Volusia School Board candidates take on teacher shortage, banned books

Teachers’ pay, banned books and staffing shortages are among the many challenges that lie ahead for Volusia County School Board members.

The 10 candidates for the three open board seats on the Aug. 23 ballots were invited to a candidates’ forum Saturday in Deltona. Four participated. Voters did not hear from Jaclyn Carrell, Ginny-Beth Joiner and Georgann Carnicella in District 1, Jessie Thompson in District 3 or either of the District 5 candidates, Ruben Colón or Fred Lowry.

The event was hosted by the League of Women Voters of Volusia County and moderated by member Ann Smith. Questions came from league members as well as the public in attendance. A video of the full forum is scheduled to be posted to the league’s website, where voters can also access candidates’ responses to a questionnaire by clicking on the Vote411 icon.

Here’s a look at how the candidates who participated responded to challenging questions. Portions of answers are paraphrased.

1. Teacher and staffing shortages are a pervasive problem throughout Florida. Given the limited resources, what are two or three suggestions you have for the recruitment and retention of staff?

Jamie Haynes, a candidate for Volusia County School Board District 1, responds to a question posed at the League of Women Voters of Volusia County candidates forum on Saturday, Aug.  6, 2022, at The Center in Deltona.

Jamie Haynes: The recruiting and retention department within human resources has held 31 job fairs, advertised in colleges and CareerSource sites. “We are looking into the J-1 visa program and looking at bringing in individuals specifically in the areas of math and science, which are shortages, that can come in and teach here in the United States. … We’re also looking at a HealthSource piece to bring in paraprofessionals and our nurses.”

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