Legislators Challenge Jim Rex to Stop Taxpayer-funded Campaign Event
Legislators Challenge Rex to Stop Taxpayer-funded Campaign Event
State Superintendent’s Political One Man Show Should Be Cancelled
Columbia, SC – March, 8, 2010 – Today, members of the South Carolina House and Senate called on State Superintendent Jim Rex and South Carolina Education Television to cancel his so-called “faculty meeting” with teachers at 4 pm today. Though the event is purported to be an opportunity to update teachers about the education budget, it is a thinly-veiled taxpayer-funded political rally by gubernatorial candidate Jim Rex.
The publicity stunt is the latest example by Jim Rex, to make the State Department of Education a leader in his grassroots politics, instead of improving results or increasing choices for parents. Two weeks ago, candidate Rex received the endorsement of 47 superintendents, all of whom rely on his Department of Education for funding, technical assistance, oversight and accountability. Just last week, House Democrats killed legislation asking the voters to make the Superintendent of Education an appointed position.
Representative Eric Bedingfield (R-Greenville) said, “The Budget document is not even available to the members of the House until this week. Rather than working with members to address his concerns, Jim Rex hits the campaign trail.”
Representative Kris Crawford (R-Florence) added, “I’m proud that both my wife and mother are public school educators in our state. Despite the long hours they put in, both in the classroom and preparing lessons, Jim Rex wants them to take time away from that to listen to his stump speech. Parents should know that he seems more worried about his political future and not their child’s educational future.”
Senator Lee Bright (R- Spartanburg) plans to contact the superintendents in Spartanburg County to express concern over the use of time. “Dr. Rex tripled the number of employees making over $100,000 a year when he took office. Last year, just the top management at the State Department of Education made a collective $2 million. If those well-paid employees would rather participate in campaign events than finding solutions, we should be looking harder at cutting the employment rolls in the Rutledge Building. That move alone could save a teacher in every school district.”
Senator Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) said, “We need the superintendent to work with us on a bipartisan basis on things like school district consolidation, creating and improving access to virtual and charter schools, and cutting the bureaucracy in Columbia so that more money actually makes its way to the classroom. The people of South Carolina expect us to solve problems, and political stunts don’t help.”
The legislators contacted SCETV late Friday requesting that state resources not be used to support Jim Rex’s political ambitions and questioned if equal time was going to be provided to other Gubernatorial candidates if SCETV proceeded with this misuse of state resources. The group of legislators also questioned how SCETV had resources to support this type of activity in such tight financial times. SCETV contacted Representative Crawford early Monday morning reaffirming their decision to move forward with the thinly veiled Rex for Governor event despite concerns from the members of the General Assembly.
The Legislators can be contacted at the following numbers:
Representative Eric Bedingfield: 864.230.7044
Senator Lee Bright: 864.978.9522
Representative Kris Crawford: 843.601.2603
Senator Tom Davis: 843.252.8583