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East County Wednesday, Apr. 7, 2021 1 year ago

What's next for School Board of Manatee County?

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Gov. Ron DeSantis will appoint a Manatee County resident to replace Scott Hopes, the District 4 representative for the School Board of Manatee County.
by: Liz Ramos Staff Writer

As Scott Hopes starts his time as the acting Manatee County administrator, he will have to juggle his new job and his responsibilities as a member of the School Board of Manatee County.

That is until Gov. Ron DeSantis appoints someone to replace Hopes to represent District 4 on the school board.

According to Florida statute, vacancies on the school board are filled by appointment by the governor, which was how Hopes started serving on the school board. 

Former Gov. Rick Scott appointed Hopes to the board in 2017 when then-District 4 representative Karen Carpenter resigned.

Hopes then was reelected to the board in 2018, defeating longtime educator Joe Stokes.

Based on his previous experience, Hopes said the appointment process could take about 90 days.

People interested in becoming the new District 4 school board member must be a resident of District 4, which is between 34th Street West to Lockwood Ridge and Cortez Road West and University Parkway.

Interested individuals must fill out a gubernatorial appointment application on DeSantis’ website. Afterward, DeSantis’ staff will vet applicants and conduct candidate interviews.

Lastly, DeSantis will interview the top candidates before making a decision of whom to appoint to the board.

Once appointed, the new board member will serve until November 2022, which is when Hopes’ term is set to expire.

Hopes said anyone interested in joining the board should be interested in “ensuring every child in Manatee County gets the best education possible and is successful.”

“That’s a heavy lift,” Hopes said. “You have to be aware of what it’s like to serve on a school board. You’re setting policy, and it’s going to change the lives of families for generations. You have to be ready and willing to tackle new challenges.”

Scott Hopes will serve as county administrator while also serving on the School Board of Manatee County until Gov. Ron DeSantis appoints someone to replace him. File photo.

Hopes said although being a member of the school board can be challenging at times, it’s a satisfying position.

Charlie Kennedy, the current chair of the school board, said that as the appointment process goes on, the board will “keep moving forward and doing our job.”

“Whomever the governor appoints, we will welcome to the team and bring him or her on board with open arms,” Kennedy said. “We have a lot to do this year. We have to get ready for the next school year, hopefully post-COVID and back to ‘normal,’ we have the millage renewal coming up in November. We’re just going to keep working.”

Kennedy and school board member James Golden said anyone who is appointed or elected to the board must have a heart for children and work with the School District of Manatee County to continue improving.

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