Sunday, September 11, 2016

Governance is the Pinellas County School Board's Biggest Problem

It is time for term limits for school board members. 

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin
The Pinellas County School Board was back in the news this recently. Here are a couple of interesting articles.

Colleen Wright, Tampa Bay Times Staff writer: Pinellas school district faces another discrimination complaint.

From the Pinellas County School Board District Bylaws and Polices Manual


(1)  Members are elected for a term of four (4) years.

(2)  Board members shall be elected at the general election in November for staggered terms of four (4) years arranged so that, of seven (7) members, four (4) members shall be elected at one general election and three (3) members shall be elected at the ensuring general election.

(3)  The term of office shall begin on the third Tuesday after the first Monday in November of the year in which the member is elected.

F.S. 1001.35, 1001.371

Adopted 12/9/09; Revised 7/26/11

If you're not sure who the elected members of the Pinellas County School Board are here is a list from the Pinellas County School Board Web site.  You can click the link for more info.

Carol J. Cook was elected to the School Board in 2000 and re-elected in 2004, 2008 and 2012. Mrs. Cook served as Vice Chairperson of the Board in 2003-04, 2004-05, 2009-10, and 2011-12. As Chairperson of the School Board, Mrs. Cook served in 2005-06, 2010-11, 2012-13 and 2013-14 school year.

Linda S. Lerner, was elected to the School Board in 1990, re-elected in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010; and, served as Chairman, 2002-03 and 2014, and Vice Chairman in 1997-98.

Janet R. Clark was first elected to the School Board in 2004 and re-elected in 2008 and 2012. Ms. Clark served as Vice Chairperson in 2008-09 and Chairperson, 2009-10.

Rene Flowers was elected to the School Board on November 6th, 2012, to complete the term of deceased School Board Member Lew Williams

Terry Krassner, Vice Chairperson, was elected to the School Board in November 2010 and re-elected in 2014. 

Peggy O’Shea, Chairperson, was elected to the school board in 2006 and re-elected in 2010; and, served as Vice Chairperson, 2007-08, Chairperson, 2008-09 and Vice-Chairperson in 2014.

Dr. Ken Peluso was elected to the School Board in 2014.

There are no term limits for those elected to the Pinellas County School Board.

The old saying, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" seems to apply here.

I have come to believe that the blaming teachers for failed students and teachers and the school board blaming parents for failing students while making no overt attempts to deal with these issues and the people causing the problems in new and practical ways is the real reason for our failing schools.

Governance is the real problem in the Pinellas County School district. Yet we re-elect the same people who caused the problems and expect different results.

It is time for term limits for school board members. We need to force new blood and new thinking into the leadership of the Pinellas County school district.

Do not give me the old governance continuity argument. Look around. How has that worked out for our students?

We can start now by voting out the incumbents and demanding a change in the governance of the Pinellas County School system starting with setting up enforceable term limits.

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See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Contributor: Bob Gualtieri for Pinellas County Sheriff

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