Linden Wants Change in School Priorities

Politics

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY JUL 9, 2018

Science teacher Richard Linden wants to see changes in the Sarasota County schools, and sees problems with spending, security and morale with the status quo. “Overall, it has felt to me as though student education and school security have not been the top spending priorities of this superintendent,” he says.

If elected to the School Board, Linden says he would do more to retain teachers in Sarasota. A long-time substitute who served as chemistry teacher at Venice High for months, he sees a deficit in enthusiasm among faculty in the district. “Teachers are being evaluated using an illogical system that is demoralizing, especially to excellent, veteran teachers,” Linden says. “During 2017, it was decided by the school district to expand the impact of this system on teacher compensation. This will likely result in many great teachers either retiring earlier than would have otherwise happened or relocating to other districts.”

Regarding school security, he thinks the district has made a mistake creating its own police force. “Rather, the district should work with local law enforcement agencies (the sheriff's office and the police departments in Sarasota, Venice and North Port) so that they provide the trained staff and the school district pays them for it,” he says. That Superintendent Todd Bowden would want to save money with this course shows a mismanagement of priorities, Linden says.

He’s completely opposed to vouchers being issued to students that can be used to pay for private schools, he says. But in evaluating new charter applications, he would research every proposal individually, including with campus visits to facilities run by applicants when possible.

Linden faces three opponents—Pamela Gavette, Jane Goodwin and Justin Cody Willis—in the Aug. 28 election. A runoff, if needed, is scheduled for Nov. 6.

Photo courtesy Linden campaign: Linden in the classroom.

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