Candidate Gail G. Cook School Board District 2 responds to questions

Submitted by Gail G. Cook

Nassau County School Board Candidate District 2

Gail Cook, Candidate District 2

What experience do you bring to this job?

“I have served on the school board since 1992.  Prior to that time I was a teacher, substitute teacher, parent volunteer and board member on SAC and PTO boards.”

What is your opinion of the textbook selection procedures in place for the Nassau County school system?  Are these procedures acceptable to you?  If not, what changes would you make and why?

“The state of Florida determines what books are up for adoption by the districts.  They write the specifications for the publishing companies and select the texts that are available for selection by the local districts.  Those selections are then sent to the schools for their evaluation and selection.  The selections are approved by the SAC and sent to the district.  Once all of the selections are tallied the one with the most overall votes are purchased.  To be eligible you for state instructional funding you must use one of the approved textbooks.  I have heard some complaints that the committees did not read through the Social Studies books.  I do know that when they evaluate they look for text information, teacher editions and supplemental materials that can enhance their use in a classroom setting.  Most participants are not only looking at the wording in the text.  If there are to be any changes then it needs to come from the SAC to the district SAC and then to the board to revise our procedure manual.”

In reviewing the current Nassau County School budget, what specific cost saving measures have you identified and/or what specific budget areas do you believe are underfunded?

“The budget is carefully developed by the Superintendent and our Chief Financial Officer following statutory guidelines.  They get input from schools and the heads of all the departments as to what needs to be funded.  Many times the departments will be asked to decrease their budgets to meet the funds that we expect to receive.  The budget always has projects that are budgeted, but those expenditures may not occur as other needs arise during the school year and the budget is amended.  This schools district is very conservative and is recognized in the state as being one of the most cost effective at delivering a high quality education for funds expended.  Our transportation and food service departments are recognized by the state for their highly effective delivery of service.”

Editor’s Note:  At the request of many of our readers, the Fernandina Observer submitted a list of five questions to school board candidates.  Since the election is almost upon us, we will post three answers today, and the remainder next Thursday for your review.  The Fernandina Observer is not endorsing any candidate.  Our goal is to inform and educate our readership. 

District 2 candidates are Gail Cook and John Pulice, and District 4 candidates are Kimberly Fahlgren and Russell L. Johnson.

October 11. 2012 7:02 a.m.