School Board Candidate Answers To Questionnaire

votebutton.jpgMarions United and the Education Task Force presented candidates for Marion County School Board with a questionnaire and here are their responses. Each candidate was given a period of time to respond, and those candidates who responded are posted below.

Marions United and the Education Task Force presented candidates for Marion County School Board with a questionnaire and here are their responses. Each candidate was given a period of time to respond, and those candidates who responded are posted below.

Woody Clymer and Nancy Stacy are running for School Board, District 1.

Robert Dobkowski and Carol Ely are running for School Board, District 2.

1. What specific actions can you take to influence decision-making by FL State Legislators and ensure that funding of education becomes a state priority?

Woody Clymer

I would form a working relationship with our district State representatives in order to frequently share our concerns. I would arrange for our representatives to visit local schools, speak with those in the trenches and our students.  It is impossible for one to truly understand unless you actually see and/or hear it.  I would also hold Town Hall Meetings throughout Marion County to educate the general public/business community on the concerns we have providing our students a world class education with lack of proper funding.

Nancy Stacy

I believe funding  is a Florida State priority right now.  Taxpayers are simply out of money thanks to the high unemployment so now all they have to give the education system is what they NEED and not what they WANT.  Much like we all have to run our own personal homes and businesses.  HOWEVER, one thing I would like to discuss with our legislators is why the sales tax can not be used for operating dollars.  I have never supported a sales tax increase BUT at least everyone voting has to pay it so a more fair way to gain revenue.

Robert Dobkowski

No response.

Carol Ely

I desire to make our Marion County residents to understand issues and share issues with fellow voters; Know the issues so that I/we can talk to legislators (As principal of Shady Hill for the past 9 years, we faced a federal $$$ shortfall 4 years ago. We were going to lose 13 employees. I gathered my “involved” parents, teachers, and their children to charter a bus and go to Tallahassee for a SOS “Save our Children” campaign. We brought posters and banners to give to our legislators to let them know how badly we needed those federal dollars. Several of my children, teachers, and parents were interviewed on the steps of the capital building. I believe that we truly “made a difference” by being there and sharing our grave concerns. The end result was the federal stimulus budget which was approved for the next two years.
(You have to FIGHT for what you believe in!!!)

2. How do you see your role as a School Board member in relation to the Superintendent of Schools?

Woody Clymer
I have always envisioned the School Board and Superintendent working closely together as professionals for a common cause which is giving our students/staff the support they need to better serve our students. Everything should be above board with no hidden agendas!

Nancy Stacy
Our Superintendent is elected which means that legally the Superintendent can go after the school board if they do not uphold his recommendations.  BUT the APPOINTED Superintendent is different and does not have that kind of power. The school board is a policy making body.

Robert Dobkowski
No response.

Carol Ely
I believe that we must have a fiduciary relationship of trust and confiidence in one another if we, together, are to move forward for the success of our school system.  As a school board member, I will pursue my professionalism to make all of the decisions that we must need to make happen in a professional manner.  As a principal for the past 14 years I have made that happen with a high degree o success.

3. How will you engage the citizens of Marion County to understand the needs of the District and have them become proactive about their support of the resources required, educationally and financially?

Woody Clymer
As a School Board Member I would make it a priority to provide ongoing education for the taxpayers of Marion County to hear the concerns and needs of our public school system, both financially and educationally. I would conduct Town Hall Meetings throughout Marion County to discuss issues that drive our schools proficiency rate and encourage our retirement communities to take an active role in this endeavor. I would also organize a business consortium (the majority of our schools have a business partner) for open discussion on building a better relationship with our schools, brainstorming and problem-solving.

Nancy Stacy
I do not believe it will take any begging of the taxpayers to get the funding we need when our student results are acceptable. Good academic results will speak for themselves.

Robert Dobkowski
No response.

Carol Ely
I believe that the citizens of Marion County must truly “have a voice” in our school system's future and success.  A “citizens' task force” is imperative so that we school board members can see and hear the needs, concerns, and recommendations from our public. , especially as to how our tax dollars are spent.  (That is part of my platform.)

4. If elected, explain your three priorities as a sitting Board member. How do you intend to work with other school board members in order to achieve these priorities?

Woody Clymer
My three priorities would consist of the following: Hold educational Town Hall Meetings for the purpose stated in question #3. Second priority would be to hear from those in the trenches to get their input on how to better support their efforts and serve our students. Third priority would be to learn more of the functions of MTI and CTAE while at the same time engaging the business community to research ideas on how to serve our middle school students who have been identified as potential dropouts. In regard to working with my colleagues on the Board, I would share my personal experiences drawing from my 38+ years as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and Director of Employee & Labor Relations while working with students, staff, parents, unions, etc.

Nancy Stacy
Priority #1. Immediately discuss with the board about how we can have a county wide fundraiser to purchase lovely framed copies of the Constitution to hang in the hallway of each school. John Adams told us "Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom".

Priority #2. Immediately address my plan for dealing with the connection between discipline issues and lack of parental involvement. This will then lead to town hall parent meetings.

Priority #3. We have 100% graduation rate at our only high school of choice and I would like to engage in some discussions as to what that high school is doing different than those who do not have those great results. Possibly those discussions could lead to some community discussions about large scale public school choice.

Robert Dobkowski
No response.

Carol Ely
1) Ensure safe learning environments for ALL of our school campuses: additional parking space, fencing and traffic lights where needed

2) Explore alternatives to “out of school” suspensions to allow students to achieve their maximum academic peroformance

3) REDUCE TIME AND MONEY SPENT OF REDUNDANT TESTING THAT IS NOT PAID FOR BY THE STATE (MY GRANSON'S STORY PROVES THAT AND IS THE PERCEPTION OF ALL OF OUR MARION COUNTY STUDENTS.)

5. What makes you the most qualified candidate to hold this seat?

Woody Clymer
I am the most qualified candidate because of my 38+ years of experience as a professional educator in all areas on all levels. My knowledge and relevance of how schools and district office function, my full understanding of Board policy and State statutes and ability to craft and consistently meet an annual budget on all three school levels.  When elected I am immediately able to make a difference.

Nancy Stacy
This is a position where nearly 500 million flows through and I have the same degrees Steve Jobs had (high school diploma). Like him I have owned a business for 30 years just not as large has his.

I am a retired business owner and have never worked for any public trough where money seems to be endless thanks to the taxpayer's kindness. Therefore millions of dollars have been wasted under my watchful eye and my leadership over the last 20 years has led to the demise of several unsuccessful costly education fads. That means my leadership work where I rallied parents/teachers led to huge savings in the millions for taxpayers while also rescuing students from failed education fads. The difference between me and those working in the school system was that I worked sometimes 50 hours in a week battling school system gigs and fads while doing all on MY dime and spending thousands of my own dollars to accomplish these successes. We have nearly 3000 educators within the school system but no business owners at the top where the money flows through to the classroom. I believe all 5 school board members should be business owners so that those 3000 educators can have maximum dollars for their classrooms. Educators would give away the store if they thought it would help students and that is how many of these snake oil peddling consultants of education fads get into school districts. My sisters are teachers and they dream of all children getting a great education but unfortunately they can be naive as it is hard for a teacher to say no to anyone. In other words, educators are to kind hearted to say NO on spending. No more experiments! These are children who depend upon their education to help them be all they can be.

They are not guinea pigs.

Robert Dobkowski
No response.

Carol Ely
I have spent 37 years as a teacher, curriculum coordinator, assistant principal, and principal.  During these years I have gained much knowledge in all aspects of the Marion County Public School  System.  As an administrator, I have dealt with the yearly budgets:  federal budget,  district budget, and internal account budget.  I have always had an outstanding audit, which means that I know how and where to spend our dollars most wisely so that my students can excel.  I have also dealt with many staff issues of hiring and firing.  I do not believe in keeping an ineffective  staff member on board and I did everything that I could to make sure that a specific teacher did not return  the following year (under my leadership).  One of my greatest  strengths is my communication with my parents and community.  When you look at my accomplishments  at Belleview Elem and Shady Hill Elem., you can see that I am relentless in my pursuit of excellence as the chief administrator.  My parents loved me and supported me with any endeavor that we needed to pursue as a school.  EX:   Carol Ely computer lab, parking lot on north side of school, traffic lite on the corner of 475A and 59th St.

As for my business background, my husband and I have  run two Sew and Vac stores in Marion County since 1985 (17 years) and those stores are still very successfully running.  (A-White Sew & Vac  in Paddock Park Village and  at Spanish Springs in the Villages.)

6. There are two important ballot proposals regarding school funding on the August 14th Primary ballot. Do you support this method of increasing funding for Marion County Public Schools?

Woody Clymer
Yes, only after we have engaged the entire community in the process. I think before the community will buy in to proposals of this nature they must fully understand and trust that the school board/district has been fiscally responsible and we are only asking for this because the State has failed to properly fund public education a make it a priority.

Nancy Stacy
No, I do NOT support the 40% of the people who do not own property being allowed to vote the other 60% of us who do own property a tax.  At least with a sales tax all who are voting are stakeholders so will pay.  I do understand though that those dollars can not be used in the operating budget.  That is unfortunate and needs more consideration in Tallahassee.

Robert Dobkowski
No respone.

Carol Ely
I do not support these ballot proposals.  I believe that we need to look at our current budget and redistribute our funds as needed on a priority basis.  Every district in Florida is facing the same dilemma as we are and need to figure out how to”live of less” during this economic slow down, just as all of our consumers and taxpayers do. I have many ideas but cannot go forth with them until I become a  school board member.

7. Do you think voters are satisfied or dissatisfied with the current direction of the school board?

Woody Clymer
I think the voters are dissatisfied with the lack of professionalism displayed by Board Members during work sessions and School Board Meetings. Obviously we are not always all going to agree but we represent the taxpayers of Marion County and should conduct ourselves accordingly.  We all must model the behavior we expect of our students and other adults.

Nancy Stacy
There has been dramatic improvement in our school academically over the last 10 years.  However, if I was a parent I would not have been pleased with their direction of the 4 day week especially given the fact there were no large business owners on the board so no one checked with Tallahassee to see if the State was really so incompetent that they would fund 5 days of transportation when they were really only running four.

Robert Dobkowski
No response.

Carol Ely
For the most part, I feel that taxpayers are not pleased and are very concerned for the professionalism, communication, and satisfaction of decisions made.  I do not feel that the board at this time is able to work together for a common goal due to differences in the board members.

8. What is the most innovative idea you would push for to enhance the education of Marion County'€™s students?

Woody Clymer
I have always gone with the simple, common sense philosophy that “all of us are smarter than any one of us”.  Having a business consortium that meets on a regular basis and is not limited to only our business partners but includes parents, those retired CEO’s and teachers, etc. would certainly enrich our level of possibilities and benefit all of our students.

Nancy Stacy
County wide parent mentoring program where I go directly into the housing projects where the most needy are.  I would teach those parents how to use the tools that they have as a parent to be their child's best education advocate.

Robert Dobkowski
No response.

Carol Ely
Definitely reducing the amount of testing that Marion County does during the year. I know that at this time the FCAT, FAIR, and benchmark testing  state mandated (and unfunded). What we need to look at is how other counties and very successful schools across the state are monitoring student progress. (Please check out Ethel Kroger Elem in Dade county, which scored 5th in the state; 90% Hispanic and 70% free and reduced lunch)

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commented 2013-12-28 03:01:05 -0500 · Flag
Thank you