Seven candidates running for seats on the Manatee County School Board spoke about some of the top issues facing the school district during a luncheon Friday.
Sponsored by the Women of Manatee County Republican Club, the lnch featured District 1 candidates Xtavia Bailey, Gina Messenger and Linda Schaich; District 3 candidates Charlie Conoley, incumbent Dave Miner and Misty Servia; and District 5 candidate John Colon, who is running unopposed.
While the school board is a nonpartisan race, only Republican candidates were invited to speak.
During the hour-long luncheon, each candidate spoke for two minutes, introducing themselves, followed by responses to questions on a series of issues.
Removal of the caveat linking the sales tax to impact fees
Bailey: “They should have got it right the first time. The first time they should have made the best decision.”
Messenger: “I think we made the right decision with reversing it. It tells you that it took them a little while, but at least they listened to the community.”
Schaich: “I’ve been fighting for this for six months.”
Conoley: “I have to support sales tax, but I cannot support the impact fees because that is a negative tax.”
Miner: “We are behind meeting the capital needs of our school district.”
Servia: “We need to get it right the first time. We look at needs of overall community. We develop a plan of action and analyze how we do it.”
Colon: “It is important to remember that you listen, you analyze, you make decisions. If you make the wrong decision, be big enough to change it.”
Challenges facing the school district
Bailey: “We need to make sure we are retaining these teachers. We also have to make sure our students are reading on grade level. Our students are behind.”
Messenger: “Education, to me, is the biggest issue in this county.”
Schaich: “That’s where we need to be working on getting the finances right so we can actually get the money to the district.”
Conoley: “We have to be responsible managers of our money. There are a lot of issues but it all comes back to the money.”
Miner: “I have always felt that trust is fundamental in an organization. We are on a road of building trust.”
Servia: “The biggest challenge that our community has is the shattered trust of our school board. It has been shattered. It has been shattered for years.”
Colon: “We are refinancing the bonds we have, and that will save us millions of dollars.”