Billy’s powerful record and vision for racial justice, peace, and empowerment

On issues that many individual black voters prioritize in their discussions with me, I have the strongest 4-year record and clearest lifelong vision — not just of any School Board member, but of any elected official in recent Polk County history. Line up the records and vision; and let’s compare. We’re going to do that in just a second. But…

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Health officials cannot be less courageous than school workers, who cannot be less protected than health care workers

I’m receiving an overwhelming volume of feedback from parents and school staff alike about the entirely political and coercive push to drive kids and teachers back into physical schools at the worst moment in Florida’s horribly mismanaged pandemic response. This feedback ranges from deep unease and fear to “I’m sorry, but I have to retire. I can’t risk my life…

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Share the School Board debate, Will Harrell, Chairman of Lakeland First and founder of Citizens for Polk Education

I’d like to challenge Will Harrell, Jack Harrell, and Jeff Chamberlain to spend their $11,000 or more in dark campaign money sharing the recent School Board debate between me and their candidate. If they believe at all in the public good; if they care at all about your children or reopening schools safely; if they have any confidence in their…

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Watch the debate with my opponent; and let’s give a Civics lesson to Jack Harrell and Jeff Chamberlain

Here is the excellent and clarifying Lakeland Kiwanis School Board Debate that occurred today at noon. I’d urge you to watch it and read the essay that follows. The debate actually starts at about 10:00. Click the picture below to access. Everyone has a place in our Civics Just days after the 2016 election, I wrote an article called “The wages of…

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Dominance ritual: the state government’s insane political gambit has handed school staff great power — if they use it.

Florida’s education employees, in all their forms, union and non-union, could simply ignore Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s stupid, malicious, and toothless executive order. They could say: “Um, no, Commissioner. Here are the conditions under which we will voluntarily fill the schools you hate and want to destroy for money, but are also desperate to open for the short-term political and economic…

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We are the shoe: the strange referendum on what political business always said it wanted

There’s a very strange high level conversation playing out in my School Board election between me and some elements of what I call “political business.” It goes something like this: Political business: Education is super important infrastructure; and we need to change how the Polk County School Board has always done business. Why won’t somebody do that?! We’ve been begging…

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Transparency and trust matter more than ever in the COVID era, especially for schools

Since the postponement yesterday of June 30’s strange in-person public School Board meeting, I have heard and seen this question posed repeatedly: if it’s not safe for the public to attend a public School Board meeting, how is it safe to open schools?  There’s a simple answer to that question: it’s not “safe.” It won’t be “safe.” But that’s not…

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Limited in-person school starts July 8 for some rising 4th graders; so let’s see if we can make masks work

In-person school is poised to begin much sooner than most people realize — on July 8th. Masks or no masks; board votes or no board votes; the Polk County School District is planning to begin in person schooling at 12 sites. This grows out of the state DoE’s “reopening guidance” issued in conjunction with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press conference a…

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What is your voting plan for Aug. 18? If it’s vote-by-mail, ask for your ballot NOW.

My School Board election is part of the August 18 primary election. Key dates include: Now until August 8: Request vote-by-mail ballot. Link to Supervisor of Election request form here. July 16: First wave of absentee/mail ballots sent out to voters. The election begins on this day. That’s less than a month away. July 20: Last day to register to…

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A Polk schools reopening/COVID Q&A from a proudly active board member

 Let’s start with the two key quotes from Polk’s Chief Academic Officer Michelle Townley at Wednesday’s school opening task force meeting. You can and should watch the meeting above. These are what led to the public announcement that confused and alarmed a lot of people Thursday evening because it seemed to communicate the basic substance of these two quotes…

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