Lee Swift says that what distinguishes him from his opponent is experience. “I’ve been a board member for 16 years. I know the issues facing the district and have the experience. I have knowledge of the budget. I have knowledge of the way public education works in Florida. It takes time to learn, and a lot of people don’t take the time.”
One of the difficulties the board deals with says Swift is how the budget is adopted. Schools already are in
session, but the budget is not yet final because, “the public has not had a chance to hear it”, says Swift. “The
hearing will be in the first week of September, but we will already be in the third month of the budget.”
An issue that concerns Swift is maintaining the high ranking Charlotte County schools received as the district
faces declining revenue. “Of all of the things support quality teaching that goes on in the classroom, how many
things cam be cut before it affects what happens in the classroom?” Swift asks. “Is it one thing, or two, or none?”
Swift is also concerned about how state-mandated class size restrictions will affect schools and the classroom.
An amendment approved in 2002 by Florida voters, mandates all the number of students in a classroom per grade level. “If there are 18 students (the maximum) in 5 kindergarten classes, that is 90 kids. “If one more comes, that is 91 and the school needs to add one more kindergarten, and there will be six classes, five with 15
students and one class with 16 students,” says Swift. Students and classes would be disrupted as they are
shifted to accommodate the new student. What would happen if a kindergarten student leaves the school? Should the school go back to five classes to save money but once again disrupt the students by shifting the classed, asks Swift.
Swift is in favor of an Amendment 8, which will modify the present class size amendment. Amendment 8 will allow schools to average class size, and also increases the number of students per classroom. “Amendment 8 will give school districts flexibility without disrupting the kids”, says Swift.
Swift is married and has two daughter who graduated from Charlotte County Schools. He graduated from Vanderbilt University, and was honorably discharged as a lieutenant from the U. S. Army. Swift is a realtor and owns a property management company. Swift’s campaign has a website, http://www.electleeswift.com/Index.html