FLORENCE — City school board member Jim Fisher has resigned effective immediately, citing education-related comments he made recently on a social web site.
Fisher submitted a letter of resignation to the school board Friday evening. In the letter he said he had "made a grave mistake in publishing some views on education in a public forum."
Fisher, who has served one term on the board, said his statements were not meant to be hurtful, but that they'd done irreparable damage to the school system.
"The success of the students in our system is of far greater importance than any one person," he wrote. "The school board holds our employees to high standards of conduct. I hold myself to that same standard. So it is without hesitation that I tender my resignation from the board effective immediately."
Fisher's comments on that site were referring to a recent article and subsequent editorial in the TimesDaily regarding the school board's recently approved $22,000 raise for Superintendent Janet Womack.
In defending the raise, Fisher touted the pay of the Florence system's full-time teachers as above the state salary matrix because of local tax support, and reminded teachers that they received a (one-time) cash bonus last year and none lost their jobs.
School board President Bill Jordan said Fisher's statement in his letter of resignation can stand on its own, adding, "I think he did the best thing for the district as a whole," referring to Fisher's decision to resign.
"Everybody makes mistakes, and he's holding himself responsible," Jordan said.
On Thursday, Jordan sent a mass email to all district employees to clarify the board's views regarding Fisher's Facebook post.
He said he, the other board members and Womack do not agree with Fisher's sentiments or his "negative comments about teachers."
Jordan said the contributions of the system's teachers and employees should never be denigrated. "We apologize that one board member's personal views have been portrayed as the voice of the whole. This is not acceptable."
Fisher told the TimesDaily on Saturday that he hopes his resignation will help heal any wounds his comments caused, saying the Facebook post was regretful and "caused a dark cloud over the system for which I'm sorry."
"I thought I was a pretty good board member, but I suck at being a politician," Fisher said. "I'm still an advocate for public education. I am impassioned about education and I can see myself one day running (for the school board seat) again."
Because Fisher was just beginning his second term, the appointment for his replacement will be for four years. A meeting has been called at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the central office to discuss the matter.
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.