Editor’s note: Letter from former Liberty County school board member Marcus Scott IV to the community
It is with great pleasure I leave this board in better shape now than it was over four years ago when I was elected as a 35 year-old school board member for District 5. I learned a lot during my tenure as a board member in LCSS and I do not regret one moment. Contrary to what you read in the paper, all board members were not against my vision for Liberty County School System. As I matter of fact, the board member I thought I would have the most problems with ended up being my favorite board member because of her surprising passion for all students and similar vision for the system.
We have accomplished plenty during my tenure from getting rid of ineffective leadership and getting a superintendent with proven leadership, increasing test scores, ensuring students are learning, video recording of board meeting, bi- weekly pay for all LCSS staff, increased the graduation rate, eliminating furloughs and much more. Most importantly is how during my tenure a sense of accountable and transparency was established that will survive long after I leave the board that was not present beforehand.
Every man is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he does not do it, it will never be done. I feel my purpose for being a school board member was to do what was best for all the students of Liberty County School System. All board members say this, but most are only willing to do what is politically convenient. I can sleep well knowing that almost 11,000 students and almost 1,600 staff members had someone on the board for the past four years that was going to do what was right no matter the consequences.
It was interesting to me that people would come after me for doing what was best for kids. I found that when morality comes against profit, profit usually wins when dealing with the school system. However, I always stood on the fact that you cannot deny the truth. So when it came out that the board chair and former superintendent was retaliating against me, I did not commit any ethic violations, and Mr. Reese wasn’t lying about being retaliated against, it did not make me feel vindicated, but it did help prove that my work to clean up a dirty education system was not in vein.
I will continue to fight for all students. As I depart the school board, one area I feel the community should put more focus on is demanding more accountability with the budget and finances. We recently raised the millage rate almost a whole mill and no one batted an eye. This is after voters approved ESPLOST. So let me get this straight, we are not managing the money we have, you give us more with ESPLOST, and we still tell you we are raising taxes and that is okay? Only in Liberty County. Not to mention we have over 25 million in reserve (probably one of the largest reserves in the state) and Federal Impact Aid funds. But I guess it is more important to know about the arguments between board members than demanding the Coastal Courier investigate the finances of Liberty County School System with the same veracity.
I wish Liberty County School System, a school system that my son and I attended, the best in the future. When I think about my time on the school board I will continue to be reminded as Frederick Douglas once said, “Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will…” So if voters don’t demand more, they will get less, which will trickle down to your child’s education.
In closing, don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened and if the LCSS is fortunate, it may happen again. You never know what the future holds or God’s plan for me. We will continue our weekly educational show, “The Educational Hotline,” on Facebook on Wednesdays.
Continue to do great things, while inspiring others to do the same Liberty County.
Marcus Scott IV
Liberty County Board Of Education, District 5