Runoff set for Tuesday

Published 4:30 am Saturday, July 10, 2010

With a hotly contested gubernatorial race on the ballot, interest in Tuesday’s primary runoff may be higher than it was for the June primary, if absentee votes are any indication.

“We have 145 absentee ballots cast, which is more than the first round,” Escambia County Circuit Clerk Ken Taylor said. “Some of that may be due to the fact that it is summer and people are on vacation.”

With a local school board race on the Democratic ballot and a gubernatorial runoff on the Republican ballot, interest is high for both parties, Taylor said.

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“We’ve had considerable interest,” he said.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday throughout the county.

The Democratic ballot has two races on tap: the District 4 school board race between Stephanie Agerton and Bo Brantley and the attorney general’s race between James Anderson and Giles Perkins.

The Republican ballot features three statewide runoffs, for governor, commissioner of agriculture and public service commission.

Bradley Byrne and Robert Bentley will face off for goernor, after Bentley fought off a primary challenge by third-place finisher Tim James. Meanwhile, Dorman Grace and John McMillan are seeking the nomination for commissioner of agriculture, and Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh and Stephen Evans face off for Public Service Commission.

Agerton has served as a teacher with 25 years of classroom experience. Her education and experience qualifies her for the position, she said.

“I have a double master’s degree in education, the first in elementary education and the second in educational leadership,” Agerton said. “To obtain a degree in educational leadership one must learn the laws that govern education, which will be of value when making decisions that affect District 4. After 25 years of teaching grades K-9th, I also have the experience needed to know how these decisions will influence the students and teachers in the classroom. I’ve seen thousands of classroom situations over the years, which gives me a better understanding of the tools needed for our students to become successful citizens. Although head knowledge is very important I feel I also possess a ‘heart for students,’ which is the key ingredient when meeting the needs of all students.

A.G. “Bo” Brantley has been a business owner for many years and believes his experience with budgets and personnel management has equipped him for the position.

“I am a business administration graduate and successful business owner,” Brantley said. “I have experience in budget and personnel management as well as business management. I am currently involved in the schools and in the community and have the trust of the current school officials. I have the time, resources and enthusiasm (for this job).”

Agerton said funding is the biggest concern facing the school system today.

“Having more needs than funds to supply those needs is probably the biggest concern at the present,” Agerton said.

Brantley agreed with funding issues but also feels other important issues are facing the county’s school systems.

“Some of the issues are space in the schools and the classrooms,” Brantley said. “Budgets, the lack of resources and drop outs are also issues.”

Agerton addressed the issue of revenue for the school systems saying available funds should be used directly for students.

“Since it appears that our revenue is not increasing at the rate we all hoped for, I think it is vital to use our educational funds in a way that will directly impact the learning of our students,” Agerton said. “Over the years I’ve served on every budget committee in our schools. I’ve written several budgets and have a clear understanding of needs versus available funds and because of my classroom experience, as well as my business experience, I believe I can be helpful in directing our funds toward avenues that will have the greatest positive impact on our students.”

Brantley said making the most of funding available is one way to ease problems.

“Fine tuning budgets and considering other income opportunities is one way to handle the issue,” Brantley said. “Working very closely with the current officials, from the parents and teachers up, to get their suggestions on the best and most feasible places to put the money where it will be most beneficial to all is needed. Offering additional training and cross-training of all personnel would be of benefit.”