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An elected superintendent would be excellent for Lee schools

By Staff | May 26, 2022

To the editor:

The State Legislature has placed the question of an elected superintendent of schools on the November ballot.

As a teacher in 1972, we had an elected superintendent in Lee County as Superintendent Ray L. Williams was elected. He retired from the district and was the last elected. Ray V. Pottorf was the first appointed superintendent in 1977. This opened the door to 15 subsequent appointed superintendents and each one getting an increasingly outrageous salary with little if any improvement over the old system of election. The new Superintendent, Dr. Bernier is making $255,000 plus benefits. Mr. Pottorf started at $35,000. Since then, LCSD has averaged a superintendent every four years. One superintendent was shot in his office.

Ms. Jordan, District 4 school board member representing Cape Coral and North Fort Myers, and the board oppose the return to an elected superintendent. In a Breeze article she states:

1. We can hire better qualified personnel. Not with the statistics we see.

2. Someone other than an educator will run for school board. No. The Sheriff position has always been elected. They have been law enforcement officers just like the elected superintendents namely Ray Williams, an educator.

3. Ms. Jordan says we must educate the public on the impact of change. No, Ms. Jordan, you will not do it at our taxpayers’ expense like you and Dr. Atkins and the board did with the “rigged” half-cent regressive sales tax referendum. The inflation from that tax is filling the School District coffers and the district would not even share it with the City of Cape Coral Charter Schools. Recently, the City increased our tax on our LCEC electric bill to pay for a charter school bus barn.

4. The district spent thousands on public advertising the sales tax including handing out letters to every student at our expense. You will not get away with that again. The district also had a “group” of donors put up signs all over Lee County.

5. The self-fulfilling prophesy that an elected superintendent will be less qualified has no basis. Look at your qualifications, Ms. Jordan. Career Democrat politician having lost other elections since 2012, until winning the school board Dist. 4 seat in 2018. A caterer by trade, with 14 years education from what schools? No teaching background at all.

6.You and the other board members have wasted four years arguing with each other. We have ethics complaints, complaints from DOE, investigations to ad nauseum. Our students continue to get less than an adequate education from administrators who are making six figures and you and the board have created so many administration positions at the District Office that everyone is tripping over each other. The board gave all these administrators handsome pay raises. Many administrators are triple dippers. Meanwhile, the teachers and support personnel are “starving” for a decent wage in our rampant inflation. The board likes its pay of $45,500 for arguing with each other. Gov. DeSantis wisely cut your pay because it was more than the starting pay for a teacher.

What happened to civic duty?

Lou Navarra

Cape Coral

38-year retired educator

Lee School District

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