FYN will be running a series of interviews with local candidates from the county commissioners and school board races. Each interview will be published separately and run again before the primary elections May 20.Dan Fincher, Incumbent, Pickens County School Board Post 5
Dan Fincher didn’t anticipate he’d be involved in the school system as a board member when he was focusing on his veterinary degree in 1964. But after stints in a boy’s school, the Air Force and a lengthy career caring for animals, he’s found himself wanting to encourage students to reach their full potential.
The family man boasts of two sons (one deceased due to cancer), six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His devotion to family has also played a part in his dedication to the kids of Pickens County. Seeking re-election in November to school board Post 5, he faces opposition in the May 20 primary in the form of Delane Lewis.
With the primaries looming, Fincher sat down with FYN to answer questions for the voters.
Why do you feel qualified to be a school board member? What skills do you bring to the job?
“I desire to see educational standards raised to the highest level…Technology is one of the most important things we’re dealing with. I want our kids in this system to be prepared whether they’re going to college or tech school or the work force. Technology is very important for them.”
He cites his educational opportunities as broadening his horizons as to what’s important for children today. He humbly stated,
“I don’t know that I have any specific qualifications to be on the school board. What are the qualifications for being a school board member other than interest and what’s happening in education? It’s a pay back program to me. I helped educate my own children, grandchildren and they’ve done well. All children should have the opportunity to do well.”
What are your five-year goals for the school system? 10-year goals?
“When one other board member and I was elected four years ago we went over and talked to an attorney in Gainesville who represents the state school board. He looked at me and asked ‘what do you want in Pickens County?’ I said, ‘To be number one in the state’ and that’s still my objective. We may never get there but if we as a school board don’t shoot for that we’ll never get there. That’s why I’m here. I want there to be better educators, better students. Those students can only be better if they have the best of teachers,”
What is the biggest problem facing the district:
Without hesitation he answered finances.
“I know all school systems are facing the same problems today with lack of funds from the state and federal government. Moneys being taken away from us but we’ve got to try to do the best we can. Ten to 15 years ago the state provided Pickens County 55 perent of their budget and the county provided 45 percent. Today that’s reversed. Over the past years the school board has lost $20 millon.”
“We’ve been very fortunate that we haven’t furloughed any teachers and in this system we’re still going 180 days. Some other counties have had furloughs and taken days from the students. To me, when you cheat a child of a day of education, you cheat a child of a better education.”
What does being involved in childrens lives mean to you?
“When I ran for school board four years ago I didn’t know I had the desire to serve children as much as I realize now. To know that in the last four years we’ve given them a better opportunity than previously. Not that it’s a pat on our back but each time you get a new group of board members in you get new ideas, new ways to improve.”
He further stated that any new idea isn’t any good until at least two more board members agree to then be voted upon and either be passed or rejected. Then it can become a reality once that additional input is harvested.
“If there’s a good idea to be developed in the school system then you have a better school system. I want to get my ideas out there so I ask people to vote for me. With four years’ experience under my belt, I want to continue.”