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School Board of Manatee County, District 5: James Golden

Meet the candidate.

If elected, James Golden says literacy, employee compensation and continuity of education will be a focus of his. (Photo by Liz Ramos)
If elected, James Golden says literacy, employee compensation and continuity of education will be a focus of his. (Photo by Liz Ramos)
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James Golden said his four years on the School Board of Manatee County, eight years on the Bradenton City Council and years of serving on boards for organizations and nonprofits make him the best candidate. 

“I’m the best candidate to continue the level of civility, stability and continuity we want to achieve not just over the next four years but going forward as we serve the next generation of parents, learners and educators,” Golden said. 

If reelected, Golden said he wants to focus on literacy, increasing employee compensation and ensuring there is continuity within public education over the years.

Golden said he wants to increase salaries for all employees including support staff, teachers, principals and administrators. 

To pay for salaries, Golden said the district has to work with the funds available. Employee salaries are funded from the district’s general fund and a supplement through the 1-mill property tax referendum.

“Until and unless we change the perspective of the legislature in Florida with respect to public education, we cannot reasonably expect to see changes,” Golden said. “If there are no changes to the legislation, then it is up to the imagination and innovation of local boards to try to be competitive in terms of offering fair compensation to all the elements of their districts.”

With the contract for Cynthia Saunders, who serves as the School District of Manatee County’s superintendent, expiring June 30, the school board will have to search for the next superintendent. 

Golden was not willing to say whether he would want the school board to conduct a national search because it’s a board decision, and he wants to discuss the matter with other board members. 

Golden said he wants a superintendent who is committed to the district and will not use “the district to further their political ambitions.”

“I would want a superintendent that enjoys a favorable reputation amongst other superintendents,” Golden said. “I would want a superintendent who is fearless, who is not going to be swayed by every wind that blows or who is so inflexible they are afraid to use their imagination to bring innovation into the district. I want someone who can keep us on an upward path under the superintendent we have risen from.”


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