Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Florence School Board Loses,…

Remarks made by now former school board member Jim Fisher, apparently caused quite a ruckus with the board president, other members and the superintendent. Mr Fisher made some remarks on his facebook page that upset these people. Probably some teachers too. They must be a thin skinned bunch or wear their hearts on their sleeves. Whichever the case, Mr Fisher posted his own thoughts and cares about the Florence school system. He was passionate in his words and shot straight from the hip.

Mr Fisher and I have rarely seen eye to eye on various matters but I have to say Florence City Schools lost a good person that cared more for the schools than just a position he could claim as having served on. While board members are voted on, it is my hope he will return to the ballot one day to try to serve again.

Thanks for your time serving and thanks for your honesty. More people should try that.

Here is Mr Fisher’s remarks that made such a stir,…

My teacher friends. The school board has been maligned in the newspaper through some of the most lopsided editorials and articles that I’ve had the displeasure of reading. We were able to clear up some of that misinformation during the board meeting last night. Perhaps I can do that here as well?

Before I begin, a big thanks to the TimesDaily for putting some excitement back into my (vastly shor...tened, thank you) political career. I’m thankful the newspaper doesn’t run the school system. Demanding mediocre pay for extraordinary leaders will not advance education in our system, TimesDaily!

Yes, I know teachers have not had a raise in years. Welcome to my world. I am amazed that many teachers do not know that their salaries are set by the state, not the local board. I am also a bit disappointed that at least some of our 255 full-time teachers don’t know that the local board (thanks to generous support of the City of Florence) chose to pay them almost 1 million dollars per year above the state salary schedule. We don’t have to do that, ya know. Many school systems in the state are dropping that supplement. Our system long ago decided not to participate in proration and your superintendent and your board will continue to fight to keep your supplement in place despite the troubles the rest of the state is facing.

Unlike other systems, we found ways to continue to provide teachers with supply money when most teachers in this state had zero. We furnished you with iPads (yay!) and even gave you a cash bonus last year. Oh, and not a single one of our teachers is drawing unemployment because of the Great Recession. So many teachers in this state can’t say that. You’re welcome teachers! We love you, too!

Would you believe that between 2006 and 2010, the amount of grants, donations and award money to our schools totaled $161,000 dollars? That would be awesome if not for the fact that Dr. Womack has raised close to $800,000 bucks in just two years. Even that amount will pale in comparison to what is to come. Our CFO/Assistant Superintendent has saved our system hundreds of thousands of dollars through expert bond renegotiations and other innovative cost saving measures. Keep this between you and me, please. Academia pays very good money for people who can raise that kind of money.

Lastly, before I was elected 4 years ago, I vowed to find a “superstar” superintendent. Yes, teachers are the backbone of our school but leadership sets their course. Extraordinary leadership will change lives. I (and the rest of our board) will continue to settle for no less than the best for our students and teachers.


He spoke the truth,…… Wake up Florence City Schools.


  1. I've seen very few comments from those who don't support Jim...and most of those negatives came from outside the school district.

    Many of us have a profession and we know the salary range before we enter it. If we're unhappy, we may move to another geographic area or engage in a second career. I've chosen the latter. Does that mean I don't want my profession to be appreciated and paid accordingly? No; it simply means I'm aware of the reality of the situation.

    Thanks again, Jim, for serving our city and serving it well.