Resident has faith that school board will make right choice

Published 10:21 am Saturday, March 1, 2014

[Editor’s note: The following was read by Joseph Stutts at the Thursday public hearing before the Franklin City School Board.]

Honorable chairlady and honorable members of the Board: I have called the Franklin community home for 80 years. I was raised by a single parent after the death of my father and graduated from Franklin High School as did my four children, one of whom now serves you as sheriff. We find ourselves in a far different time from when I, and they, were in these schools.

I believe we find ourselves at a turning point for Franklin, one with great opportunities and, indeed, with dangers. You have committed yourselves to serve the children and the future of Franklin. You have offered yourselves to serve not for popularity or glory, for there will be little of that, but for duty. You accepted this duty as part of becoming a member of this Board. Now it is your choice and duty to select new administrative leadership for our schools. You are passing through a difficult and somewhat unpleasant time, but this challenge is part of what you have chosen. I am certain that while you may not all agree, you will work together as a board to leave behind the darkness of failure and bring our schools and our children to shining success.

We in this community, and you, I believe, do not search for a white administrator, or a black administrator, but for the best administrator. One who will be a part of Franklin, a recognized, articulate leader who will communicate with the community, and who will earn the trust of us all.

I have used the word “community” several times and with good reason. To be a divided city cripples us. We have lost much and must achieve much to provide more jobs for the future. What you do is vital to that achievement – for all our citizens.

History will look at your choice. In the future there will be times when you must vote not for what is easy nor for what is currently popular, but for what is right – and vote you must. We are blessed with a good City government.

Now the responsibility you assumed lies with you. I know you want the best, and that is what we expect. I know you want to lead the educational system of this community so that we will become all that we can be.

I am convinced that you will do your very best, and my faith and the faith of all of us is in your hands.

Thank you.

Joseph Stutts