Gillespie: ‘Whole system is broken’

By Ben Robinson
Staff Reporter


EASLEY — In his last meeting, Jimmy Gillespie was rushed in his final remarks as a member of the Pickens County School Board on Monday night.

Council member Judy Edwards tried to motion that Gillespie’s speech be cut off after several minutes, but the motion failed on a 4-2 vote.

“I’m not a very good public speaker; not enough people hate me yet,” Gillespie said as he addressed the crowd in attendance at the end of the meeting, “So I guess I will see what I can do about that.

“I’ve heard people say we’ve taken prayer out of schools, but we can’t do that. Students can pray to whomever they want to. That’s one of the basic rights that this country was founded on. It’s really not a school’s responsibility to educate students on religious beliefs. It’s a church’s duty. And it’s a parent’s duty.”

Gillespie, who decided not to seek reelection in next week’s general election, said one of the candidates vying for his seat said it’s been hard for Gillespie.

“I’ve been thrown out of places a lot classier than this,” Gillespie said. “I knew what I was coming into when I took this job.”

Gillespie said often education is used as a tool to give to the rich and control the poor.

“The board has its problems, but so does the district,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie said much of the district’s budget is salaries.

“When everybody was gung ho to build new schools, there were some of us who said ‘If you do, there won’t be money for other things,” he said. “One of those things turned out to be two STEP increases for teachers.

“Everybody is complaining about the revenue. But everybody is getting exactly what they asked for. They said we want new schools.”

“This whole system is broken,” Gillespie said. “I wish it wasn’t.”