John Dick prevailed, winning a fourth four-year term on the Monroe County School Board, edging out political newcomer Jim Doran. Dick pulled down 54.24 percent of the vote and 8,878 votes compared to Doran’s 45.76 percent and 7,491 votes.
“I ran hoping to pay it forward,” said Doran, after the results were tallied. “I wish the students, the board and teachers well. I wanted to be on the board for the sake of students and teachers. I hope the board will take that to heart.” When asked if he would run again, he said he was unsure.
“Four years is a long way down the road,” he said. “I really don’t know.”
Dick accepted his win graciously.
“I am very humbled by the support that I got out of people coming out for me,” Dick said. “A lot of people worked hard and a lot of people helped me and I am greatly appreciative.”
Dick said the number one priority going forward is safety.
“School safety is number one right now. Then we need to get down to the business of education,” he said. Other issues he will be looking at are the number of students enrolled, and finishing the three school projects currently under construction.
Dick will be celebrating the win and thanking supporters on Friday, Aug. 31 starting at 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion Post in Marathon.
Although Sue Woltanski was elected to the school board unopposed, she still attended the gathering at Harvey Government Center in Key West to congratulate all the candidates.
Monroe County voters were split 60 percent to 40 percent in favor of passing the Increased Security Funding for Monroe County Schools.
“I would have liked to see more support, but this is all right,” said Monroe County School Board Chairman Bobby Highsmith on election night. “It gets the job done.”
The tax levy is designed to raise no more than $1.5 million per year. School officials purposely included the “up to” language so as to levy only enough tax to pay for the gap between what’s provided by the state and the actual cost of the school security.
On Aug. 21, the Office of the Governor announced an extra $58 million to be distributed statewide — the remainder of the $67 million in unclaimed funds to support the Guardian Program, which trains and arms volunteer staff. That is on top of the $700,000 allocation for Monroe County from the $162 million distributed statewide for school safety and the mandate to put a school resource or safety officer in every school in Florida.