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Sarasota Friday, Jul. 10, 2015 3 years ago

School Board candidates kick off campaigns

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Incumbent Sarasota County School Board District 2 candidate Caroline Zucker has filed to run for re-election, while District 3 candidate Eric Robinson jumpstarts fundraising with $13,700 worth of contributions.
by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

A veteran Sarasota County School Board member and a newcomer with a weighty political background have entered the arena for two seats overseeing the local school district.

District 2 incumbent Caroline Zucker has filed to run for re-election, and District 3 candidate Eric Robinson starts his first run for a local office with more than $9,000 in campaign funds.

“The finances of the district really piqued my interest,” said Robinson, an accountant who has served as the chairman of the Sarasota GOP and treasurer to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, among other high-profile candidates. “But, the biggest thing that’s really on my radar right now is the achievement gap.”

Robinson said the district should have sought to expand the Eagle Academy, a summer program aimed at reducing learning loss in low-income students and fostering professional growth in parents, to only “C” schools, rather an “A” school such as Tuttle Elementary. 

“As a CPA, mathematically that doesn’t make sense,” Robinson said. “You go for the lowest-hanging fruit."

Robinson said he also aims to tackle smoking on elementary schools, which is currently allowed at 11 campuses.

According to her campaign website, Zucker is running with more than 17 years of experience on the board, during which time the graduation and dropout rates improved.

“I know that the next term will not be a ‘walk in the park’,” Zucker said in a statement on her site. “But I am ready to face the task to ensure that all students will have an equal opportunity for a quality education.”

Zucker was sworn in as president of the Florida School Boards Association last month.

County Commissioner Paul Caragiulo is among the donors to Robinson’s campaign, along with Benderson Development President Randy Benderson, who contributed $1,000.

“I don’t plan on running any negative ads,” Robinson said. “I plan on being very factual, but try to temper that and not be too dry.”

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