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School boards tout achievements in culture

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District 3 incumbent Jimmy Rodato has been pushing the construction of vocational and technical schools for years, and when asked if he’s proud of his work, he always has a big smile on his face.

He credits the school, which will one day open at the airport, to former Senate Speaker Wilton Simpson.

But the challenges posed to school boards by COVID-19 and the vociferous opposition to efforts to limit the spread of suffering have meant it wasn’t all sweet and lighthearted.

Lodato is running for re-election against Shannon Rodriguez.

The 0.5-cent sales tax he promoted, launched in 2015, has brought $120 million to schools, said Lodato, with full accountability from a team of volunteers to ensure every dollar is spent correctly. Responsible.

“Safety is very important to me,” he said. Some schools have new units of School Resource Officers and Guardians in place to help SROs protect children.

Rodato said the district has purchased 50 new buses for transportation. (In fact, a recent school board agenda item is auctioning off a number of surplus buses dating back to the early 2000s.)

“I work in education,” he said, adding that the district’s budget can sustain economic ups and downs and inflation.

“We have to educate our children,” he added. “1,500 children graduate each year, but 500 do not go to college. Only 30% are using their degree to get a job.So where are we going?This is where we are going.

Lodato presented the artist’s vision of a vo-tech school, which he said has been working with Simpson since 2012.

Lodato said it intends to address the needs of children who are not attending college to develop work skills. Adjacent to Pasco Hernando State University, the County He Commission is also there.

“We are committed to education,” he said.

As for Critical Race Theory, Lodato said at the event and on the board that it doesn’t exist at school. Teachers have confirmed it’s not in schools, and the governor has banned it, he said.

Photo: Vincent F. Saft

HT-LODATO1-08XX – School Board District 3 incumbent Jimmy Lodato talks about his accomplishments at July’s “Politics in the Park” event.

Shannon Rodriguez is the parent of four daughters, three of whom are in school.

“As the owner of Hernando County’s core business, I am not afraid of crisis,” she said. It has the spirit, and it brings that problem-solving ability to the school board.”

She is vice president of the Hernando County Education Foundation, president of the Kiwanis club, and a Rotarian.

“We need Hernando County Board of Education to be financially accountable,” Rodriguez said, at a time when the cost of living is rising and property taxes are rising. “Members who work with county commissions to ensure that students and teachers have access to a first-class education system.”

The current board is raising taxes, defying the governor about masking, and offering an opt-out solution in the face of DeSantis’ custody ruling, she said. I didn’t hear a voice,” she said. “It takes parental and grandparental control to enable our parents to make their own decisions for their children.”

The county board can work together to make the system work and “create an atmosphere in which people want to retire rather than run away.”

Traditional methods of teaching in-person rather than online, such as shop classes, home economics, driving education, woodworking and cursive writing, are not bad and should be brought back to schools for students to sign, she said. She fills out voter registers and reads the Declaration of Independence.

“To parents and grandparents, I stand by your side on the school board and am ready to listen. To teachers and administrators, I become your partner. I will be the keeper of finances,” she concluded.