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Sunday, Mar 01, 2015

Sweeney jumps in school board race


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BROOKSVILLE - District 1 school board member John K. Sweeney filed for re-election Wednesday.

Sweeney's filing followed that of Mark C. Johnson, the first candidate to file for the District 1 spot. Johnson also filed last week, just days ahead of the incumbent.

Sweeney said that although we live in challenging times, he is proud of the work the school district has done to weather the storm and plan for the future.

"Our graduation rate has increased by 20 percent, and I expect it to pass 90 percent within five years." Sweeney said. "We continuously strive to acknowledge and reward our education professionals. Salaries, once ranked at the bottom of the state are now in the middle, and we attract the best and brightest."

Sweeney said careful stewardship has enabled the district to keep teachers in the classroom, while many districts have enacted significant reductions.

Sweeney said he has introduced a new type of construction that saved money for the district; submitted draft legislation to improve exceptional student instructional delivery, which was later adopted; and successfully lobbied to adjust the funding formula, resulting in greater access to capital funds.

"As our legislative liaison, I am proud to work closely with Sen. Wilton Simpson, Rep. Rob Schenck, Rep. Jimmie Smith and Congressman Rich Nugent," Sweeney said. "We recently received $1.5 million for Adult Career Education and have opened the Suncoast Technical Education Center as a result."

Sweeney's opponent, Johnson, is chairman of the board of directors for Communities in Schools Hernando County, which is a dropout prevention program that works one-on-one with at-risk students.

He was also a member of the board of directors on the Boys and Girls Club of Hernando and the Hernando County Anti-Drug Coalition, a member of the Chamber of Commerce since 2009, and a member of the Alpha Phi Sigma honor society.

Johnson is a licensed private investigator operating locally in Hernando County, and he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice administration from University of Phoenix.

Also vying for seats on the board are District 5 incumbent Cynthia Moore and challenger Robert Neuhausen, as well as District 3 candidate Elizabeth Narverud.

Supervisor of Elections Shirley Anderson said a state law takes effect in November requiring candidates to file monthly financial reports, rather than quarterly reports.

To view campaign finance reports, go to

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