I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

16 Months Part IV: The Finish Line....

Sixteen months and 1 day ago I announced my intention to leave the school board and run for a position on the Escambia County Commission.  Today is zero hour, we've reached the finish line.

While I am very excited about the challenges that lie ahead, I am also amazed at the way time flies...  Walking to nearly 9,000 homes personally in this campaign and meeting all kinds of people in all kinds of places--I have developed an even stronger appreciation for our community.  We are a community of good people that care deeply about our neighborhoods.

I was humbled to receive the nod in the August primary election, and I feel very confident about my chances to win tonight's contest.

Looking forward, we have big challenges in the county that we must confront:  OLF 8, rebuilding the jail, figuring out how to fix gridlocked traffic on the beach, and addressing numerous infrastructure challenges county-wide--not to mention setting budgets that never seem large enough to handle the needs that exist.  I look forward to helping solve these issues with my fellow commissioners and the county staff starting on November 22nd..

Looking backward, our schools face tremendous challenges as well, many of which are self-inflicted, many of which are not our fault and come to us from the community we serve.  While we have done some great things of which I am very proud over the last ten years--  I lament the fact that I have not been able to move the needle more significantly on some other very important things, including:

1.  Strict and equally applied enforcement of discipline policies, and curbing bullying and abusive behavior by students against other students and staff that persists.
2.  Reducing the amount of district-driven standardized testing.
3.  Reducing the massive and overly burdensome "box-checking" and other mandates foisted on classroom teachers from the district administration.
4.  Seriously discussing and dealing with declining enrollments in our system.
5.  Seriously discussing and addressing Staff Churn ( and bargaining location pay for teachers in schools with high levels of social dysfunction)
6.  Moving into the 21st Century and modernizing our District's Structure to include Appointing our Superintendent of Schools like 99.4% of our nation's public school districts already do.

But hopefully these items can be addressed effectively by future boards going forward.

There will always be challenges to address whether we are talking about County or City or School District Bureaucracy,  I simply want to do the best I can for taxpayers and citizens wherever I end up, and this is what I have tried to do over the last 10 years as a school board member.

Now that I have reached the finish line, and if I am elected tonight, this is what I will continue to do as a County Commissioner.

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