Crafting a districtwide plan for student discipline, with input from teachers and others, will lift teacher morale and help Pinellas get back on track, said School Board candidate Greg Hunsinger.
"It seems like the district has its own policy, each school has its own policy, each classroom has its own policy. And there's just confusion," Hunsinger said. "We need to have the discipline plan not restricted to so many steps. This will increase morale. Teachers are having trouble getting the time to teach."
Hunsinger, 59, is running for the at-large District 3 seat now held by Peggy O'Shea. He retired from Pinellas schools in 2008 after 35 years, most of that as a science teacher at Osceola Middle. He grew up in St. Petersburg and graduated from Boca Ciega High. He has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from USF and a master's in administration from Nova Southeastern. He is the son of former School Board member Calvin Hunsinger, for whom the Clearwater school is named. He has two adult sons.
Hunsinger said he's running for his grandson, a kindergartener at Northwest Elementary, and to represent other parents. He said he had no particular criticisms of O'Shea but said the district would be better served by someone with experience in the classroom. "I'm sure she's a fine person," he said, but "I think her experience is not extensive enough in what we're trying to do."
Also at the top of his list: more time, more input and more resources for teachers. He said teachers are forced to waste valuable time with unnecessary meetings. He said there is a widespread perception that district decisions are made without teacher input. "I think we can do better with communication," he said. "Go to the schools. Talk to the people. That's what I'm about."
Hunsinger said the recent and proposed budget cuts haven't focused enough on central administration, which he called top-heavy. He said he wouldn't lay off people but would let attrition take its toll. "These are drastic times," he said. "I believe everybody needs to bleed the same."