Two men with very different backgrounds are seeking the District 2 School Board seat that Ruthann Derrico has held for 12 years.
Republican Carl Hansen, a semiretired Crystal River resident with a background in the military, business and education, faces Democrat John Troy, a working parent who is active in the electricians union.
The two men also have very different views.
Hansen's focus has been on making the school system more accountable to taxpayers while making it stronger for students.
"I care about education, the future of our children and the proper use of our taxes," Hansen said.
As a community college instructor, "I know where attention needs to be given," he said. "We have to stress fundamentals, establish standards and be sure that the standards are adhered to."
Hansen cites the controversial self-esteem-building curriculum as a case of focusing on the wrong lessons. "All that stuff is wonderful, but it doesn't mean anything if kids can't read," he said.
He said students should be regularly tested and should not advance to the next level until they have mastered their lessons.
Hansen has also campaigned on the need to be sure the district is getting the best services for its money. Hansen, who in 1992 ran unsuccessfully for a Crystal River City Council seat, recently served on a committee to examine Crystal River's budget for inefficiency.
Hansen also favors stronger lobbying efforts by the School Board on state education issues.
A 58-year-old New York City native, Hansen is a computer and business consultant and an adjunct instructor at Pasco-Hernando Community College. Previously he worked as a contracts manager with the Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council and a technical education consultant and instructor for Central Florida Community College.
He has a bachelor's degree in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a master's in business administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Troy, 40, is a St. Petersburg native and a journeyman electrician for Florida Power Corp. Troy has been an active member and officer in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 433 in Inglis since 1985 and served until recently as president and business manager.
A graduate of Northeast High School, Troy has taken university-level classes in labor and employment law.
Troy's focus during the campaign has been on improving relations between board members and the administration.
Troy touts his "real world" skills learned as a parent and in dealing with relationships between workers and employers.
"I have extensive background in dispute resolution," Troy said. "I just think my past experiences . . . will help."
He said his union background will not make him biased toward the teachers union. "I will be fair," he said.
The teachers union has endorsed Troy, and much of his campaign money has come from his own union and its various Florida locals.
Questions have been raised about Troy's union connection. Through letters to the media, Patrick Shipman, a co-worker of Troy and a former union member, has questioned whether Troy has the right temperament to do the job and whether he has told the public the truth about his background at forums and in his literature.
Troy responds by saying he has given true information about his education and work experience and has campaigned on issues he believes are important.
As for his temperament, Troy said his company relies on his ability to work through difficult situations and that will translate well to the job of board member.
Troy's platform includes the need to push more for partnership opportunities with local businesses and schools. He cites Florida Power's mariculture program, which works with the district's Marine Science Station, as a prime example of a corporation helping schools.
But Troy also said the district needs to be more mindful of providing opportunities for local companies to do business with the district. Though he agrees that the school system must award contracts to the lowest and most responsible bidder, he said that sometimes "most responsible" is the local business interest rather than the cheapest price.
The School Board term is four years, and the annual salary is $22,305.
School Board District 5
Where the candidates stand
Question Carl Hansen John Troy
Do you favor Charters offer good Opposes charter
charter schools? opportunities for schools but will follow
education but they the law
could drain money from
Do you support Opposes Parents are responsible
corporal punishment? for discipline.
Does the district Supports alternative Alternative school
need school/ education, undecided may be needed
alternative on its form.
How should Bonds or loans should Continue to pay as
construction be be a last resort we go
Should students Opt out Opt out for health and
opt in or opt out of sex/drug programs; opt
controversial lessons in for self-esteem
such as sex education? programs.
Source: The candidates