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Cunningham has the intelligence, qualifications

Since Kevin Cunningham was appointed to the Citrus County School Board last year, he has demonstrated that he has both the energy and ideas that are so vital to serve effectively in this position. Voters would do well to return him to the board for a four-year term.

Cunningham has an exceptional ability to analyze the wide spectrum of information that must be absorbed by board members. Once he has done that, he is capable of not only reaching sound decisions but of reaching them independently.

Cunningham is facing a formidable opponent in Mark Stone, who has mounted a well-heeled campaign to unseat Cunningham from the District 1 seat. Stone is a bright, amiable fellow who seems to have the best interests of the schoolchildren at heart, but his positions on some issues are unrealistic.

For instance, Stone advocates eliminating all sex education in schools. While there are many people who believe the curriculum goes too far in educating students about the danger of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, Stone takes it to an unwise limit. He believes that even sexual abstinence shouldn't be discussed in schools.

Stone also opposes Blueprint 2000, Florida's education reform law that emphasizes school-based management and some standardized curriculums. Stone sees it as "socialistic" and thinks it does not address the "moral" values children need to be taught. Such thinking is extreme. When it comes to teaching morals, the potential for confusing multicultural and economically diverse students is dangerously great.

And, like gubernatorial candidate Jeb Bush, Stone supports a public voucher system for private schools, which would allow tax dollars to be given to parents who choose to send their children to private schools. Such competition would not, as Stone theorizes, elevate learning in public schools; it more likely would destroy it both financially and academically.

Voters are fortunate they have a more reasoned, qualified candidate in this race. We strongly recommend Kevin Cunningham.

OPPORTUNITY TO REPLY

Mark Stone is invited to respond to this editorial recommendation. The reply must be received no later than 4 p.m. Wednesday and is limited to 250 words. Deliver to Jeff Webb, Editor of Editorials, Citrus Times, 3822 East Gulf to Lake Highway, Inverness, FL. Or fax to (904) 344-3121.

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