Collier School Board candidates get money from teachers, Realtors, lawyers

Dave Carpenter, the qualifying officer for the Collier County Supervisor of Elections Office, said that while commission races are bringing in more money, School Board candidates “are trying to run on the same kind of money they did 20 years ago.”

Their coffers might not be getting any bigger, but Collier County School Board candidates have brought in a significant amount of money for the 2010 election.

Elections 2010 Page:

— To win an election, Collier County School Board candidates need votes.

To get those votes, they need money.

“It’s hard to run an effective campaign with little money,” said John Colman, assistant professor of politics and chairman of the Department of Politics at Ave Maria University. “The money is merely a means to get one’s message across.”

But for the local School Board races, candidates are having to run campaigns without much monetary help.

Dave Carpenter, the qualifying officer for the Collier County Supervisor of Elections Office, said that while commission races are bringing in more money, School Board candidates “are trying to run on the same kind of money they did 20 years ago.”

Their coffers might not be getting any bigger, but Collier County School Board candidates have brought in a significant amount of money for the 2010 election.

■ CLICK HERE FOR RELATED STORY: Collier County Commission candidates have raised nearly $300,000 total

■ CLICK HERE FOR THE DATABASE OF CONTRIBUTIONS

In the District 1 School Board race, former Naples High School Principal Rosanne Winter has outraised her competitors, incumbent board member Pat Carroll and retired businessman Eric Cox by $6,000 or more.

But it’s not just about totals. Colman said voters have an interest in the people who contribute to individual candidates.

“I am not sure how important it is to them, but in terms of transparency of the election, I think they would like to know that.”

Winter has raised $12,236 and her campaign contributors read like a Who’s Who of Naples High School teachers and parents, including previous Golden Apple teacher Janet Glancy and Teachers of Distinction Chelon Perez-Benitoa and Martha McKee.

She also has donations outside the school, with $2,250 of her total coming from teachers’ union political action committees (PAC), including the Collier County Education Association and Broward Teachers.

Carroll has raised $6,271.40 for her campaign. Among her contributors are Realtor John R. Wood, who contributed $250 to her campaign, and Connect Now co-chairman Alan Horton, who contributed $200 to her campaign. Also contributing to her war chest are local attorneys John Passidomo and Jeff Fridkin, who each contributed $100. Fridkin represented Ray Baker in his lawsuit against the district after he was removed as Collier schools superintendent.

Cox trails his two competitors, raising $3,398 for his campaign. The majority of those funds — $2,950 — come from Cox and his wife, Connie.

In the District 3 School Board race, Naples Journals Publisher Reg Buxton has amassed $18,035.37 for his campaign, the most money of any of the candidates for Collier School Board.

Although Buxton has loaned his campaign $5,000, he has received hefty donations from several supporters, including Commissioner Fred Coyle, who supported him with $500, and Commissioner Jim Coletta, who gave Buxton $100. Former Collier School Board candidate Joe Paterno also is supporting Buxton with $200.

Retired educator Kathy Ryan has collected $2,650 for her District 3 campaign. Her biggest supporter is Sheilah Crowley, who serves as the education chairwoman for the League of Women Voters of Collier County. She gave Ryan $500 toward her campaign.

Ryan also has some support within the Collier County School District. Social Studies coordinator Jack Bovee gave Ryan $50 toward her campaign, as did Terry Trimble, the retired director of staff allocations for the district.

Former Collier County School Board member Barbara Berry has amassed $8,172.94 for her campaign. Among her contributors are the Collier Tiger Teachers Association, the political action committee of the Collier County Education Association, which gave her $500. Her largest individual contribution came from local attorney Kevin G. Coleman, who gave her campaign $500. She also received $150 from John R. Wood Realtors and $100 from John R. Wood himself.

In the Collier County School Board race for District 5, candidate Mary Ellen Cash has the biggest campaign war chest in her race at $13,950. However, she provided the majority of that money — $10,800 — to her own campaign.

Her opponents, Collier County School Board member Roy Terry and retired Naples police detective Joe Whitehead, also have raised substantial funds.

Terry has raised $13,853. Of that, $1,750 comes from teachers’ union political action committees around the state, including the Collier County Education Association’s PAC, which gave Terry $500, and the Duval Teachers PAC.

Terry also has collected contributions from Naples High School softball coach Robert Iamurri, who gave Terry’s campaign $100, and Collier County Education Association executive director Jonathan Tuttle, who gave Terry’s campaign $195.

Whitehead has collected $9,525 for his campaign, $3,264 of which came from his own money. But Whitehead also has some well-known supporters, including former Naples Councilman John Nocera, who contributed $500 to his campaign, and Collier Commissioner Tom Henning, who contributed $150 to his campaign. Naples Councilman Gary Price gave Whitehead’s campaign $250.

In the race for Lee County School Board District 1, John Traube has raised the most money — $5,100 — and spent the most —$3,970.76. Challenger Arnold Gibbs has raised $4,705 and spent $2,125.46. Candidate Mary Fischer raised $2,400 and spent $2,234.69.

In the District 4 race, School Board Chairman Steve Teuber has raised $7,575 for his campaign and spent $2,993.59. Challenger Don Armstrong has raised $1,623.50 and spent $1,621.95.

In the Lee County School Board District 5 race, School Board Vice Chairwoman Elinor Scricca has raised $15,327.78 and spent $6,524.77.

Challenger Thomas Scott has raised $13,302.72 and spent $4,730.46.

Whatever happens in the Aug. 24 primary, Colman said, elections like seats for a school board are important to the community.

“Local politics influence the nature of life in any community,” he said. “The people who serve on the School Board have a significant influence in the nature of schools. ... People think the state and federal government has more impact on daily life. That is not necessarily the case.”

* * * * *

Staff writer Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster contributed to this report.

Click here to load this Caspio Online Database app.

__ Connect with reporter Katherine Albers at www.naplesnews.com/staff/katherine-albers/.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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