UNION — District 7 Union County School Board candidate Manning Jeter says that if reelected his top priorities will be improving teacher morale and student test scores.
Jeter, a Union High School graduate seeking his fourth term on the board, thanked the people of his district for their support over the years and asked for them to continue supporting him as a member of the board.
“I would like to thank the citizens of Union for their continued support of me as a member of the Union County School Board of Trustees,” Jeter said. “You have supported me in the past and I solicit your continued support.”
Jeter said his 12 years in office have been a time of challenges for the school district, especially in the area of finances with the board having to cope with cuts in state funding. He said the board did so successfully, enabling the district to not only continue providing educational services to the children of Union County, but also building the new Sims Middle and Jonesville Elementary/Middle schools.
“During the time I have been on the board, we have faced many challenges and we still have many to face,” Jeter said. “We faced the challenge of severe budget cuts during the recession, but with administrative leadership of, with the help of Dr. Thomas White, Dr. David Eubanks, Mr. Lewis Jeter, and the administrators of Union County Schools we were able to cut seven million dollars from the budget and still remain viable.
“We’ve also managed to build two middle schools with the state-of-the-art equipment even after the budget cuts,” he said. “All the leg work for this was done while I was board chair.”
Jeter said the next challenge for the board is getting students’ test scores back up.
“We are now focusing on our test scores,” Jeter said. “We relaxed when we thought we were moving forward and our test scores were improving. We now see that we can’t relax. There has been some regression in some scores, but I’m committed to working with the rest of the board and the administration to see our test scores improve.”
Jeter said improving teacher morale and confidence that they are supported by the board will be an important factor in raising test scores.
“We have recognized that we have some issues with staff morale, but we are committed to working with our staff to identify the issues and make improvements,” Jeter said. “This low morale threatens the progress of our students in their educational endeavors. We must make it a priority to help cause the morale to be on the upswing. Our test scores will improve when morale improves.
“Our teachers must feel that they have the leeway to try new methods in reaching their students,” he said. “They must realize that they will not be punished for innovative thinking. Our most important assets are our children. We cannot move them forward without a properly trained and dedicated staff. The staff will feel more at ease at work with and teach our children when they know they have the support of the school board and will be treated with fairness and the utmost respect. Parents and students must also be assured that they will have the freedom to speak without being persecuted.”
Jeter said academic achievement is the key to giving Union County’s children a chance at a better life.
“We must make sure that we get the academics of the Union County School District moving in a positive direction so that our young people can get everything they need to be productive in life and in society,” Jeter said. “The strength of this country I believe lies in our young people.”
A Union native, Jeter spent 12 years following graduation from Union High School traveling about the country as a musician. Upon returning home, Jeter opened his own business, Jeter’s Collision and Repair Specialists. Jeter also managed the Vic Bailey Ford dealership. He is now senior claims representative for Allstate Insurance Co.
Jeter and his wife, Maretta, are the parents of four children. They attend Bethel Baptist Church where Jeter serves as a deacon.