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Palm Coast Tuesday, Mar. 22, 2022 6 months ago

Three candidates — but not Janet McDonald — in race for School Board's District 2

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Incumbent Janet McDonald is not planning to seek another term, for now.
by: Brent Woronoff Associate Editor

Three candidates have filed for the School Board District 2 seat that is currently held by Janet McDonald.

McDonald said she hasn't ruled out running for another term, but she said she is encouraged that there is a strong candidate in the race now and would step down. Candidate qualifying closes on June 17.

Two of the candidates who have filed, Lance Alred and Will Furry, filed in the past two months, while Courtney VandeBunte filed last June.

VandeBunte is a former Flagler County public school teacher, who took a break from teaching in 2017 to focus on her young family. Rather than return to the classroom, she said she thought she could make a larger impact on education as a School Board member.

“Education has always been a passion of mine. Being a parent, an educator and a community member will allow me to make a positive impact on our schools,” she said. “I worked at Marineland for a year as an education coordinator, but I preferred the public-school classroom, working with teachers and parents to make a better learning environment for our children.”

Two of the candidates, Lance Alred and Will Furry, filed in the past two months, while Courtney VandeBunte filed last June.

Her main goal, she said, is to bring unity back to the community after the pandemic and other issues pitted parents against each other.

“Both sides came together to support (school) impact fees,” she said. “We all want to bring a great learning environment to the classroom.”

VandeBunte campaign contributions have totaled $6,539, and her expenses have totaled $5,234.36.

Alred filed in mid-January. He was a homebuilder in Atlanta for 11 years before the recession hit and then served six tours, totaling almost three years, in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor for the Department of Defense overseeing off-base construction.

Education has always been important to Alred. His father has been a teacher and coach in Palatka for 37 years. His mother is a retired guidance counselor and coach. And his wife, Brandie, is a teacher and the girls golf coach at Matanzas High School.

Alred, who owns a concrete pumping company, wrestled in high school and college and was a volunteer wrestling coach for 20 years. He is an elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

He said athletics and other extracurricular activities can be a “force multiplier” for students. He said he would also like to see schools focus more on math and science and critical thinking skills.

Alred’s contributions of $2,200 have come from a personal loan. He had no expenses as of March 22.

Furry filed on Feb. 22. He is a realtor and entrepreneur and has two children who attend Old Kings Elementary School.

“After seeing school boards' questionable decision making, I decided to step up and get a seat at the table for my kids and all the kids in Flagler County,” he said.

For the past four years he has been a group leader in the middle school youth ministry at Epic Church. And he is a member of a local mission team that meets monthly to serve the needs in the community. He has also made several trips to Central America on humanitarian/medical missions.

Of Furry’s $6,300 in contributions, $5,000 has come from a personal loan. He’s had no expenditures.

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