Bowman prepares to move on; Pournelle may run again | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | July 21, 2016 5:00 pm
Last Updated: July 20, 2016 at 1:23 pm
By GEORGE SALSBERRY
The tenure of William Bowman Jr. as a member of the Colleton County School Board is winding down.
With the statement of candidacy period to file for school board set to get underway at noon on July 23, Bowman won’t be setting aside time to file for reelection — he can’t.
“There isn’t anything I can do,” In 2014, the late S.C. Sen. Clementa Pinckney wrote a bill “to have our school district lines rezoned and unfortunately myself and (fellow board member) P.A. Pournelle were rezoned out of our current districts into other districts,” Bowman said.
Because of that bill, he explained, “Unfortunately I will not be able to run for reelection to represent District 7.
“I’m deeply saddened, I loved representing the constituents of District Seven,” Bowman said. He also expects that his constituents “will miss my service” because as a veteran of the school board, he has developed an understanding of how the school board functions.
When the school board districts were rezoned, Bowman saw his residence moved out of District 7 and into District 4.
Bowman had no opportunity to seek election to District Four, which was on the ballot two years ago. “Two years ago I was still sitting in my current post. I could not run for that.”
The rezoning also moves Pournelle’s residence out of District Three and into District Five.
That means that Pournelle’s current seat on the school board will be open in the November election. If he wants to run for he board again, he would have to challenge fellow board member Mary T. Jones.
Pournelle said “more than likely I will.” He said he has enjoyed his 30-plus years as a board member. He takes pride in the fact that “I did what was right, I spoke my mind.”
The redrafting of the district lines, did not effect the possibility of re-election bids for Jones or First District Board Member Charles Murdaugh.
Bowman said he did not give any thought to moving into the rezoned District Seven for a reelection bid.
“That is something that I believe is a very unethical practice that has become very prevalent in our state election process,” Bowman said.
“We have a lot of people who feel like they can misrepresent their residence to run for different seats,” Bowman said “Being the ethical person that I am, I am not going to take part in that kind of process.”
Bowman said he has not heard of anyone considering a run for the school board’s District Seven, which becomes an open seat.
“I’ll be moving on to other ventures,” Bowman said. Not being a member of the Colleton County School Board will give him and his wife, Shelissa, more time to grow BWJ, the consulting business they started in 2013.
“I’ve been going around the state doing consulting work for school boards and the South Carolina Department of Education,” he explained.
Even though he will be losing his school board seat, Bowman said “I won’t totally disconnect myself from the school district.” Not being a member of the school board, he said, “has given me an opportunity to be more vocal as a parent and a constituent.” While on the board, he said there were some topics that he could not address. “I will have more freedom of speech.”
One thing he won’t be doing in the coming months, he added, will be publicly supporting anyone running for his old district.
He points out that he will still be serving on the school district as the election plays out and “as an elected official, I don’t think it is proper to endorse any candidate.”
He said that an elected official publicly endorsing another candidate, “is another of those unethical practices that have become prevalent in local state and national politics. I never thought that was ethical.”