Two School Board seats up for grabs on August 30th.
The time for action has come.
The opportunity to do something great for our schools and our children’s education is right in front of us. Let us not allow this one to slip through our fingers. I drive through the traffic circle at California and Peacock about 6 or 8 times a week. I have been watching the new Somerset Prep school that is under construction, and I smile, knowing that the readers of this blog played a part in making that happen. Whether it was filling City Hall, filling the school district meeting, writing emails, making phone calls, YOU made it happen. It is a testament to what good people can do when they join forces. For a quick refresher, Somerset College Preparatory Academy, a highly rated charter high school wanted to expand to include middle school. After clearing numerous hurdles with the city, Somerset Prep was stonewalled by the School Board. Given a list of demands which Somerset complied with the School Board once again said, ‘No.’ Somerset took their case to the State Dept of Education and won the right to open a middle school. (Dreams Denied) I will quote from that piece. Your votes put them in office; your votes can remove them. Our school board elections will be August 30th. Do not wait for November, by then it will be too late. On your primary ballot, there will be two elections you need to pay attention to; both are for school board. They have district numbers, but you can disregard those. Regardless of where you live in St Lucie County, these elections will be open to you. Kathrine Hensley and Carol Hilson are the incumbents and have been fixtures (like a lamp post or fire hydrant) on the school board for 20 and 16 years respectively.
Thirty-six years combined and what exactly do we have to show for it?
- This year the school district has been downgraded from a B to a C.
- We have two double F schools. That is where a school rated F last year is rated F again this year.
- We have gone from 20 A rated schools in 2010 to only 2 A rated district schools this year.
- Our high school graduation rate is below the state average.
- We are ranked 47 out of 67 school districts.
- The St Lucie Economic Development Council just came out with their strategic plan. POOR SCHOOL RATINGS was number 2 on the list of weaknesses.
Our schools are in decline, and we risk further decline with the ‘culture of complacency’ that exists on the school board. What do the incumbents have to say about this? Well, in TC Palm’s Ask the Candidates. Hensley is very proud of the 1% drop out rate in the district. Wait a moment; I just said that our high school graduation rate is below the state average. Our graduation rate is at 75%; Hensley celebrates our drop out rate at 1%. What am I missing here? Where did the other 24% go? Hensley also proudly mentioned that St Lucie School District received The Seal of Best Practices from OPPAGA (Office of Public Policy and Government Accountability). That is great, except that the award is from 2004 and OPPAGA stopped giving out awards in 2005, over a decade ago. Let’s start living in and dealing with the present. Hensley also lists the over 30 boards and groups she proudly sits on. That is quite a lot of lunches and cocktail parties. How can she be an asset to any organization being spread so thin? Not when our children are at risk. Not when our kids find themselves on the short end of a widening skills gap. Showing up and being a rubber stamp for the administration is not the job description. Hilson has raised taxes to give bonuses to administrators while doing nothing to improve education. Hilson is opposed to the public being heard at school board meetings, moving the public portion to the end of the meeting, turning off the microphones and the video cameras to quash any dissenting opinions. She has done little to nothing in the past 16 years to improve the state of education in St Lucie.
HILSON AND HENSLEY NEED TO BE VOTED OUT OF OFFICE. THEY NEED TO BE SHOWN THE DOOR, AND THE REST OF THE SCHOOL BOARD NEEDS TO BE PUT ON NOTICE THAT THEIR TICKET COULD BE PUNCHED TWO YEARS FROM NOW.
Your Vote is Your Voice. Be Heard.
It is time, way past time to make a difference. To stand up to the entrenched politicians that have kept this county down for too long. We have little control over the Board of Education in Tallahassee and even less over the one in Washington, but we surely have control over what goes on in our backyard. The time for action is now. The two challengers, Jennifer Richardson and Kacey Cooper-Armstrong, need your support. They could use your donations; they could use your volunteer time. They need your vote. They need the vote of your friends and family. The vote of your next door neighbor and the guy down the block that just moved in. They need you to light up the phone lines, your Twitter accounts, your FaceBook pages. They need an army of parents, grandparents, concerned citizens and businesses behind them. We fight the political elite. We fight those determined to keep the status quo. We need to fight and win. Visit RichardsonForSLCSchoolBoard.com and KaceyCooperArmstrong.org