A newly created House district was drawn for Flagler County and represents an opportunity for state democrats to win a seat. This Sheldon Gardner story in St. Augustine.com illustrates what should emerge as education talking points for democrats seeking legislative seats:
Both (County Commissioner Milissa) Holland and (business owner Doug) Courtney do not support vouchers for private or religious schools, and neither supports merit pay in the current education system.
“The system is based on faulty criteria and is difficult to interpret or understand,” Courtney said. “I believe quality work should be rewarded, but this is not the way or means to do so.”
Holland said that she would support merit pay if there was “an evaluative method that is fair and takes into consideration all aspects of teacher performance.”
Using standardized testing or academic performance alone “is almost certain to miss the mark,” she said.
Both agree that increased education funding is essential, since the Legislature has cut K-12 education by $300 million the past two years.
Courtney wrote that eliminating the FCAT testing “would restore $125 million in savings on test materials and administrative costs,” as well as “hundreds of millions in funds that could be restored by eliminating the corporate tuition tax credit for vouchers.”
Holland wrote that the Legislature should look at reforming its areas of greatest areas of spending, such as Medicaid, as a way to divert funds back to education
The winner will face a republican and a non-party affiliation candidate. More details on the race can be found here in this Florida Current article. The republican candidate, 27 year-old Travis Huston already has 10 times the amount on cash on hand than both democrats combined. Huston’s war chest may indicate that state republicans know that Flagler county has elected democrats before as evidenced by Holland’s presence on the county commission and popular school board member Colleen Conklin’s long service. At the very least the race provides an opportunity the make republicans defend their education stewardship.