Maintain honesty, and integrity in every action I take as a Board member is non negotiable. Participating in open dialog and respectful relationships with fellow Board members, school employees as well as parents and students. As a former Pinellas County Parent of three graduates, and now grandmother of 4 current Pinellas County students, I am invested in supporting our public school system. Having good connections with students, parents, staff and community partners is vital for student success. If you would to reach out to me, please click contact me and send me an email. I would love to talk to you and hear your views for our schools future!
I take culture and diversity very seriously. Understanding that our country is a beautiful mixture of many cultures and styles, it is important for us to see the benefit that we all can share from learning from one another. The word GAP needs to be non existent in our schools. Easier said than done, however, we need to take a serious hard look on how we can improve with the graduation rate, student achievement, disciplinary treatment, access to Advanced Placement, and Special Education foundation testing and placement. Florida is one of the most diverse states in the country but yet we still functions with gaps in our system between, our white, non-white, and exceptional needs students. We do not succeed as a district unless ALL of our students succeed. As board member we serve EVERY student. If you cannot do that you cannot serve on this board!
Understanding the allocations of an over $1.6 billion dollar budget is a huge undertaking. Where does the money come from? Where does it all go? Are we as a district allocating enough to the right areas? Can adjustments be made to help better serve our students? Are we gaining every available resource of funding from the state and federal funds? Our districts funding is different than how we do our personal budget at home. As a board member I want to have more communication of the process of our budget and a better understanding for all stakeholders of the legislative process and allocation of funds. Florida is in the top 5 states that provide revenue to the Federal Government, but yet we are in the bottom five in the receipt of Federal Government funds. Why is that? The only acceptable budgetary decisions that are made are or the best interest of the students and their success.
The backbone of our district are the employees. Recruitment, retention, communication, and support are vital for all of the roles in the schools. As a school Board member we represent the entire county, not just the district in which we were elected. I have had the honor of my children attending 5 different Pinellas County Schools. I have met staff, and parents from all locations. It's important to me that our staff feels energized, hopeful, and inspired in their position within the district. I would like to review not only the monetary compensation of our staff, but also community supports that may also be available.
As a board member I would love to pay our educators what any professional athlete would make in a year! Unfortunately that is not what we are given from our state budget to allocate for salaries. Fighting for more with legislature for our worthy educators and being a more prominent voice should be one of our most dominant missions. Paying our support staff based on area inflation, and adequate pay for Transportation staff is vital for our growth as a district.
Health and safety issues are extremely important if not the most important issues for our children. As Pinellas County school employees, we are responsible for over 100,000 students in our district. Providing healthy meal choices, having safe and protected site locations, and safe transportation is crucial for Pinellas kids. The last 2 years have been exceptionally trying for health and safety with the onset of Covid. I promise you I do have your children's best interest at heart and I am always open to hearing your views on this matter.
For me personally I am not a fan of teaching to a test. Not every child learns the same, and some do not test well. I believe that success should be based on improvement of each individual child and not a test score. Public Schools have lost what we had where we taught basic life skills. We say we are preparing them for their future, but are we? Our students may graduate from an A school but can they balance a bank account? Do they understand how to balance a budget on a monthly or bi weekly basis. Do they understand health insurance and what is required of them by law or how to fill out their W-2 when they get a job? We spend countless instructional hours teaching students information that they will only ever see or use on a test but will never utilize in real life. We need to get the basics back in education.