Alachua County School Board admits incompetence in discussion about measuring progress



Given the empty room and the fact that the Alachua County School Board wasted a good chunk of their October 3 meeting talking about a proclamation for LGBTQ+ History Month, most parents probably are not aware that the school board members openly admitted their own incompetence several times.

Finally, something on which we can all agree.

You can watch the nearly three-hour meeting on YouTube, but it’ll likely take longer if you keep backing up to make sure they actually said the self-incriminating words you thought you heard.

It took almost two hours for the Board to get to the second action item. Board Chair Tina Certain got the second and third agenda items mixed up and first took up the third agenda item, a list of purchases to be approved. The agenda item had been pulled from the consent agenda because board members questioned an expenditure of $20,879.10 for a Power BI subscription and asked why the district was moving away from Tableau. After the discussion about the subscription, Certain started to move on to the next agenda item when staff told her she forgot to hold a vote on the purchase. Apparently, the board meetings are run as effectively as our children are being educated.

The fourth agenda item was approval of the School Board’s priorities. The priorities were set at the September 5 meeting:

  • Completion of a strategic plan
  • Comprehensive rezoning
  • Reading scores and student achievement
  • Discipline and student behavior
  • Transportation

At this point, the meeting turned surreal, with a lot of talking and very little being said. It was like watching students working on a group project, but every student is the one who never wants to do the work.

Superintendent Shane Andrew had his trusty Dilbert jargon generator for this line regarding transportation: “Looking at cost-saving measures and then measuring those measures, just the optimization of bus utilization, so looking at daily runs… analyzing daily runs, things of that nature” (time stamp 2:01:01).

After 20 minutes of this type of gibberish, Certain practically scolded the Superintendent for not having developed any metrics and wasting the board’s time discussing metrics that don’t exist. She said, “I thought our Superintendent would come with a vision and with priorities that he’s going to share with the board; the board should not always be leading this conversation of where we need to be… We have a leader who should have had some type of goals and objectives for himself… I didn’t want us to be here trying to hash out goals and metrics. I expected it to be in the binder when we got here” (time stamp 2:24:40).

One thing parents should be concerned about is that student safety was not mentioned during the brief discussion about discipline and student behavior (but it was discussed when talking about transportation). The main issue of concern was “disproportionality” in referrals–until Board Member Kay Abbitt tried to inject some sanity: “I don’t think we should set goals and say ‘we cannot have more than this percentage of students getting referrals if you’re African American or ESE or whatever.’ I think we have to address the behavior issue because there’s going to be a lot of behavior that won’t even be recognized. That’s not how we’re going to solve that problem, by setting goals. I think we need to have more consistent implementation of rules and consequences from school to school” (time stamp 2:07:32).

Board Member Sarah Rockwell then admitted that when the district sets goals to decrease disproportionality, “what ends up happening is inadvertently… there becomes a pressure on faculty and staff members to not write referrals, even when the behavior warrants it.” That explains the discipline problem Alachua Chronicle covered in July 2022.

When the discussion moved to comprehensive rezoning, Superintendent Andrew gave up on developing metrics and tried to pass the buck to contractors: “Maybe even when we meet with DRMP they can provide us with insight from their end of what we can use that’s measurable… I do think we need to ask DRMP–it’s the same with the strategic plan and working with Cognia. As we roll out the first phase, we need to look at our goals and the implementation of the first phases there, and as we get our plan developed, we’ll be able to identify what are the first phases that we’re going to implement and, using Cognia’s resources and their tools, I think we can set some real measurable goals there” (time stamp 2:13:30).

Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) is paying one contractor to develop a strategic plan and another contractor to do comprehensive rezoning, but ACPS and the School Board have no way of knowing whether the resulting products will be beneficial because they don’t know what they want to measure or why. Certain said, “We tasked our Superintendent with writing those goals up, those priorities up, in some measurable way. And they don’t have to be concrete, as we can’t measure strategic plan, but we need to have it done… We’ve needed one for a while, and we need to get it done. I don’t have to have a metric as to say ‘x, y, and z,’ but that does need to get done. (time stamp 2:25:56).

Board Member Leanetta McNealy realized the metric discussion was going nowhere “because it seems as if communication has been faltered in some manner, and we don’t have a good understanding among ourselves. That’s the key. Before the team of folk can do any further work, we must have a clear understanding, and I don’t think it’s there tonight… I’m not happy with where our conversation is at this point” (time stamp 2:35:25).

Certain followed that up with, “What we’re trying to figure out is how we measure success” (time stamp 2:36:28).

The fact that School Board members are floundering while trying to identify metrics suggests that they don’t know how to evaluate what they’re doing now, and they will therefore not be able to compare the effects of their policies with the current state of the district. If something is not already being measured, there’s no way to tell if a change in policy is an improvement or not.

You would think an army of “trained” educators working for ACPS would already know how to evaluate education policy and would not have to reinvent the wheel each time a new school board is elected. The State of Florida has been involved in public education since the state was founded in 1868. The first elected Commissioner of Education took office in 1969. The current iteration of the State Board of Education has been around since 2003. What excuse does the current School Board have for not having a way to measure success?

Of course, the mention of “demographic subgroups” points to a possible reason for the confusion about metrics: traditional goals regarding the percentages of students who can perform at grade level academically or follow rules in the classroom are no longer adequate. Now we need metrics for all the “demographic subgroups” and every possible combination; the table below from May 2023 shows just some of the groups that are now monitored – All Students, [School Improvement] schools, Black/African-American, Students with Disabilities, English Language Learners.

It’s not surprising that there was not much public comment at the end of this marathon of incompetence. Any parent with a child in the ACPS system owes many thanks to Armando Grundy-Gomes, the lone voice willing to call out the incompetence at the end of the meeting. He pointed out that the Superintendent has been here for over a year, so there’s no excuse to not know how to evaluate progress. To the board members, he said, “You all have hired people that can’t read data. You all have gotten rid of all your data people. That’s not on anyone else. That’s on you. The dysfunction is up there” (time stamp 2:43:53).

Prior to that, Rockwell inadvertently indicted the School Board and the ACPS administration when she admitted, “It makes sense for our focus as a Board and what we’re going to evaluate–the success of the Superintendent has to be those SI [School Improvement] schools because if we don’t get those kids reading, we’re failing. We’re failing–when we have a school that has low teens percentage of students passing the FAST assessments, we’re failing. We just are” (time stamp 2:18:29).

The staff promised an update on data trends at the October 17 meeting. (You can read about the previous ABC report here.) There’s no need to wait for that meeting because the failure of ACPS over the last five years is clear.

Scores have declined since Board’s 2018 equity plan

Some of these Board Members were around when ACPS announced an equity plan in August 2018. The primary goal was to narrow the performance gap between white and black students by 2028. My immediate response was, “The focus of the plan and the equity office itself are misguided and are guaranteed to produce bad policy.”

It was no surprise that overall student performance dropped and the black-white performance gap widened in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. In a 2019 column, I concluded, “Our education system is broken. Equity is the least of our worries.”

In the 2022-23 school year, the Florida Department of Education did every school board a favor by transitioning from the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) to the new Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) so boards can’t be held accountable for poor performance compared to previous years. Using the new system, however, we can compare the incompetence of ACPS to the other 66 county-wide school districts in the state. (The data is available here.)

For mathematics, grades 3-8, ACPS ended the 2022-23 school year with only 51% of students on grade level or above, lower than the performance of 45 other counties. The state average was 56%. Since the FAST exam is given three times a year to measure progress, we can see just how ineffective ACPS schools were during the year. From PM1 to PM3, Alachua County scores improved by 35 percentage points (16% to 51% at grade level). There were 56 counties that showed more improvement over the year. The state average was a 42 percentage point improvement.

For English Language Arts, grades 3-10, the story is similar. ACPS ended the year with only 50% of students on grade level or above. The improvement from PM1 to PM3 was only 14 percentage points; 62 counties outperformed Alachua County. The state average was a 17 percentage point improvement.

During the meeting, Certain said, “I am really disappointed that we are here because it is so apparent when I am with my colleagues from other districts, the reason why our district is…” She laughed uncomfortably and continued, “… where our students of color and the children that you and all of us are so concerned about are not doing well, because we really have not set goals and priorities and held ourselves, as an organization, as leaders and the staff, held ourselves accountable” (time stamp 2:29:39).

Given the last five years of educational decline and the 2022-23 FAST scores in Alachua County, the best way for these Board Members to hold themselves accountable would be to resign if the district’s scores don’t improve in the 2023-24 school year.

  • It’s a total colossal disaster. Over half the students in the system are not at grade level. Translation: you must be in total remediation in all core subject classes. Each year your fall further behind till your end product Seniors are unable to do basic elementary-level reading and math.
    This is exactly why parents are trying to find other educational solutions for their children.
    Leadership has all but been replaced by multi-degree incompetent Principals and Supervisors at the County level.
    Just look at our School Board minus Mrs. Abbott is a great example of failure.

  • Let me guess… McNealy wants to have a “retreat” with a nice catered lunch.

    This will fix everything!

  • The first year I taught in Alachua County was at Lincoln Middle School in 1991-92. I was on a 6th grade team and I was the language arts and reading teacher. We had 48 students on the team that had straight F’s in every subject for the entire year. They were all promoted administratively to the 7th grade. That, in a nutshell, encapsulates the philosophy of the SBAC and education in the US.

    • As a possible former AA and 2nd mod student (if your class was out in the portable). You and Ms K (8th Grade) were the best Language Arts teachers there.

  • I don’t even want to know what goes on in the classroom these days but I’ve heard some unbelievable stories. Hiring people with zero background or experience to teach and then leaving them completely on their own without even the most basic resources to do their job. You would think with a majority black board they could do better for their own kind.

    • Aren’t you apart of their “own kind” unless you are an illegal immigrant… If that is the case we do not need the opinion of any Non-American.

      But I suspect you might be part of the human race, but again if you are a red-bellied illegal, then take your opinion back to where ya belong. Come into these here United States bringing your crime, and hurting real Americans. I may not like the likes of a McNealy or a Certain, but they are not illegals, and there point of views as warped as they are at least coming from an American.

      • This commenter is what we call a bad actor. I suspect it’s a non white pretending to be White and make stupid comments. Especially noticable with using the wrong term “red bellied” instead of “yellow belly”. Usually because their idea of a conservative or right winger is purely based on what is portrayed in media or the paid off “conservatives” in politics and political analysis.

        It’s similar to the complaint “Wyt ppl don be seasonin dey food.” This stems from them usually having their only experience with it in public schools and prison.

    • Publik skools here are Dem indoctrination dependency daycares. They just teach voter registration.

  • Thanks Len. Nice of you to provide a summary of the meeting for those of us who have neither the time or patience to listen to this group who are more interested in hiding the causes of issues in schools than they are of correcting them.

    Good point to illustrate the failings of Alachua County schools compared with other schools within the state. It would appear the insertion of political ideologies haven’t been very conducive to a learning environment either. Another conclusion that could be drawn is one that the City of Gainesville is still trying to figure out; when the tools available to administrators, teachers, bus drivers and other support staff are taken away, the behavior problems will only increase as the environment for learning decreases.

    Thanks again Len. Let’s hope the SBAC can show us they possess some measurable amount of reading comprehension and stop the dumbing down of some students because of the motivational shortcomings of others.

    • Thank you for this!!! Paragraph 3 of what you wrote is 100 percent on point. I am a teacher and I’ll be honest, most of our teachers who have been teaching through all of this craziness for over a decade are fed up. We aren’t allowed to write referrals like we should and the consequences that are given are not even partially what they should be and so bad behavior goes up and learning goes down. Add this to damnation of teachers at every board meeting and you have a mass exodus of teachers who have been teaching and putting up with this disaster for so long, waiting to see the light because they love the kids and love teaching, and now you have vacant positions available that under qualified teachers are scooping up.

  • I believe some of the students are a lot smarter than this bunch of incompetents. Shame too many voters choose their candidates based on tribalism vs. qualifications & competence.

  • SBAC is going down the tubes quickly. They have too many layers of do-nothing administrators at the district level who won’t make decisions….and if you look closely, many of them have ties to McNealy. Certain is too worried about an achievement gap that has plagued the district for many, many years. How about “We have a large number of students who can’t read and we need to fix that.” It doesn’t matter what color you are, if you can’t read, you can’t read. Focus on all of the students instead of one group.

  • The information in this report is absolutely terrifying! The leaders who are responsible for our children’s safety, educational experience and agenda are as incompetent as a garden hose at a forest fire! How did this group come to be in the first place? How do we, the parents, the ones who are responsible for paying these clowns, get them out and put people who are committed to the quality of our educational system and our children in? More and more our leaders are becoming incompetent and use their positions of public service to achieve their personal agendas.

  • Why are they even keeping track of race vs. performance? Just teach and enforce discipline, period. If every student of a certain color has to be expelled from school for bad behavior, that’s just too bad.

  • “At this point, the meeting turned surreal, with a lot of talking and very little being said. It was like watching students working on a group project, but every student is the one who never wants to do the work.”

    Well done, this is one of the most hilarious and accurate summary statements I have ever read.

    I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: the number one problem in ACPS is discipline. Fix that and every other metric will improve, guaranteed. Students and parents have to know what the expectations and consequences are, and they have to know that the consequences will be applied consistently every single time. It is really that simple.

    Use suspensions, expulsions, and mandatory parenting classes to force lousy parents to civilize their wild children. The parents might become a little more civilized themselves as a side effect. Bleeding hearts may say “Oh, what about the poor 5% of kids that will miss out on school?”, and to that I’d say “what about the 95% of kids who are having their educational opportunity stolen from them”?

    Referral quotas by race/ethnicity/etc. is a ridiculous idea and will always fail. Just like allowing people to shoplift up to a certain dollar amount with no real penalty causes crime to immediately skyrocket, setting a max referral percentage causes behavior problems to escalate out of control as soon as it becomes apparent that teachers can’t or won’t do anything. The teachers can’t teach and the students can’t learn in that kind of environment.

  • Unfortunately Certain and Rockwell are in for 3 more years; fortunately Kay Abbitt is in for at least 3 more years. McNealy and McGraw terms end in 2024. Gotta start preparing for new faces soon!!

  • I quit supporting the Alachua County public school system when they screwed Waldo. Homeschooling…..Charter schools. Loften high school and Florida Youth Challenge Academy are exceptional.

    • Private school if you can pull it off. I drive a 22 year old beat up truck because of it.

      • You drive your beat up truck because you are willing to make the necessary sacrifice for your children’s education. Putting your children’s needs before your own. A commendable, uncommon (these days), and often not publicly appreciated as it should. I can only hope your kids recognize, appreciate, and pass on this valuable character trait.

  • This is the results of no accountability and wokeness at the highest level. The whole group should be removed and any self created departments since 2018 dissolved. Cut the fat, have real discipline for a change. Cease and desist rezoning . Teach the basic knowledge of reading , math, geography, science, and writing. The existing School Board leaders may be finally accepting the reality of their failures and fantasies but they are not capable of fixing them.

  • Yeah, these are just easy problems that I’m sure the author or anyone of us could solve with ease, and surely without any pressure, given the generous spirit with which parents approach their schools. I mean it’s not like we ask them to solve or mitigate intractable social problems on which their is no agreement or consensus.

    • Sucks when parents utilize schools to babysit their children but vehemently refuse the school’s methods to correct the behaviors. That’s about the only consensus you’ll find in Alachua County.

    • Do they offer free after-school tutoring for kids who want to learn but are having difficulty? That also sounds like a way to keep kids out of trouble in the afternoons, right? Unfortunately, the county wants to be the crazy cat lady who feed$ and house$ all the drug-addicted hobos from across the country, including lots of pedophiles. That’s priority #1. Not a tutoring center or two on the east side.

  • They avoided the 2 most important items the teachers are concerned about: teacher pay and student’s behaviors. An 1.1% raise is an insult.

  • Elementary schools have a single school-wide goal for the 2023-2024 school year. Verbatim, “increase learning gains of black and ese students.” Other groups are not a focus, nor is the instructional focus on them. Maybe that’s a contribution to the academic slide in Alachua. (Hint: it is)

  • Yes, let’s focus on rezoning instead of classroom behavior and performance.

    Oh no, wait, we need an updated LGBTQ+ guide. We need that STAT. Now go back to rezoning and strategic planning, but hey, teachers aren’t happy with their raise.

    Meanwhile seasoned teachers don’t want to teach in SI schools, and we have severe bus driver and para shortages.

    We (the community, ACPS, etc) need to remain focused on what’s truly important: student performance. We should be in crisis mode right now.

    1. Figure out a way to implement McGraw’s discipline program. Teachers should be focused on one thing: teaching.

    2. We need all hands on deck to help struggling students: e.g., take advantage of the help faith-based community groups are offering, especially as it relates to SI schools. I don’t care if they worship Jesus, Allah or a Bull Frog: if they are offering to tutor, use ’em.

    3. Stop wasting energy on creative busing solutions and admit we need more bus drivers. We probably need monitors too. We also need more paraprofessionals. Tina said their hands are tied and the State dictates how ACPS can allocate their monies. That tells me they (we?) need to lobby the State to change ACPS’ budget because clearly the wages offered to paras and bus drivers are too low as evident by the persistent shortages of both.

    While we are at it: incentivize seasoned teachers to work at SI schools by offering them a sh$tton more money to do so.

    • Seasoned teachers who have effective or highly effective student growth are already incentivized with $7500 or $15,000 respectively. If $15,000 isn’t enough to get seasoned teachers (who can get results) to those schools, how much is?

      • “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
        You can put the best teacher in the country trying to teach kids but if they lack the desire, they’re not going to learn.

        • First, cut down on disruptions by better handling behavior as a district (e.g., McGraw’s plan)

          Then, let good teachers do their thing and the horses will drink. Good teachers have ways to inspire and motivate even the most uninterested student

    • I don’t know what McGraw’s proposed discipline plan is, but I wouldn’t trust it because it is probably as worthless as all their other current SBAC initiatives.

      A workable discipline system is simple and the technology already exists. Overthinking is not necessary.

      1. Parents and students sign behavior expectations and list of escalating discipline consequences at start of school year
      2. Kids act up in class, teacher writes name on board. Kid acts up again same day, checkmark / final warning
      3. Next infraction, send them to principal’s office, parent must pick up child from school. No after school program that day. Follow up teacher / parent / admin conference.
      4. After 3 send-homes, next send-home is 3 day suspension and student / teacher / parent / principal conference
      5. Next send-home is 5 day suspension and student / teacher / parent / principal / school counselor / psychologist conference
      6. Next send-home is expulsion

      It’s literally that simple.

      Minor tweaks here and there to comply with local/state laws, but the concept is inevitable, dispassionate, escalating discipline. Notice some key points:

      1. The teacher runs the class–she/he makes the call about when enough is enough
      2. Teacher is never in a 1v1 parent vs teacher situation, they always have the support and physical presence of admin
      3. Kids and parents are given an extremely generous number of chances to correct behavior, but at the same time truly unfixable kids will move through the expulsion pipeline rapidly. Try again next year or in the next county.

      I’d recommend that teachers meet regularly by grade level, without admin, to talk freely about the incidents and try to calibrate / be consistent–consistency is nice to have, but not a deal-breaker.

      Some teachers are soft, some are battleaxes, and kids have to adjust accordingly. That’s preparation for the real world. Some would say “these bad-ass kids these days don’t care if you write their name on the board”, and I say you’re wrong. It’s surprisingly effective after a few examples are made, especially when they realize they now have to deal with their ticked off parents.

      Ultimately it doesn’t matter if they care, because they will either correct the behavior or be gone very quickly when the escalating discipline is applied. Either way, the problem is solved.

      Parents, not teachers, are responsible for teaching their kids how to behave in a civilized society, and so parents must face the consequences of their failed parenting.

      • Some parents are unable or unwilling to do what’s needed. Should their children suffer the consequences? These consequences affect the entire community and ultimately costs all of us. McGraw’s plan takes the biggest troublemakers out of the classrooms and puts them in an at-risk type school where they get the help they need. This cuts down on disruption so teachers can teach and the students who want to learn can learn.

        There were other things her plan recommended. It was well-researched and had a lot of support on both sides of the proverbial aisle.

        She presented a workshop on it last Spring. It’s available for viewing.

  • The so-called “educators” are having trouble setting metrics for education because none of them actually know how to do anything. How can you “educate” students when you yourself have no useful knowledge relevant in the real world? Our kids graduate from high school not knowing how to balance a checkbook, read and evaluate a loan contract, manage a budget, responsibly use credit, write a proper business letter, etc., not to mention how to even check the oil in their own car, replace a light switch, change a door lock, cook a healthy meal, etc. The vast majority of our kids come out of school totally useless. In fact, they are about as useless as teats on a bull in mating season. Too many of them have been misdirected into getting useless university degrees in various fraudulent majors such as feminist studies, black studies, diversity studies, B.S. humanities programs, etc. These unfortunate kids have been mislead by so-called “guidance counselors” who are not qualified to guide anybody across a street. The “counselors” themselves have no proven track record of success in anything. Their only success is in developing a line of B.S. but what have they actually done in life of any substance? So where do all the useless eaters who really don’t know anything end up? As phony “educators” with highfallutin sounding degrees who vomit non-stop B.S. on boards of education. Most every utterance coming out of their vacuous mouths is full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

    • They’re school counselors, not guidance counselors.

      They don’t develop a line of BS. They’re mandated by the ever changing state statutes to follow whatever garbage the FDOE has most recently released. However, they’re not even able to speak to that curriculum as they’re too busy scheduling and attending IEP meetings, proctoring tests, doing bus duty, etc. – “other duties as assigned” that having nothing to do with the education received during their 6+ years of college education while seeking at least a Master’s degree.

      While we’re talking about shortages, take a look at ACPS’ job postings and count the number of school counselor positions currently vacant. Perhaps their lackluster track record of success is because they’re overworked and underpaid – just like many of the non-instructional and instructional jobs in the county.

      Those students who have been “misdirected into getting useless university degrees in various fraudulent majors” may not know how to change their oil or replace a light switch, but they stayed in school, got a college education, and now PAY the people who do those things professionally to get the job done.

      You seem educated. Educate yourself about those topics with which you are unfamiliar and redirect your tirade elsewhere.

      • The benefits of a university degree are mostly an illusion. There are almost no real jobs in any truly productive enterprise in Gainesville. America has a de-industrialized decomposing economy based on over-priced services and bloated real estate values pumped up by debt. What is the destiny of your so-called Masters-degreed snowflake in this city? A job working for an ambulance chasing parasite lawyer? Or maybe another “health care” leach looking after our increasingly decrepit population of narcotized weaklings? Or how about an assistant night manager in some fast food dump? There is no real industry in Gainesville except the phony “industry” of peddling “advice” while sucking at the teat of the public payroll. If you so-called “counselors” actually knew anything you might be advising our kids to go to welding or plumbing school instead of being swindled into perpetual debt for college loans so that maybe they could be lucky enough to get some BS job as a “counselor” perpetrating clouds of hot air.

  • Thanks, Len, for your analytical tenacity.

    In Japan a consistent, shameful failure such as this would result in more than resignations.

    ACPS suffers from the same malady as the Gainesville City Commission; Image Addiction at the expense of performance.

    Asking the Superintendent to provide positive metrics which support the fundamental political, social narrative (‘the Governor and State have no business in poking their noses in our locally controlled successes’) is a task requiring imaginary numbers which would be a better fit for the narrative.

    The lack of meeting attendance by parents may be deafening if translated to the voting polls next cycle combined with the City’s increased property tax.

    It truly is a bad time for incompetence when residents are expected to pay more for it.

  • McGraw’s a joke. I was a parent at Norton when here kids attended there. We were at a meeting to discuss what we’d like (as parents) to see in a new principal as the current one was retiring. Her comments had nothing to do with new principal, but had to do with SBAC policies. The one that stuck out to me was that black children didn’t like the clothespin/number system for the lunch line because it made them feel like prisoners (being assigned a number). What the what? The number system had to to do with their lunch funds, and the majority of these kids couldn’t remember their numbers, so the clothespins had them on them. In addition, clothespins could be taken away for bad behavior so that the lunch assistants could let the teachers know who acted up when they picked up their kids.

    I volunteered in SBAC schools when my kids attended. This was back in the early 2000s. Couldn’t believe how disrespectful the kids were to the teachers, to the volunteers, etc. Nothing was ever done about it.

    Want to sell drugs at Westweed (that’s what the kids called it)? No problem, just stand out there in the hall, no one’s gonna report you.

    The list is endless…

  • I hope the Alachua Chronicle emails this article, WITH comments, to each school board member. Maybe it given them a glimpse of what their adoring public really thinks of them.

  • Elections have consequences. An often heard cliche but so true. In the last election Alachua County had some highly qualified individuals running for the school board. Only one, Kay Abbitt, was elected. Three current board members were returned including one who had been removed and replaced by a highly qualified and competent individual who she ran against. So the election resulted in retaining 3 individuals who had been in their positions for years and they have to shoulder part of the responsibility for the failure of the school system. The question is why, if you are unhappy with the current situation, would you vote back in the people responsible for that situation? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious.

    Here’s what the Gainesville Sun had to say after the election:

    “A five-member, all-women team will makeup the Alachua County school board for the first time in its history.

    The board’s new majority is also taking another shift, as it will now feature mostly progressive policymakers, as several candidates defeated conservative opponents pushed by the local Republican Party.

    Tina Certain, Diyonne McGraw, Sarah Rockwell and Kay Abbitt all had convincing victories over their challengers.”

    Nothing wrong with all women but you might want to consider the “progressive” part. That might help explain why the system is failing and the board has no answers or a plan.

    It’s like reelecting commissioners who break the law regarding residency and homestead and expecting good government. What you get are extremely high taxes, tax increases (county and city), terrible roads and the need to add a sales tax to pay for the road repairs and build and maintain facilities, both of which should be easily covered by sky high property taxes. And the sales tax provides for a slush fund with a nice sounding name that can be used for unnecessary projects or maybe helping friends.

    Elections have consequences.

    For those in the western part of the county who do not like what is going on there is a solution – Springs County.

    • Springs County is like a Harry Potter story. Sounds good and makes for a good read but it’s not going to happen. Better chance at cleaning up the abortion in Alachua County than holding your breath hoping for Springs County to “spring” from nowhere.
      I’m not against it, just more in touch with reality.

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