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Palm Coast Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018 2 years ago

Candidate: Speed Campaigning was ‘pretty dumb,’ so here are my real answers

Paul Anderson: 'Aren't the Flagler County voters tired of all this nonsense?'
by: Guest Writer

Paul Anderson

Guest Writer

Leave it to the Palm Coast Observer’s Editorial Board to make "average" a bad thing and a potential $1 million real estate loss "fiscally responsible.” You just can't make this up!

They gave a laundry list of unethical behavior by Joe Mullins, yet picked him because Nate McLaughlin didn't participate in Speed Campaigning?

Then again, picked Abby Romaine because Greg Hansen didn't participate?

Aren't the Flagler County voters tired of all this nonsense?

I know this: Average knowledge provided me a successful career in retail management and loss prevention, security and surveillance, and now my own business in home technology. Average knowledge also helped me get my Florida Low Voltage Electrical Contractors License. So average knowledge has worked quite well for me and a lot of other people, thank you very much! 

So before I'll believe that Flagler County voters will let these elitist "unnamed sources" tell them who to vote for, I trust that they all will do their own homework!

For the readers' sake, here are the questions presented to all School Board candidates, and, as you can see, no other explanations were accepted. Well, I think that was pretty dumb, so here is why I answered the way I did for each question (on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means you completely disagree, and 10 means you completely agree):

The school district is doing a good job of handling bullying.

A: 2. I'm not hearing that the district is doing a good job handling bullying. As a matter of fact, some are saying the environment is worse now than it was when we learned about Ashley Stuart's difficult experience with bullying. We should have ensured that another incident like that couldn't happen. We are failing our students.

The School Board should have voted to sell the Corporate Drive property for the offer of $2.5 million.

A: 1. Why would I ever agree to a $1 million real estate loss to the school district? For that manner, why would anybody else? We overpaid for that piece of property, so it is worth more to us as a location for expansion. Perhaps we could look at another one of the district's real estate holdings that we didn't take a bath on and sell that in order to make up for previous blunders of our School Board and its legal counsel.

James Tager is doing a great job as superintendent of Flagler Schools.

A: 2. I ask, what "great" things can be attributed to Mr. Tager? The graduation rate went up 7/10 of 1%, and we remained a "B." If anyone could tell me what great things James Tager has done, the voters haven't told me up to this point! I had great hopes for Mr. Tager, but he has yet to live up to my expectations.

Flagler teachers are paid well.

A: 5. Our starting salary for Flagler County teachers is higher than both Volusia and St. John's counties’ salaries. Where we fail is incentivizing our teachers to exceed expectations. Whether you are a professional contract employee or an annual contract employee, your incentive to exceed expectations is 25 cents. Yes, boys and girls, you heard right. According to the 2018-2019 agreement, you get an additional $600.75 for an “effective evaluation.” If you get a “highly effective evaluation,” you get a whopping $601, or an extra 25 cents. What idiot thought that up?

The district is doing a good job of serving students with special needs.

A: 2. When parents and teachers stop telling me that we are breaking the law with regards to our Exceptional Student Education program, then this number will change. If we fail one, we fail them all, but I'm telling you we are failing many. But nobody at the GSB seems to see the severity of the problem. The only time we'll know there's something going wrong is when the lawsuits start being filed. I want it fixed before we get to that point, but there are many parents who feel they are at the end of their rope.

The school district should pay to add metal detectors at school entrances.

A: 1. This is an emphatic no. Anybody who has ever gone to Disney World or Universal Studios knows this isn't going to work. I worked at Orlando International Airport for five years with security clearance that allowed me access that most people don't get. For example, I had tarmac access to drive a company vehicle where the planes are, without escort. There are at least a dozen other security measures we can employ without the invasiveness of metal detectors. We have many security professionals locally that we could consult for the right level of security for our schools.

More charter schools would benefit the Flagler County school district.

A: 1. What would benefit the Flagler County School District is to eliminate the need for charter schools. Until we fix what's broken with our public school systems, we are unfortunately going to continue to need charter schools to fill those spaces that we are continually failing to fix.

Students in Flagler Schools are required to use electronic devices too much.

A: 1. Anyone who says that this statement is true, has, quite frankly, no idea what they're talking about. They surely don't go into enough classrooms to actually know how technology is deployed in Flagler County — especially any School Board member, because they mostly only go on preplanned, organized "field trips" to the schools that give them a staged impression of how the school day develops on any given day. What would give a better understanding would be to volunteer in individual classrooms among many different schools to get an understanding how we use technology in Flagler County Schools. The bigger problem is technology use at home, but we don't have jurisdiction over that. You would be surprised to know that the actual amount of time that students could spend on devices in school is less than 2.5 hours combined, in any given day. How much technology is actually used depends on how the day is going.

Paul Anderson is a candidate for Flagler County School Board, District 4.

Editor’s Note: In response to your question about the 25-cent bonus for being highly effective, Flagler Schools spokesman Jason Wheeler provided this information: “As with any pay issues within the district, this was collectively bargained with the Flagler County Educators Association, and the scale was formed with their input. When you look at the state's Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship program, you'll find ‘effective’ teachers received an extra $800 while those classified as ‘highly effective’ received an extra $1,200, so there is an incentive for teachers to strive for the ‘highly effective’ designation.”

Also, with regard to the complaints from parents of ESE students, the district reports that there have been three complaints in the past three years.

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