Log in Subscribe

Letter to the Editor: Residency and Ability


Whom would you rather have on the school board in Manatee County – a long-time resident in a certain district or someone who is much better qualified? I personally prefer the latter.
Thus, I prefer both Dr. Mary Cantrell and Frank Brunner. That’s why they recently took up residency in their respective districts. They want what’s best for Manatee schools – and they are better educated, have broader and longer experience, and evidence a much better grasp of what needs to be done to make our schools better and more cost-effective.
Some opponents – while admitting that Frank Brunner and Mary Cantrell indeed ARE abiding by the law – yet allege that they are not abiding by what they term the “SPIRIT OF THE LAW.” Are they claiming to have been mysteriously present back when the law was enacted, so they know for sure what “spirit” was there?
Did the lawmakers “goof” for not including the “spirit” of the law in the law? Didn’t they say what they meant?
The lawmakers COULD HAVE MADE THE LAW MUCH STRONGER – put more “teeth” into it. They could have required each school board member be a HOMEOWNER – rather than just a renter (as is Julie Aranibar). They could have required a MINIMUM NUMBER OF YEARS of residency. They could even have set a MINIMUM AMOUNT OF PROPERTY (INCLUDING SCHOOL) TAXES that a candidate paid per year – paying a “fair share” of the tax burden for education.
HOWEVER, THEY DIDN’T. Could it be that they were wise after all?
They realized that merely owning property (rather than renting) in a district does NOT make one the best candidate for the school board. Neither does being a long-term resident or paying a certain minimum amount of taxes, does it?
Thus, the seemingly minimum requirement – that is, establishing official residency – was intentional. Forcing candidates to own a home and/or to have lived for a long time in a district would, no doubt, DISQUALIFY some of the most qualified candidates.
I'd personally rather have better qualified persons - namely, Mary Cantrell and Frank Brunner – on the school board than less qualified incumbents who have been longer district residents. Wouldn't you?   After all, the WHOLE county votes for ALL school board members, and each member is supposed to work for the best interests of the WHOLE county – not just his or her district.
Respectfully submitted,
Randy Tucker
Manatee County Taxpayer


No comments on this item

Only paid subscribers can comment
Please log in to comment by clicking here.