The race for the at-large Pinellas School Board seat pits a familiar face against a newcomer. Frank X. Pesuth, the Republican candidate, was an eight-year board member before losing his re-election campaign two years ago. John Sanguinett, the Democrat, is a social worker and advocate of child-abuse prevention who has not run for office before.
Sanguinett says he can bring a fresh perspective to the board.
"My background for the past 20 years has been in human services _ empowering parents, getting them to be responsible for what happens to their lives and their children's lives," he said. "I think that's a really important perspective."
Pesuth says he brings perspectives from both education and business.
For 30 years, he was a personnel manager for Honeywell. "I think this race is about leadership. It's about vision, and I also think it's about business experience," he said. "I see a vision where we prepare each child for what that child wants to be."
Both candidates support a move to give teachers and parents more say in how the school is run, and both say they think it is time to bring social service agencies into the schools.
Pesuth says he wants to reduce the dropout rate, get business more involved in the classroom, reverse the trend toward lower test scores and watch more carefully how the system's money is spent.
"This is a very good school system, but one that can be better," he said. "Those who don't have this vision are destined to support mediocrity."
Sanguinett says he wants more work done in dropout prevention, especially with younger children. He also wants volunteers to become more involved as role models for students, particularly minority boys. And he favors grouping the youngest students without grade designations, so those who fall behind aren't stigmatized and can catch up more easily.
"The school system faces the challenge of providing for homeless children, drug-involved children, developmentally delayed children and HIV-positive children," he said.
_ WILMA NORTON
The Pinellas School Board makes policy for nearly 93,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade and at least 33,000 in prekindergarten, vocational, technical and adult programs. Board members serve four-year terms with a salary of $21,983. All seven board members are elected countywide, but five must live in certain areas of the county.
JOHN SANGUINETT, 44, is executive director of the Exchange Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. He was director of children's services for the Pinellas Association for Retarded Children (PARC). He has a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida and is working on his master's degree from Florida State University. He has not run for public office before. He is married and has two children. ASSETS: Home, three cars. LIABILITIES: Mortgage, loans. INCOME: Salary.
FRANK X. PESUTH, 66, is retired as manager of staffing, community relations and communications at Honeywell. He is a management consultant. He has degrees from the University of Iowa, the University of South Florida and Nova University. He was an eight-year School Board veteran when he was defeated in 1988. He is married and has two adult children. ASSETS: House, certificates of deposit, stocks, insurance, annuities, savings, bonds. LIABILITIES: None. INCOME: Savings, certificates of deposit, retirement funds, consulting business, mutual fund.