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      Some say school board wasted tax dollars in failed superintendent search

      Some residents say the Florence School District One School Board wasn't responsible with tax dollars when it searched for a new superintendent.

      The board began talks of searching for a new leader when Dr. Allie Brooks announced last May he was retiring in June 2014.

      The board hired the South Carolina State School Boards Association (SCSBA) in October to conduct the search.

      The board named three finalists, but failed to agree on which one was best to lead the district of more than 16,000 students.

      It will start its search all over again.

      "We definitely put in a good deal of time. And I would say in to the evenings of deliberations and the overall process itself, I would have to say it was a good, and meaningful and worthwhile project. For a publicly elected board such as ours that had not gone through a superintendent search process for a number of years," said Porter Stewart, FSD1 Board Chairman.

      We asked the district how much money it spent on searching for a new superintendent.

      Our emails to the district were forwarded to SCSBA.

      The SCSBA Executive Director Dr. Paul Krohne issued the following statement regarding the cost of the search:

      "I really haven't even begun to put numbers together. If the district made any direct expenditures related to the search, I wouldn't know about that. They have not paid anything to SCSBA to date. I am not prepared to give you an estimate as to what those eventual charges will be."

      One board member said the charges could add up to more than $16,000.

      Some taxpayers argue board members should be better stewards of tax dollars.

      "Do I think they're responsible. No, it's government the way government operates. There's always a better way to improve what we're doing. It looks like they've spent quite a bit of time and money and it's a shame they haven't gotten anywhere," said Mickey Moss.

      John Cain said, "No they're not. No they're defintitely not. Something really needs to be done about that. So they need to step up to the plate and get it together."

      Chairman Stewart strongly feels the search process was positive and proactive.

      He believes the experience will help in the second search.

      Stewart said in no way was it a waste of tax dollars.

      Stewart explained, "That would be the same thing as saying I thought it was a waste of my personal time. And I'm saying I do not believe that. I believe it was a valuable use of time. Would you hope for a different result? Certainly, you don't want to have to go through the process, but on the other hand do you honestly want to honor the values that you're seeking to develop and project as a community. And that's exceedingly important."

      The district is now tasked with finding an interim superintendent.

      It could promote from within or hire someone outside the district.

      The board isn't sure if it will hire SCSBA to conduct the second search for a superintendent.