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Sarasota County School Board District 4: Lauren Kurnov

Meet the candidate.

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Explain what you believe to be the fundamental role of government.

The fundamental role of government is to work for the people and help improve quality of life by ensuring freedoms and rights are protected. 

For the school board, this means ensuring our kids receive the very best education possible so they are prepared to enter post-secondary education or the workforce and be successful. 

This means investing in the basics such as reading and writing, as well as career development programs that prepare our students for life after high school. 


Explain what you believe to be the role of the school board.

Its purpose is to take input from our community and combine it with the best practices in education to ensure our kids have a well-rounded education. Specifically, this means working with parents on educational priorities, setting program budgets and hiring the Superintendent. 


When you are legislating and creating policies, which of the following would take precedence over the other: the individual or the collective “common good”? Why?

My first priority is focusing on the success of Sarasota students. In this moment, it means addressing our teacher shortage to keep our class sizes small so students get the attention they need. We need to focus on supporting teachers, students and families so they are fully integrated into the education process, as well as enhance classroom to career opportunities and ensure Sarasota schools maintain their A rating. 


Why are you running for office?

I’m running for school board to get politics out of the classroom. Our children should not be used as pawns in a political struggle to determine who has majorities in the statehouse or Congress. I chose to run because my kids are in our schools. I have a doctorate in education and have spent the last several years focusing on student success at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and New College of Florida. I will bring my experience and skills forward to ensure our kids have a great shot at a bright future. 


What distinguishes you from your opponent that makes you a better candidate?

I’ve spent my career focused on student success and helping students throughout our county take the skills they learn in the classroom and apply them to jobs in the private, non-profit and public sectors. 

I believe in building an inclusive environment that ensures the voices of parents and teachers are heard to help us build the best schools possible. 

I am not running for office to achieve a partisan or ideological outcome. 

I’m not running to achieve a political or partisan agenda. I’m running to ensure every child in Sarasota receives a quality education. 


What experience do you have that would convince voters you would be a good steward and monitor of taxpayer dollars?

I believe in transparency and making sure every dollar that is spent is first justified and then accounted for so our community continues to believe in and invest in our schools as they have done for generations. 


If elected, what will be your guiding principles to determine whether to vote for or against legislation or policies?

I will stay focused on what is best for our students and what will give them the highest probability of success for a bright future. 


In general, what role should the government play in the economy?

The school board plays an important role in setting teacher and support personnel salaries, making investments in our communities relative to where new schools should be built and helping our students with wrap-around programs to ensure they are receiving the support they need to be prepared for the future. 


Should government subsidize the manufacture of electric cars and/or give tax credits to consumers for buying electric cars? Why? Why not?

The school board does not have authority or jurisdiction to set subsidies for consumer goods. I do believe the school board should ensure our students understand how both electric and internal combustion engines work to ensure our kids take an active interest in STEM — especially the girls in our community. The data is clear that investments in STEM education help communities see a higher return on their investment and students can achieve a higher salary pursuing STEM careers. 


What is your philosophy for taxation? In addition, which of the following forms of taxation make the most sense to you: Graduated income tax? Flat income tax? No income tax? Consumption tax? Property tax?

The current system is, generally, bringing in sufficient funds for our schools. However, we must recognize that teachers are leaving our system for other economic opportunities and higher pay in other states. For us to compete and ensure we have the very best teachers possible in our community requires that we pay a competitive wage. 


A right does not impose an obligation on others. Free speech is a right. There is no right to having a car. In that vein, is health care a right?

Ensuring our schools have nurses so that kids are getting the health care they need and mental health counselors to help them deal with various issues is critical to ensuring student success and helping these young members of our community become well-adjusted and productive members of our society. 


Given that many public schools and public universities were exposed the past two years for being turned into centers for socialistic and anti-American indoctrination (via the use of tax dollars), how should that be remedied, or should it?

Sarasota’s public schools have earned an A rating because generations of leaders in our community have actively chosen to keep our schools off limits from politics. Our kids’ education is too important for our schools to be used as pawns in a partisan chess game. 

I’m committed to living up to the standards of our community and keeping politics out of the classroom. Partisan actors can level their arguments in the political process as they run for state and federal office. Our kids’ education should not have to serve as a backdrop for this political theater. 


If you were king, queen or a tyrannical despot in charge of the country, how, if at all, would you amend the U.S. Constitution? Why?

I’m running for school board to ensure our kids have a great shot at a bright future. To me that means reducing class sizes so students get the attention they need; ensuring our kids are career ready and can take advantages of opportunities once they graduate; and getting the politics out of the classroom so our kids, teachers and parents can focus on what’s best for our students instead of what’s best for someone’s political career. I’m working to move our schools forward. 


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