SWFL group pushes to delay decision on new Collier County Superintendent

WINK | By Jasmine Singletary | August 2, 2022


A Southwest Florida group is pushing to delay the decision on a new superintendent of schools in Collier County.

The Florida Citizens Alliance wants to wait until after the primary election because new school board members will be elected.

The group feels making a decision now will go against the will of the people.

Resistance and controversy at the Collier County School Board and they’ve barely started the process of selecting a new superintendent to replace Kamala Patton.

And that’s the problem, the process itself, more specifically the timing.

Jerry Rutherford, a Collier County resident said, “I think that if you continue on this process now that it’s a political move, not the kind of move you should be making.”

Jana Greer, a Collier County resident said, you can wait and not get into this and let an election cycle happen, whatever that might be. We respect that. I have signed a petition.

This petition was started by the group the Florida Citizens Alliance.

The petition demands the board wait to start the process of picking a new superintendent until after the election.

Keith Flaugh is the co-founder of the group.

“We firmly believe that the current school board has no business starting that process. Three of them are up for reelection,” Flaugh said.

Jennifer Mitchell, Chair of Collier County School Board said, the heavy lifting will be done by whoever’s in the seat after the November election comes and goes.

Mitchell said the school board must start now.

“To start any later than now would really put the district at a disadvantage in terms of attracting of great candidates,” Mitchell said.

The petition also claims that 40% of students don’t read or do math at grade level.

The school district flatly denied that statistics saying:

“Such a claim is a falsification of reality whose purpose is to undermine the integrity of the district.”

The Florida Citizens Alliance claims around 1,200 people have signed their petition.

Mitchell pointed out that that’s out of 250,000 voters in Collier County.

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