PASCO COUNTY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDANT RACE 2nd. Mark Antokas07/23/04
INTRO: In a continueing story brought to you last night, WMNFÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mark Antokas explores the deepening involvement of partisan politics and infighting into what should be a simple voter issue. Who best to run the Pasco County School District, the largest in the nation still electing a Superintendant.
SCRIPT: Six hundred million dollars annually, fifty-seven thousand students, the largest employer in Pasco County. The largest restaurant, the most expansive bussing system, the largest construction budget, and two very large unions. No doubt there is a fight going on for the position of school chief. Chuck Rushe, a republican, has been tapped by retiring School Superintendant Democrat John Long. Rushe says that Pasco County Republican Executive Committee chairman Bill Bunting has it in for anyone who had supported the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Penny for PascoÃ¢â‚¬? initiative. Chuck Rushe. Roll Tape:
Bunting denies the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Penny for PascoÃ¢â‚¬? is a problem for him and brings up editorials by St Pete Times editors taking issue with him. Roll Tape:
Bunting brought in a write in candidate, James Griffin, before the Democrats had their own candidate, effectively closing the August 31st primaries to Democrats. Roll Tape:
WMNF asked Democratic Attorney Chuck Kalogiannis about this loophole. Roll Tape:
Republican Senator Mike Fasano says that Rushe does not fill the bill. Roll Tape:
Marge Whaley is running for re-election as a non-partisan candidate for school board member. Whaley says that theres just too much politics at play and that the position of Superintendant should be appointed by the board. Roll Tape:
Retiring Superintendant, John Long, says that Fiorentino has name recognition, but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all. Roll Tape:
Alice Delgardo, the Democratic candidate for Superintendant, sums it up. Roll Tape:
Had the Democrats not put up a candidate, Pasco CountyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s next School Superintendant would have been a Republican, decided this coming August by republicans. Now, everyone can vote. This is Mark Antokas, for WMNF radio news.