The failed Bartow mindset and the illusion of meetings

Late Tuesday afternoon, I was driving to Lake Wales for a Chamber of Commerce gathering when I got a call from a desperate Lakeland mother. I met her a few weeks back at a Valencia neighborhood function at the Larry Jackson Library in northwest Lakeland. At the time, I gave everybody there my card. I urged them to call me…

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My opponent is wrong: Jacque Bowen won’t be missed

Jacque Bowen was not an asset to this school system. I have discussed the performance of Polk’s outgoing Chief Academic Officer with in an incredibly diverse array of local stakeholder and activist groups, teachers, principals, and parents. Not one person openly praised her. They were and are numbingly consistent in their critique of her. All one needs to do is…

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The Business Voice/PCBA choice: “Major investor” or fixing problems?

The Lakeland Chamber’s “Business Voice” Political Action Committee (PAC) is about to start interviewing candidates for its endorsement. I’m scheduled for Tuesday. The Polk County Builders Association (PCBA) PAC is doing the same thing next week. It’s highly unlikely I’ll get either endorsement. My incumbent opponent Hunt Berryman has deep business and personal ties with both organizations. Bank of Central…

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Register by Aug. 1. Vote on or before Aug. 30. Everywhere in Polk County

As we travel the county and talk to people, we encounter some very understandable uncertainty about the rules and timing of voting in my August 30 School Board election. Here are the top three points we want to make. 1) Every registered voter in Polk County can vote for me. From Poinciana to Mulberry. From Frostproof to Polk City. The…

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The fraudulence of school grades

Quick: can you tell me how your school grade is calculated? There was a time a few years ago when I would dutifully trudge through the equation each year so I could point out its absurdities. I’ve since decided it’s not worth my time. The most recent edition of school grades came out last week. And I received an email…

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Lakeland educates the Polk School Board on technology bidding practices

This morning, Tuesday July 5, the Lakeland City Commission will consider a staff request to change its Disaster Recovery Facility Hosting provider. The current provider is DSM Technologies. You may recognize DSM as the same company that received more than $100,000 in non-competitive contracts from the Polk School District in 2015 for technology strategic plan development and staff augmentation, among…

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Two birds, one sign — or something

I’ll be joining our friends at the Polk Education Association to wave some signs Saturday morning on the sidewalk in front of the Southgate Publix from 10 – 11:30. We still owe some folks signs. If you’re able, and willing, come pick them up on on Saturday and maybe wave for a little while. If you can’t, we’ll be fanning…

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The DSM deal is good for David Robinson. Is it good for you?

Important update below in bold. Some time last year, former Polk Superintendent of Schools Kathryn LeRoy signed a contract with DSM, a Polk-based technology services provider. For full context, DSM’s owner and CEO David Robinson, who describes himself as a “ technology visionary,” is a major contributor to School Board Member Hunt Berryman. Berryman is my incumbent opponent in the…

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A diet without a menu: the Polk School Board’s unStrategic unPlan

The Polk County School District has a 2014-2018 Strategic Plan that is neither strategic nor a plan. It’s one of the many exploding gifts Kathryn LeRoy left behind for us to disarm. Nevertheless, the School Board is meeting today in a retreat to “review and update” this so-called Strategic Plan. So I want to explain to you — and board…

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Change needs to start with the School Board Attorney

The Polk County School District has a very serious problem with its attorney. Indeed, if I am elected, I will have little to no confidence in anything School Board Attorney Wes Bridges tells me. Two very recent events illustrate why. And they demonstrate the costly incompetence and bad faith with which Bridges too often serves the Polk School Board and…

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