2010 ELECTIONS - PRIMARY ELECTION COVERAGE
- Results: Collier County
- Results: Lee County
- EXIT POLLS: Exit poll results in Collier, GOP governor races
- VIDEO: Hiller wins primary for commission
- VIDEO: Coyle will keep his commission seat
- PHOTOS: Rick Scott beats McCollum
- PHOTOS: Kendrick Meek beats Doug Greene in Democratic U.S. Senate Primary
- PHOTOS: Fred Coyle defeats Lavigne Kirkpatrick
- PHOTOS: District 4 Commission race: Kirkpatrick loses to Coyle
- PHOTOS: Brian Bigelow leads Lee County District 2 commissioner's seat
- PHOTOS: Runoff for Collier School Board District 1
- PHOTOS: Rosanne Winter 2010
- PHOTOS: Georgia Hiller leads district two race
- PHOTOS: Rick Scott casts vote in Naples
- PHOTOS: Florida Elections
- STORY: One judicial race too close to call, Mann a clear winner in other
- STORY: PHOTOS: Rick Scott defeats Bill McCollum in Florida GOP governor primary
- STORY: David Rivera, Joe Garcia will face off in November election for Collier’s House District 25
- STORY: Coyle, Hiller win seats on Collier County Commission
- STORY: State Senate District 27 race: Benacquisto, Merchant locked in tight race
- STORY: Nuñez and Ruiz to face off in Florida House District 112
- STORY: Steven Teuber, Elinor Scricca out as new faces take majority on Lee School Board
- STORY: Incumbent Brian Bigelow wins Lee County Commissioner for District 2
- STORY: Alex Sink wins Democratic nomination for governor in Florida
- STORY: Former state House Speaker Marco Rubio wins Republican nomination for Senate in Florida
- STORY: Meek wins Fla. Democratic Senate nomination
- STORY: VIDEO/PHOTOS: Georgia Hiller wins Republican nomination for Collier commission
- STORY: Coyle beats Kirkpatrick for reelection to Collier commission
- STORY: Florida governor election: Rick Scott holds steady lead over Bill McCollum
- STORY: Collier School Board: Six candidates head to November runoff for three seats
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- VIDEOS: Videos about the 2010 Elections
- PRECINCTS: Where you can vote
- CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS: Editorial Board video interviews with Florida candidates
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- ENDORSEMENTS: Daily News endorsements for the 2010 Elections
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- SPECIAL SECTION: For candidate video interviews, map of polling places, photos and more stories about the 2010 elections.
MARCO ISLAND — Collier County School Board candidates at a forum this week sounded off about their stance on preventing intolerance and bullying in light of the “kick a Jew day” incident at a school last year.
A chance to hear candidates’ take on a proposed Marco high school was also a primary draw to the forum hosted by the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island on Tuesday night, attendees said.
Nov. 19, 2009 became known as kick a Jew day, when a student complained of being kicked because she was Jewish and several North Naples Middle School students were suspended for kicking other students based on differences, dislikes or the newness of the student to the school.
The 10 students who did the kicking, inspired by the an episode of the animated television show South Park, received one day of in-school suspension.
In March, the school board addressed the mission of a resurrected diversity committee that had been removed by Superintendent Dennis Thompson prior to the kicking event.
Candidates voiced their stance on the committee and if it should be reporting to Thompson or the board.
Candidate Joe Whitehead of District 5, which includes Golden Gate Estates and Immokalee, said committees representing the community should advise the board on any related policies.
“You kick anyone as an event, it should be followed by a ‘put someone in jail’ event,” said the former Naples Police Department detective.
The two-term District 1 incumbent Pat Carroll said it’s more of an operational issue than a policy issue and that’s why the committee appropriately reports primarily to Thompson.
“The board should take control and keep control, period,” said Eric Cox, a retired business man also vying for the District 1 seat, which includes East Naples and Marco Island.
The five Collier County School Board members are elected by voters countywide in nonpartisan races for staggered four-year terms.
Voters will choose three candidates, one in each of the three districts with open seats, during the primary election Aug. 24.
Roy Terry, who is vying to stay in Richard Calabrese’s District 5 seat after being appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist in January, thought the committee would be more effective if students were also taught positive character traits in class. Terry was formerly a principal at Lely and Palmetto Ridge high schools.
District 3 candidate Barbara Berry, who served on the school board in the 80s and early 90s and on the county commission in the late 90s, said the committee should answer to the school board.
“The power of the school board has been usurped by the superintendent,” said Berry, vying for Steven Donovan’s seat.
Buxton, running as a successful businessman, was absent and represented by his campaign manager, Bob Murray. Thompson is appropriately acting as the CEO of the organization, said Buxton’s representative. “It’s a good committee. Let it work,” he said.
Ryan, a retired teacher and administrator with 30 years experience in Immokalee, said she would like to see more committees with staff and the community working together.
District 1 candidate Roseanne Winter, who became popular as a former principal at Naples High School, took an even stronger stance.
“This superintendent doesn’t like committees. He doesn’t want the public involved in making his decisions. It takes too long. If he can’t handle it, he needs to be replaced,” Winter said.
District 5 candidate Mary Ellen Cash, an instructional specialist, said the diversity program was lacking and more bullying prevention is needed.
Marco residents Jessi Dawson, Greg Havemeier and Kathy Campbell said they came to the forum to hear about a proposed high school.
“I’m optimistic. It sounded like most of them are behind it on the surface anyway,” Havemeier said of the charter school.
Tract K is an 11.6 acre vacant piece of land near Tigertail Beach deeded to the school district by the island developer Deltona Corp. at a cost of $10. It has no deed restrictions, is zoned residential and has construction limits due to regulations protecting bald eagles there.
Carroll, who once opposed selling the property, now recommends control be given to Marco Island City Council because of several land use issues with the proposal to put the charter high school there.
Ryan, Whitehead and Cash took the strongest pro stance on the charter school proposal. Berry and Terry said they would be more amenable to the idea if Lely and Golden Gate high schools were considered for magnet schools with specialties such as social science, math or arts. Winter said she needed to do more research on those issues as did Cox. Buxton questioned the feasibility of the charter school and whether the land was large enough for a school.