Kids issue in race for board
Jeff SchmuckerBROOKSVILLE - When choosing who should sit on Hernando County School Board, one question raised is how much weight a candidate carries in the race if he or she has children in the school district.
Published: October 25, 2012
Published: October 25, 2012
In the race for District 4, candidate Gus Guadagnino has touted his experience as a business leader who sits on numerous educational boards and has helped raise more than a million dollars for schools.
But he has no children in the school system.
Robert Neuhausen, in comparison, has three children in the school system in each grade level and said he first became involved in the district through them.
In fact, once they leave the school system, he said he wouldn't seek to stay on the board for another term if he's selected in the next two terms.
Guadagnino downplays that he has two nieces in the school system and that he knows many other children throughout the schools through family friends. What matters, he said, is the candidate's experience.
"If anything, I think having children in school might make people consider whether favoritism might happen," Guadagnino said. "When you have children in a certain school, maybe you'll think that those problems are like that in every school.
"I don't know, I don't think that way, but I can see where some voters might think having children in the school system is important."
Neuhausen said Tuesday he believes school board members should have a more vested interest in the school system and added that he believes most school board members don't spend enough time in the schools.
"I think too often board members have knee-jerk reaction to what goes on at the meetings," Neuhausen said. "I'm in the schools now. I know what other parents are going through because I'm going through it with them."
School Board Vice Chairman Matt Foreman, who was elected to his seat during the August primary, said the question of having children in the school system does come up when talking to voters.
Whether the issue is important enough to sway them is a 50-50 split in his estimation.
"There are voters who have expressed to me that you don't have your ear to the ground and know what's going on unless you have a kid in the system," Foreman said. "Others think that not having kids in the system allows you to operate free of personal bias and can approach things objectively.
"Neither of those things is necessarily true," he said.
Meanwhile, both Guadagnino and Neuhausen agree that the issue could play on voter's minds on Nov. 6 and both can agree they simply hope the voter chooses wisely — which they hope leads to a vote for them.
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