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Letter to the Editor: It's A.B.B. for Me!


These initials regard the Manatee County School Board District 4 race and stand for: Anybody-But-Brunner. Why you might ask?

In my opinion, re-electing Frank Brunner to the Manatee County School Board would be a huge mistake on the part of Manatee County voters. Mr. Brunner has already served on the Manatee County School Board from 1996 through 2006. During Mr. Brunner’s last three years on the school board, he served with Dr. Roger Dearing as the superintendent. Most Manatee County residents remember this “era” part of the “good old boy” network of school administration politics.

During the “reign” of Dr. Dearing, the school board members for the most part would agree to every wild scheme that the “Good Doctor” would present to the board. This included having the School Board sue Manatee County to the tune of tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees. From the news articles I have read it is my understanding that the school board's financial “woes” began during Dr. Dearing’s term.

Even with Mr. Brunner’s experience on the school board, I highly doubt he can recite what the duties are of the district school board. The reason I can make this statement is because the “Powers and the duties of district school board” (Florida Statutes # 1001.42) are numerous. I would encourage not only Mr. Brunner, but also all current and potential school board candidates to look and learn what their responsibilities are/would be.

So many of us think that the superintendent of schools has the “final say”. Not so; nothing, repeat, nothing is done without school board approval. During our financial troubles, it was as if all the “blame” was being directed toward the superintendent when in fact the “fault” should actually be shouldered by an apathetic district school board. We are “doomed” to fail again in the future if we do not learn lessons from the past. A school board member should investigate and question issues before just “going along” with the superintendent’s recommendations. It is a tremendous responsibility to be in charge of multi millions of taxpayers’ dollars.

Of the 27 items listed in the Florida Statute above, the one item that got the Manatee County School System in our financial mess was:

Item # (12) FINANCE.
  (b) It is the duty of the school board district members to approve, present, and submit an annual budget ...
  (d) It is the duty of the school board district members to require an accurate account is kept of funds ...                               
  (f) Financial records and accounts. — Provide for keeping of accurate records of all financial transactions

I will not vote for Mr. Brunner because he is reportedly renting a home in district 4 just so he could qualify to run in that district; this is so wrong. Having the endorsement of past “good old boy” school board members, is also definitely not a plus. In my opinion, he is nothing more than a “Career Politician”, and will bring “business as usual” to the district. I believe he did not learn from the past, lacks any new ideas and does not offer any real concrete solutions.

“You cannot fool all of the people all of the time”


Carl J. Schnabl
Manatee County


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