The Clewiston News

School board candidates debate live

HENDRY COUNTY — In preparation for the Aug. 28 primary election, the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce hosted a Facebook Live event where candidates running for Hendry County School Board responded to a series of questions.  Serving as the moderator was the chamber’s Executive Director, Hillary Hyslope. For disclosure, “the candidates were all given our questions ahead of time so that they would be able to really think them through and answer to the best of their ability” stated the Chamber in a Facebook comment.

Stephanie Busin

Kicking off the event was School Board District 4 incumbent Stephanie Schneider Busin challenged by Mercedes Perdomo Reese. Following in the second segment was School Board District 5 incumbent Jon Basquin challenged by Maureen Cervino Quintero.

The question that really boiled down to the candidates’ viewpoints was “In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing our education system and school board, and how would you plan to overcome it?”

Mercedes Reese

School Board District 4 candidate Mercedes Perdomo Reese responded, “Biggest Issues are of the teachers and retaining them. We need to help teachers not feel so overwhelmed. We need good qualified teachers. We need to try and recruit from within, and help teachers gain their certifications, and keep them here in our community”

School Board District 4 incumbent Stephanie Schneider Busin said, “In my discussions with teachers, issues of increasingly severe student behavior and the lack of appropriate available resources. I propose a solution to restructure our youth developmental academies to become centralized schools with intensive behavior and mental health services that our lacking in our current traditional campuses. This will help create a better learning environment.”

Maureen Quintero

School Board District 5 candidate Maureen Cervino Quintero stated “We all need to unite, I think we’re all a little divided right now.The school board, the superintendent, teachers, all need to be united, because a sinking ship doesn’t really go anywhere. A team working together keeps a boat afloat. A lot of open communication and setting similar goals is a big part of that.”

Jon Basquin

School Board District 5 incumbent Jon Basquin said, “Our schools face a lot of challenges in today’s society, from violence, to racial discrimination, to gender identity. There are a lot problems our kids are dealing with that we didn’t have to deal with. So as board members and even more so as parents, I feel that we need to help our kids, and step in with our kids, and take responsibility for our kids and their actions and not blame things on our school system so much.”

In a phone interview with the chamber’s Executive Director, Hillary Hyslope, said, “we are pleased with the turnout and responses to the Facebook Live event with Hendry County School Board candidates. We are excited to host more events like this in the future so our community can make educated votes in this upcoming election.” Over 2,000 viewers have watched the event and it is still available to watch on the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page.

Clewiston’s Chamber of Commerce plans to host another Facebook Live event like this for the Hendry County Property Appraiser race ON Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. Another event will also be live streamed for city commission race with public forum at the John Boy Auditorium on Oct. 18 at 6 p.m.

Remember to cast your vote on (or before) election day Aug. 28!