Pinellas County District 7 Candidates Square in Forum

Pinellas District 7

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. – The four candidates at the Pinellas County School District 7 seat discussed Wednesday why they were the best candidate to succeed Rene Flowers at the seat this year.

What you need to know

  • Candidates: Dr. Sharon Jackson, Corey Givens Jr., Caprice Edmond, Karl Nurse

  • A virtual forum was held for an hour

  • Election for August 18

  • More headlines for 2020 elections

Dr. Sharon Jackson, Corey Givens Jr., Caprice Edmond and Karl Nurse took turns weighing up issues like what grade they would give school inspector Michael Grego; the effectiveness of school staff; how to improve underperforming schools and others during the one hour virtual forum hosted by the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club.

Jackson brings the most teaching experience into the race as he has served as a teacher, school counselor, director, and collegiate professor at primary, middle and high school levels.

When asked how underperforming schools can be improved, Jackson said, “one size fits all,” citing examples such as school uniforms, extended school days, and in one case a Montessori program to improve learning as methods they have used in the past. has used . But she said the most important element was getting family involvement.

“You need to find creative ways to get parents involved, whether it’s a phone call, a text message or now, or now, to have such a virtual meeting,” she said.

Although only 28, this is Givens Jr.’s third office bid. He ran to a school board seat in 2012 and to a seat of St Pete City Council in 2017. He took an oral response to Jackson and Nurse about their experience and wondered what it brought to the community.

“All of them have been somehow involved in politics or education for a total of more than 50 years, yet they have done nothing to improve our quality of life or raise our standard of living.” , he said.

When asked about racial inequalities in academic performance, Givens said it was important for students to see themselves in the classroom, so he focused on recruiting and retaining minority teachers, especially black men.

“We need more men who teach our students not only things that will help them succeed in the workforce, but also things that will help them succeed in life,” he said.

Caprice Edmond is a science coach at Fairmount Park Elementary and is approved by the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association and the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association. She said she appreciates the role of school workers, but drew the line on them “dealing with the behavior of situations that can be handled by an administrator or school staff.”

The other candidates essentially agreed, although Givens said he didn’t believe they were needed in elementary schools.

This week, the Pinellas County School Board released a survey asking parents, students, and employees how comfortable they are to go back to personal classes this fall.

Forty-two percent of workers said they were “uncomfortable” with that opportunity, while the majority of parents / students said they were “comfortable” or “extremely comfortable” in their return.

Edmond said officials had to be “realistic,” noting how summer camps in St. Petersburg closed due to COVID-19.

Under Grego’s rule, the district’s diploma has risen to over 80 percent, up from eight percent since taking office in 2012. When asked what grade Grego earned, the only candidate who gave him an ‘A’ was a nurse gave, and said he has brought the neighborhood back from the time of the so-called “failure factories,” a reference to the Tampa Bay Times In 2015, five underperforming primary schools in the south of St. Petersburg will be exhibited.

Givens jumped on the comments.

“I want to be clear that our schools are not failures. The system has let our students down and we can solve it, adding that he gave Grego a ‘B plus’.

Jackson gave Grego a “B min” and Edmond gave him a “C”.

Nurse’s participation in the race has raised concerns among those who fear that with his high brand awareness, the black vote could be split among the other three candidates and he could win the seat, causing the school board of African American representation are robbed.

When asked about this, Nurse noted that the neighborhood is diverse, with about 20 percent of voters black.

“I’ll tell you that I represented a district in the city council that was about 50-50. I got more than 70 percent of the vote every time I ran because I spent a lot of time in the community trying to fix what I could fix, ‘he said, adding that he was in the most challenging neighborhoods in his district. time and understands “the full seriousness of my responsibility to reach the entire community.”

The seat has been held for the past eight years by Rene Flowers, who now serves on the Pinellas County Commission.

The election is on August 18, but if no candidates receive a majority of the votes, the two best candidates will vote against each other in November.