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Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Senator Don Gaetz Receives the FCSBM Fighting for Kids Award: Reasonable Accountability
Left to Right Judge Gary Bergosh, Senate President (2012-2014) Don Gaetz, FCSBM Immediate Past President Jeff Bergosh, FCSBM CEO Shawn Frost, and Escambia County School Board District 1 Candidate Kevin Adams
Senator Don Gaetz was honored tonight in Pensacola by the conservative, non-partisan Florida Coalition of School Board Members.
His work in the Senate for the last 10 years has has been legendary, and his record of support for public education and education reform has been rock-solid. The 2016 session brought several profound education related bills, and many were passed with the key leadership and effort of Senator Gaetz.
"For his bold and vigorous support of rigorous alternative assessments, Senator Don Gaetz has been awarded the Fighting for Kids Award: Core Value- Reasonable Accountability. SB 1360, Which Senator Gaetz sponsored, would have allowed districts to choose either the Florida Standards Assessment or select from a menu of nationally recognized, rigorous alternative assessments in its place. We salute Senator Gaetz for beginning the conversation about needed reforms to preserve Florida's groundbreaking accountability system. Congratulations on your many legislative successes this session, especially those engrossed HB7029. Thank you for treating us as partners and for living by the FCSBM motto of being Relentlessly Dedicated to Student Success"
President Gaetz took time to participate in a subsequent round table discussion with a small group of local education stakeholders. The discussions were very enlightening, and he took time to discuss in detail his take on the most important education-related legislation that passed in 2016, while also describing the reasons why SB 1360 could not get through the House in 2016. Gaetz expressed optimism about next session and the leadership that will be in place in 2017.
One of the lighter moments of the evening came when Gaetz spoke of his time on the Okaloosa County School Board, describing the fact that he was often on the bottom of 4-1 and 3-2 votes. "I'm still very close friends with the school board members with which I served-even though we didn't always see things eye to eye" Gaetz pointed out.
The group thanked Senator Gaetz for his service and for all he has done for education in the state of Florida. When asked about what he plans to do now that his time in public service is coming to a close, Gaetz said "It's been quite awhile since my Wife and I had a vacation, so we will be taking one after this election ends--we have someone close to us that is running quite a race right now as I'm sure you all are aware."
Read more about the Florida Coalition of School Board Members here, and read about all of the other 2016 Legislative Award recipients here