As a retired principal with 38 years in Manatee County district schools, I am stunned by personal attacks on certain school board candidates in published letters, blogs and emails.
These vicious posts are clearly written by political surrogates determined to deflect attention from despicable antics of one or two current board members when the focus should be student performance.
Our state rankings and school grades remain below 2010 district results, the year incumbent board members were elected. We continue to fall below the state average in reading, writing and science.
Last month, the Florida DOE published a list of the lowest performing schools based on this year's reading scores and learning gains. Sadly, 25 percent of our district elementary schools fell within this category and must extend their student day at a financial cost to the district.
I worry about the financial health of the district by the current board, running up a deficit of over $8.6 million on their watch. Audits revealed poor oversight and financial mismanagement.
The Florida Auditor General concluded two-thirds of the 33 shortcomings in the board's report occurred after the superintendent resigned during the budget crisis of 2012.
I speak for former colleagues currently working in our schools who cannot speak up fearing retaliation. They need positive leadership, support and resources from our board.
Voters must decide which candidates have a plan for improving student achievement, restoring financial health, providing resources to classrooms, and creating an environment of trust for all stakeholders.
Re-electing incumbent school board members is simply not an option.