Engage in citizenry: Vote for qualified school board

Guest Correspondence

As we enter August, it’s abundantly clear that our region, state and nation have entered the primary election season. Many Americans consider the right to vote to be the most precious of all the treasured rights that we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America. 

The very act of voting demonstrates engagement in citizenry. And of all the important decisions to be made by engaged voters, I can’t think of an election that hits closer to home and carries more long-term impact for our community and its families than the school board election. 

On the upcoming Aug. 23 ballot in Sarasota County, voters will be selecting three of the five school board seats, and although each school board member represents five geographic districts, they are elected countywide.  

In District 1, Dawnyelle Singleton is running against incumbent Bridget Ziegler. Vying to replace Shirley Brown, who is retiring, for the District 4 seat are Robyn Marinelli and Lauren Kurnov. In District 5, Tim Enos and Nora Cietek are running for retiring Jane Goodwin’s seat. 

School board members are responsible for setting policies, approving budgets, adopting rules to implement provisions of state law, prescribing and adopting standards to provide each student the opportunity to receive a complete educational program, and performing duties assigned by Florida Statutes (1001.42) and State Board of Education Rules. They govern through policy as a collective unit and work to create the foundation for students’ academic achievement, while leaving the day-to-day operations of the school district to the Superintendent who serves as the CEO. 

Based on the position that governing effectively can greatly impact the culture of the school district, selecting candidates who can perform these roles and responsibilities is important. School boards who spend their time, energy and effort on supporting the district vision, establishing accountability measures to assess performance, and being a bridge between the community and district by developing relationships with families, the business community, legislators and other stakeholders will help to achieve the district’s goal of “working as one for the success of all.”

Having an informed citizenry that knows the role, responsibilities, and job requirements of a school board member is critical to our students’ success. 

This is an important election, and your vote counts. I encourage all registered voters to take time to learn and understand each candidate’s positions and examine their qualifications to carry out their statutory responsibilities and fulfill their role. Our children and our community deserve our very best.

Note the following important dates from the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections: 

Deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot to be mailed: Sat., Aug 13, 5 p.m.

Early Voting: Sat., Aug. 13-Sun., Aug. 21

Election day: Tues., Aug 23.

Jennifer Vigne is president and CEO of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

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