For what is typically a slow time of year for public education advocacy, the Marions United team was a whirlwind of activity. Here is a listing, compiled by Nancy Noonan, Marions United's president, of all of our activities over the last two months:
November 12th: School Board member, Judy Zanetti, presented information to the membership of Marions United on Marion County Public Schools, unfunded mandates, âcritical needsâ programs for students etc. Judy also answered questions from those in attendance.
November 17th: Four Marions United presented testimony to the Marion County Legislative Delegation at CFCC in Ocala:
- Nancy Noonan- The funding crisis in Public Education, and how Marions United wants to fix the problem; restore funding to 2007 levels and abide by the FL State Constitution.
- Diana Webster, VP- How to Re-Invest in Public Education; specific examples were provided to the legislators regarding corporate loopholes and sales exemptions.
- Lorraine Fuller, Treasurer- How cuts in education hurt children, programs and businesses in Marion County.
- Darlene Hartley, Elementary music teacher- Art, Music and PE; are "critical and integral programs" and the negative impacts of cutting these programs
December 1: Nancy Noonan, our President, traveled to Tampa Bay to participate in the first Florida School Board’s Association Advocacy Workshop. Issues discussed with experts in the field included:
- Legal & Financial Issues in Advocacy
- Getting Organized
- The Truth Behind the Legislative Process
- Status of Florida's Economic Health
- "Hot Topics"- an interaction between panelists and participants about advocacy and how to get involved Nancy met with the Fund Education Now women from Orlando, other advocacy groups and people to wanted to organize similar groups.
December 7th: Nancy visited Sparr Elementary at the invitation of Principal Woody Clymer. The faculty, including the non-instructional staff, learned about Marions United for Public Education and our call for assistance through our “school contacts”. This was the FIRST school visit to kick off our “Fund Our Future” petition drive.
December 8th: Ray Seaman and Nancy Noonan were interviewed by Joe Callahan at the office of the Ocala Star Banner. Watch for this feature story in their Christmas issue!
December 8th: Bud Chiles, son of former Gov. Lawton Chiles came to Ocala at the request of Ray Seaman and Progress Florida to “walk” with members of Marions United to highlight the importance of public schools and opportunities for children. Bud and his son, Goeff, have walked across many locations in Florida with their campaign, “Worst to First- What kind of Florida to you want for your children”? Worst to First will collaborate with Marions United to improve public schools in Florida. This “walk” went to the Ocala office of Speaker Larry Cretul where Bud gave facts about the state of public education in Florida, focused on legislative issues and encouraged all to stay actively involved to bring about positive and lasting change for children and our schools.
December 8th: Nancy attended the Marion County School Board meeting. There were no issues to address this time but Marions United makes sure to be present at these Board meetings. An interesting video was shown on “Best Practices” at Greenway Elementary entitled, “Diving Into Learning; Discover the Treasure”. Many of the Marion County Schools are doing very effective programs for student learning.