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Coulter easily turns back challenger // SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 4

Democrat Pam Coulter easily won re-election in Pasco School Board District 4 on Tuesday, sweeping past Republican challenger Liz Dorp.

"I'm just really excited. I feel really good," said Coulter, who hosted a victory party at her New Port Richey home.

She had to take a break during a brief telephone interview Tuesday night to say goodbye to guests who wanted to offer congratulations and support for her next four years.

"I'm just so pleased," she said of what appeared to be a sizable margin of victory. "I've had so many people who have supported me."

Coulter, who is a full-time board member, said she thinks that she is in touch with what's important to the public.

"I really do think the issues I've brought up . . . are the issues people are concerned about," she said.

Coulter has pledged to continue to work for stricter discipline and higher standards, the two top issues in her platform. She supports Saturday detention and other alternatives to suspension and has spoken out consistently about the need for higher academic standards.

Dorp could not be reached for comment.

Dorp, owner and operator of Richey Academic Services, is a member of Citizens Organized to Support Traditional Instruction, which began as a political action committee called Citizens Opposed to Sales Tax Increase.

The group, known as COSTI, was organized to oppose a sales tax referendum that would have raised money to pay for school construction and renovation.

The referendum was resoundingly defeated, and Dorp and fellow COSTI member Kathy Livermore went on to run for the School Board. Livermore was defeated in the primary.

Dorp decried the district's curriculum, saying classroom methods contribute to discipline problems. She dislikes the district's policy of removing disruptive students from regular schools and placing them in alternative schools.

She also denounced the school employees union, saying its officials don't have the best interests of teachers at heart.