Lots of questions about city schools

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 3, 2007

To the editor:

Is it me, or am I imagining things? First, our school board renews Dr. Alline Farmer’s contract and two to three months later they said they made a mistake but we the citizens of Franklin have to pay for this mistake by continuing to pay her contract.

Then they hire Mr. Bill Pruett to oversee our school system on an interim basis until they hire another superintendent, and now I find they never even looked for another superintendent.

In February Mr. Pruett signed a two-year contract. In this contract they give him permission to continue working with the superintendent association while working with the school system. We needed a superintendent with experience and they never looked for one. We need a superintendent that gives 100 percent of his time and we get maybe 85 to 90 percent of his time.

We need a superintendent with a vision and plan to correct our problems with proven experience, and we have one with no experience. The school board owes us an answer why they didn’t even look for another superintendent as promised but why we are now in that position that if he leaves that we will still owe him money that takes away needed resources to help educate our kids (another Dr. Farmer situation).

I have also requested and received the salary information on the school board employees. In my opinion there are some out-of-whack salaries, especially in the central office. I call on our school board and each city council member to request this information and compare it to our neighbor school systems.

Concerning the city council, I know you depended on Mr. Bucky Taylor’s staff to review the school board budget, but you need to look at it yourself. You can’t tell the school board how to spend their money, but you sure can hold them accountable. When is the last time you met with the school board and held them accountable for the citizens of Franklin?

Why haven’t SOL scores been announced yet? I have a feeling it is time for the blame game. Also, with a year under your belt, you can’t blame Dr. Farmer for any falling scores. Also, when teachers question what you are doing you just wait until the end of the year and don’t renew their contracts. If some principals or assistant principals have problems, you promote them to central office. How does this make sense and all it creates with the teachers is the fear that if you speak up you will probably be fired. Great system we have.

Our school system has major problems. We need an experienced superintendent giving us 100 percent of his time to get us out of this mess. I call on other citizens to express their opinion and The Tidewater News to look into this problem. We had a chance to look and hire an experienced superintendent and we didn’t and I want to know why. Why does the school board make the same mistakes over and over and never explain what they do?

What is the game plan to correct our school problems? I keep hearing it is going to take time to correct the problems, but time is running out and our patience is running out also.

William Kannan