Knipp, Jenkins ready to take seats on Rock Hill board

Published 10:01 am Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Their counterparts in other districts are shaking hands, putting up signs and participating in meet-the-candidate debates, but the two people running for the Rock Hill Board of Education are not quite so busy this election season.

That’s because Wanda Jenkins and Paul Knipp are the only two candidates seeking the two seats available on the Rock Hill board — and this is the first time in recent memory the school board race has been decided by acclamation.

Knipp, a newcomer to the election process, is no stranger to the school system. He graduated from Rock Hill in 1993. He taught sixth and seventh grade social studies six years there before going to law school. Knipp said he wants to focus on improving academics and wants to keep a careful eye on finances when he takes his seat in January.

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“I am concerned at the present for finances because of the state of the economy and the state’s finances and because of dwindling enrollment,” Knipp said. “I want to be a good steward of the district’s resources.”

School officials in other districts have expressed concern about dwindling enrollment in their school systems as well.

Knipp will take the place of Paul R. Johnson, who chose not to seek another term on the board.

If Knipp is a political newcomer, fellow candidate Wanda Jenkins is the seasoned veteran of the two.

She was first elected to the board in 1980. She is retired from the school district and from the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization. She has served longer than anyone else on the board.

Jenkins said her most important goal is to improve education. Rock Hill has made great strides in recent years in bolstering test scores and broadening educational opportunities. Jenkins wants it to continue.

“I think we’re on the right track, I really do,” she said.

Like Knipp, she is also concerned about budget cutbacks at the state level and how it will affect her district.

Jenkins said while it is nice to have no competition in the election, she will miss the electioneering.

“I have met a lot of good people and I don’t care how many times you go, you always meet someone new,” she said.