Voters have two well qualified candidates to choose from in the race for the District 6 position on the Polk County School Board.
Debra Smith Wright, who has nearly 40 years experience in public education, is running for her second term on the board.
Her opponent, Lynn Wilson, is a certified public accountant, employed at Polk State College as director of finance for the college’s foundation. He previously taught at the college for 16 years.
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Debra Wright began her career as a classroom teacher, and became an administrator in Polk’s school system.
She served as principal at Socrum Elementary, a rural school north of Lakeland. She introduced both Head Start and adult education at her school, and calls herself “a change agent.”
She spent two years in Broward County helping to turn around 14 struggling schools before returning to Polk when her husband was named to be the first superintendent of the Lake Wales charter school system.
She cites her interest and experience in bringing improvements to underperforming schools as a major contribution to her school board service.
She said she “brings more to the table” than her opponent.
“Schools are a business, but it’s about the children,” she told our editorial board.
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Lynn Wilson, challenging the incumbent, says the school board has two major responsibilities: “to provide quality education in a safe environment, and to prudently manage the finances.”
He proposes internships, apprenticeships, and mentoring to prepare students for success in the workplace.
Wilson criticizes the school board for floating a bond issue to pay for school construction that is financed by a half-cent local option sales tax, and faults the board for past problems in financial management.
While he says the school district’s new chief financial officer is doing a good job, he believes the school board needs a member with a strong financial background.
He says his CPA skills, along with his classroom experience at Polk State College, would bring another dimension of both financial and educational expertise to the school board.
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Debra Wright has served Polk’s schools well, and if re-elected will continue to do so.
Lynn Wilson makes a compelling argument for the value that his business and accounting background and skills would bring to the board.
This newspaper recommends election of Lynn Wilson to the District 6 position on the Polk County School Board.