Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Thursday, August 14, 2014
School board District 5

1) "It takes being the right person who is not part of the problem, who is outside of the box and not afraid to tackle hard questions to produce the right answers. My fellow candidates are too close as retirees from education and bring nothing fresh to the status quo but biased perspective from their myopic experience. I am a 49-year-old family man with a young son starting fourth grade this coming week. I have every reason for education to succeed with the tenacity of a parent to stop the slide further. This will only worsen under either of the other candidates who support Florida Standards or Common Core by any other name which is a dumbing down to create a parity, not a raised-bar standard of excellence our children need and deserve! I am also the only candidate vocalizing a need to include the choice of the recognized gold standard of "International Baccalaureate" in every grade year running alongside to offer students a real choice in this competitive world! This would offer the students of Monroe the appropriate challenge to raise their falling morale and grades."

2) "It saddens me to be four years on from the last election yet still mulling over the same points. This is a clear indication the school board, as is, is completely stagnated. (Plantation Key School) was due for replacement years ago, plans were drawn yet not moved forward with. If the board is going to misuse funding and not moving ahead with these vital projects then they are definitely part of the problem and should be removed. The incumbent has had his shot but we see from this a business-as-usual attitude that is a disservice to the lifeblood of this nation. The children are the very future and greatest resource being squandered in Monroe County as we slide from eighth to 23rd in the state! We have the opportunity here to do a fine thing and be the envy and blueprint the rest of Florida talks about and wants to emulate. That is why I ask you at this time to vote for me: Richard Bradley in the coming elections for school board District 5 where I will make a difference!"

1) "I would expect the superintendent and staff to further deaggregate the scores for each school and child to see where the deficiencies lie. I would encourage staff to make sure that we had a suitable number of reading and math specialists in our schools, that teacher in-service be utilized to encourage teachers at every grade level in every discipline to obtain a reading endorsement, and that a substantial number of instructional staff also be ESOL-endorsed. It takes every educator, working collectively, to elevate a C- or D-rated school. Quality leadership at each school is essential in setting the tone, defining deficiencies, developing a plan, implementing said plan, and evaluating and revising results. Data will drive creative discussions and planning at each low-achieving school or any school for that matter. When you combine administration, instructional/non-instructional and support staff with students and parents in a meaningful approach to achieving success, it is very powerful. Sometimes it is the simple things that need revision and other times a major overhaul is necessary. Curriculum specialists can clearly define areas that need improvement. It is highly diagnostic/prescriptive. Additionally, low-achieving schools in Key West might benefit from the addition of relevant magnet programs. The school board can also support a charter school concept within the existing school system. As a school board member, I can ask for information, suggest possible solutions and support viable ideas. What I will not do is micromanage the school system from a school board seat."

2) "Plantation Key School and Gerald Adams are in need of new or vastly improved campuses. Switlik in Marathon needs a combination of remodeling and replacement. The obvious source of revenue is the continuation of the one-half cent sales tax. That will produce an estimated $15 million per year for a 10-year period. The voters will support such an extension if they believe that we can do a first-rate job of administering these funds properly, producing a finished product that is built with quality and design integrity that supports curriculum. As a board member, I would monitor this process very carefully. We do not want to rush into any of these major projects without proper planning, justification of design and serious cost analysis. Our bid process should contain strict guidelines and penalties for noncompliance with specs and construction calendars. The school board has the prerogative to review every stage of construction, and certainly all change orders. I would expect to be kept in the loop throughout the entire process. As I favor a central district administrative center in Marathon, we might want to look at any new construction to see if central offices can also be accommodated on a third floor. Just a thought."

Martin didn't respond to emailed questions but is on record as being supportive of Superintendent Mark Porter's administration and the status quo.

"Things are going in the right direction in this school district," he said in April. "My hope is to continue in this direction for the next four years."

tschmida@keysnews.com

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