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Endorsement: Fay Satterfield for Halifax County School Board

We’re moving to District 6 in Halifax County where we have one-term incumbent Fay Satterfield and challenger Rita Best campaigning for a four-year term. We’ve made our decision on who we’d vote for if we still lived in the district…

If you only saw Fay Satterfield from a distance and had never met her, you might think that her slow and quiet demeanor wouldn’t work well for an elected official. Once you do meet her, you’ll quickly find out that she is very knowledgeable about the education system and isn’t afraid to voice her viewpoints on even the controversial issues. During her first election four years ago, SouthsideCentral endorsed both Satterfield and her challenger because both had the knowledge for the job but we were unable to get strongly behind either of their campaigns. That’s changed now once we’ve seen Satterfield i action and she’s highly impressed us with her correct decisions of tough decisions.

Challenger Rita Best is a former teacher in the school system and has the knowledge of the system to serve as an effective member of the school board. Best has made her name well-known in the district with a very large sign campaign. She made that smart move for name recognition because Satterfield hasn’t spent any money on signs, with Satterfield banking on an old-fashioned door-to-door campaign which can be successful in a limited size area like District 6. Although “signs don’t vote”,  Best’s name-recognition by means of her signs gives her a decent advantage in an election that a lot of people pay little attention to.

At the candidates’ forum last week, challenger Best seemed to be making the elimination of the Local Option Retirement Plan her main issue and the difference between her and Satterfield. LORP was a heavily bloated money-losing endeavor that was initiated by the previous superintendent and it was a giant financial burden on a cash-strapped school system. It was a good deal for the people who chose to go into the program, but took a heavy toll on the budget. Earlier this year, the school board voted to immediately eliminate the LORP program which caused outrage among the employees that had just retired to get into LORP. It was done quickly and with little notice (which wasn’t the best way to do it), but fiscally responsible people knew that the program was not sustainable.

Best was correct when she said that the program should have been allowed to finish out the current year, but SouthsideCentral finds it totally unacceptable when Best showed support for the program and then hinted that she may be in favor of reinstating it… all without addressing the financial impact of what that decision would mean to the school system. We consider that pandering to the people who were in the program and to unintelligent people who never consider the fiscal consequences of governmental programs. SouthsideCentral finds that position to be totally unacceptable and it disqualifies her from any chance of an endorsement for this race.

Satterfield said that she was legally bound not to discuss the LORP implications because some former employees are suing the school system. Although we can understand that cone of silence, Satterfield’s vote to eliminate the program show us that she understood that a program that would have paid $500 per day for her substitute teaching that would normally pay $65 wasn’t a good deal for the school system.

Even though we’re not considering Rita Best for our endorsement because of her position and pandering on LORP, we have to see if Satterfield meets the threshold to get an endorsement… and she does that quite easily. We hope that Satterfield’s quiet campaigning style will be effective against Rita Best’s sign blitz and hope that Satterfield will learn to get her message out to her constituents more forcefully in the future.

SouthsideCentral endorses Fay Satterfield for the District 6 Halifax County School Board election and we urge voters to elect her to another term.

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