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Sarasota Monday, Aug. 6, 2018 2 years ago

Sarasota School Board, District 1: Nick Guy

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Questions and answers with Nick Guy

Name: Nick Guy

Age: 38

Occupation: Business analyst

Family: Married, two daughters (5 and 3)

Education: Bachelor of education (adolescent social studies) bachelor of arts (history), University of Toledo, 2004  

Elected government experience: None

Why are you running for school board?

I’m inspired by others standing up to corrupt politicians failing us as public servants. My children along with every other child and family in our county deserve to have a school board member with the knowledge, experience, and passion for education required to be successful. After seeing my 3-year-old beat cancer this past year, how could I look at her and her sister who is about to start kindergarten, and honestly tell them I’m doing all I can as a father to fight for their future. That is why I’m running to serve on the school board and serve my community.

What do you see as the top three challenges facing the district, and where do you stand on each?

  • School safety: This police force is new, we live in a scary new world where hate crimes, violence against women and minorities is rising, and the number of school children being killed in school rises each year. This has reached crisis levels and we must ensure we’re doing all we can to prevent violence before preparing to react to it.
  • Lack of local control and direction steering policy and financial matters crucial to success: As the move to privatize public education expands so does the autonomy a district possesses. A board member should be a proponent of public education first and foremost. If the legislation is placing harmful mandates on our schools, we must work alongside others to mitigate any damage to the high quality of education we’ve built in Sarasota County.
  • Closing the gap on underperforming elementary students: If we fail them at this early level, we set them up to fail throughout the rest of their years in school and potentially in life. More emphasis must be place on this to ensure we’re expanding programs that work and scaling back those that do not work for as large of a group of learners.

What is your opinion of the school district’s plan to ultimately set up an in-house police force?

The state mandated and underfunded this initiative. Immediately the sheriff and a board member were found scheming to financially burden the district before the sheriff ultimately pulled all funding cooperation. For weeks, a clear lack of leadership on the board failed to bring this critical situation to a close. After being backed into a corner the board made the difficult decision, a decision many across the state had to make this summer, to stand up their own force. It’s unfortunate these adults couldn’t cooperate and focus on protecting children better than they did. At first, I was wary of the program but after seeing the roster of officers will have an average of about 22 years’ experience and most are coming from local municipal forces, I’m optimistic that these officers will quickly become a part of the educational community within their schools and work hard to prevent violence.

Discuss your position on Superintendent Todd Bowden.

Published reports of Superintendent Bowden’s performance generates serious questions of judgment, management style and his planning of school security. When I’m elected, I intended to exercise better oversight and accountability than my opponent, Bridget Ziegler has done as Board Chair.

What is your stance on charter schools?

When I’m elected, I will take a very strict approach to any charter application that diverts money away from public schools. I appreciate the opportunity and want to offer school choice. I will make sure the charter applications that are filling an un-met need in our community and are desired in our community. I will not accept an application for a For-Profit Charter Schools that are focused on making money off of our children. Unlike my opponent, who is the President of the Florida Coalition of School Board Members – a fringe group of school board members who unlike the Florida School Board Association, hide their membership and financial information. Follow the money, find the problem.

What is your position on closing School Avenue on the campus of Sarasota High School? If one student could potentially be harmed by this gaping hole in security, then closing it down completely and extending the drive time of a few people is worth that one life and many more. Thank the city’s lack of urban planning and cuts to that department, but I think it's time to shut it down. If voting for me or not voting for me hinges on this one issue I implore you to look at the war being raged against public education in our state. School district after school district is being taken for millions of dollars from privatizers and corrupted politicians. We must stop this action on our board immediately and begin to lead by example within our state. Protect our public schools.

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