Pasco board candidate stakes out campaign positions
The election is still nearly nine months away. But Dr. Marc Yacht has already begun his push to take a Pasco County School Board seat from incumbent Steve Luikart.
Yacht, who led the county's health department, has started making speeches -- primarily to Democratic clubs -- and recently sent out a set of his talking points on where he'd like to lead the district.
He pointedly opposed some of the recent votes that Luikart, a retired principal rounding out his first term, has made on controversial issues.
For instance, Yacht said he would have joined chairwoman Alison Crumbley against a cell phone tower on the campus of Seven Oaks Elementary School.
"There is much controversy over the carcinogenic risks associated with Cell Tower radio frequency emissions," he wrote. "Without confidence that children faced no potential risk, I could not vote for these towers and there are many on Pasco County school properties or near them. I would be very interested in an ordinance to ban them from school properties."
Yacht also raised concerns about support of the Common Core, which Luikart has vocally backed. The board recently adopted a resolution urging Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature not to abandon the standards, which have come under fire lately.
"I have great reservations about Core Standards," Yacht wrote. "The objectives are admirable but the sanctions are unrealistic and will undermine progress. FCAT had similar problems. Now, CORE Standards. Again I support the objectives; the devil is in the detail."
He questioned the value of charter schools, challenged the notion of holding teachers responsible for failing children as "simplistic," and suggested that home schooling should be scaled back.
"Although Home Schooling web pages tout the successes, I fear too many of these students fall behind in mathematics, science, history and reading skills," Yacht wrote. "I would encourage more interaction with home schooling families and advocate returning those children to public education for academic as well as social integration."
Luikart has yet to begin his campaign in earnest. Candidate qualifying officially begins the week of June 16.