North Myrtle Beach candidates vie for District 1 seat on Horry County school board

A North Myrtle Beach real estate broker is challenging a longtime school board member for the District 1 seat on the Horry County Board of Education.

Holly Heniford will take on incumbent Harvey Eisner for the nomination in the Republican primary on June 10. The winner will represent North Myrtle Beach, as well as portions of Myrtle Beach.

Both candidates are active in the area and have held leadership roles in various groups. Eisner, who was first elected to the school board in 2006, visits schools in all of the district’s nine attendance areas, saying he represents District 1, but also all of Horry County. Heniford emphasizes her five years of service on the Horry County Planning Commission studying growth in the county.

Growth has been an issue for the school board, which has been grappling for three years to approve a building plan that will alleviate overcrowding and keep up with a growing student population without raising taxes or creating a future debt problem. Eisner has urged the board to pick up the pace with projects in areas with severe overcrowding and worked with the site committee in North Myrtle Beach on drawing school attendance lines.

“The school district’s program for new buildings and upgrading others are paramount, not only for growth, but for a need to be competitive with other school districts,” Eisner said.

Heniford’s slogan is “effective and efficient,” and she said she doesn’t see inefficiencies in the district’s building plan, but there are concerns with cost and how things are done. She said she knows how to set goals and find the most effective and efficient ways to reach them, and understands how to work with people to reach solutions.

“I don’t want to criticize until I put my fingers in the pie, but I understand the process,” Heniford said. “There’s not a problem with their goals, but I have an issue with making sure the process of reaching that goal is effective and efficient.”

The candidates have different ideas on the Common Core State Standards — a hot-button topic in the state. The standards have been integrated in the schools, but districts are in limbo now that the state has dropped the Smarter Balanced assessment, and legislation awaits the governor’s signature to scrap the standards altogether.

Eisner said the issue isn’t Common Core, but a need to raise standards so that students will be able to compete in a worldwide economy. Heniford said she does not believe in Common Core, and that standards need to fit the region, not California or other parts of the country. Her main concern, however, is to help students with learning disabilities who need alternate paths to learning, said Heniford, who is dyslexic.

“It takes creative ideas,” she said. “I don’t want them to be left behind.”