle some of the outside-of-school factors that find their way every single day into the school building.

Jim Manning, Richland One School Board Candidate:

  • I would want to hear from them what it is that they’ve done, what they feel is working, what they feel isn’t working and see if just a new person coming into an unexpired term whose served on Richland County Council may have a new insight into something else that we can look at.

Hamilton Jacobs, Richland One School Board Candidate:

  • I want to make sure that the schools in my area have the same equitable opportunity as an A.C. Flora, as a Dreher, as a Hand Middle School, as a Rosewood Elementary School.

TEACHER SHORTAGE & SUPPORT

On October 25, the district reported 102 teacher vacancies.

Robert Lominack, Richland One School Board Candidate:

  • We’ve got to give teachers more support. Teachers are now dealing with outside-of-the-classroom issues and they can’t do it all. Also, we’ve had an HR problem in District One for years. We’re slow to post openings, we’re even slower to hire teachers after teachers and principals have spent time interviewing.

Jim Manning, Richland One School Board Candidate:

  • I think we really need to hear from the teachers about what their issues are and what we can do to support them because it isn’t always money. We just need to look and make sure our personnel office is doing what they need to do in an expedient kind of way so that we’re not losing any possibilities there because we haven’t been quick enough compared to other districts.

Hamilton Jacobs, Richland One School Board Candidate:

  • Being in the community, some of us being former teachers, it can be easy to say this is what they need or this is what they feel. But, we really have to sit down and get to the people in the classroom, hear their hearts, and try to make adjustments.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

All candidates agree the mask mandate across the district is why schools have been able to stay open this year.

Robert Lominack, Richland One School Board Candidate:

  • The students I continue to work with that need to be in school the most have not missed a day because they’ve worn the mask. I think the numbers have borne out that masks work and I think that’s worked really well.

Jim Manning, Richland One School Board Candidate:

  • I think there hasn’t been good coordination between the school board and the other locally elected bodies that are making decisions about masks and social distancing.

Hamilton Jacobs, Richland One School Board Candidate:

  • Richland School District One has done all that they can and they’ve made a bold stance, making sure our schools have the mask mandate and our children have masks.

WHY THEY SHOULD BE CHOSEN

Robert Lominack, Richland One School Board Candidate:

  • Currently, there is not a single school board member who has ever taught in a classroom. I think that is a huge blind spot in our current board. I think our board is creating policies that are impacting teachers every single day—big ones and small ones, and that’s one of the reasons we’re pushing people out of the district is because sometimes those policies don’t have that perspective of a classroom teacher.

Jim Manning, Richland One School Board Candidate:

  • I just felt it was important when we fill that gap year that we have someone who had served in local government, understood governance and policymaking by a local-elected group.

Hamilton Jacobs, Richland One School Board Candidate:

  • We need someone in that seat that can relate to our students. Not only relate to our students, but also bring that community aspect to our school board and be an advocate, not only for our teachers and staff, but also for the custodians, the cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and parents.

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