Three seek to replace Stacy for School Board District 1 seat
Marion County School Board member Nancy Stacy’s decision to not seek re-election to a third term has inspired three possible successors to seek her District 1 seat on Aug. 18.
Shelia Arnett, a healthcare industry consultant who ran unsuccessfully for the board two years ago, has said her experience in business can bring much-needed unity to the fractured board.
She also believes the school district needs stronger discipline and anti-bullying policies and pledges to make public schools safer. She also sees the district’s budget issues, as related to COVID-19, as the biggest challenge facing the district, and promises to bring fiscal responsibility to the job.
Allison B. Campbell, communications director for the Community Foundation of Ocala/Marion County, argues that she is uniquely positioned to understand how to improve education.
She notes that she is the only candidate with children now in the school system. As a corporate executive and small business owner, she says she understands what employers want in workers. As an adjunct professor at the College of Central Florida, she sees first-hand how county students are educated, she adds. And as a doctoral student, she argues she understands the educational challenges created by COVID-19. She proposes improving learning by boosting student attendance, working to manage the district’s budget better and making students better communicators.
Lori Conrad, a 25-year elementary school teacher at varying grade levels in Marion County, says her experience in the classroom and in dealing with multiple superintendents and School Board members over that time gives her insight the others lack.
Conrad, too, wants better accountability for student behavior and attendance policies. She also pledges to work for preserving teachers’ instructional time and reducing county-based testing. Additionally, she argues for putting more nurses in schools, boosting classroom funding, and advocating for arts, agricultural and vocational programs in schools.
School board races are nonpartisan. Board members are elected countywide but must live in the district they represent. The winner must get 50-percent plus one vote to avoid a runoff election in November.
District 1 primarily covers areas southeast and southwest of Ocala. Members serve four-year terms and are paid $40,286 a year under the state’s population-based formula.