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General Election

Nov 04, 2014

11days until next election

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Tampa Bay Times Endorsement

Times recommends: Johnson, Rowden and Duval for Hernando School Board

Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:03pm

The Hernando County School Board needs an overhaul. Individual members are ambivalent toward children's safety, display little conviction for trying to match revenue with a capital plan topping $200 million, and issue public statements contradicting their own votes. On the Aug. 26 ballot, there is one open seat, and two incumbents seeking re-election in the nonpartisan, countywide races open to all voters. If no candidate collects 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will be on the November ballot. Voters should elect candidates committed to public education, bettering student achievement and working to ensure schools aren't short-changed by fiscal policies tilted toward special interests.
District 1, Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson, 64, a private investigator, is the best candidate in this race. He has been heavily involved as a volunteer in antidrug coalition and dropout prevention programs and wants to bolster the district's high school graduation rate and its vocational offerings to build a better-educated workforce. He advocated for student safety in speaking out publicly at board meetings for restoring courtesy bus rides for children living more than a mile from their elementary school, and now wants to extend the program to include more students. It's a can-do attitude the other candidates lack.
Two-term incumbent John K. Sweeney, 51, can legitimately point to his work obtaining an extra $2 million from the state for the Hernando County School District, via a program for smaller districts, as a significant accomplishment.
But, much of the rest of his recent record is disappointing. He voted against providing bus rides for elementary school children living more than a mile from campus and failed to lead on the impact fee issue (though he voted with the majority to ask for higher fees from the county). In an interview last week, Sweeney said he has never been a fan of impact fees — one-time charges on new homes to offset public infrastructure demands from growth — and said waiving the fees allows the county to better compete economically with other counties. That's nonsense and nothing more than naked political pandering.
Also, Sweeney's role in a grade-changing scandal still has not been resolved publicly. He said he did nothing wrong in acting as a parent and wants a pending employee investigation to be expedited. He displays no sense of personal responsibility in this issue and instead blames: a teacher for losing his son's assignments two years earlier; an unidentified employee for printing a 750-page exam; an error-filled computer test program and someone else for changing his son's grades. So much for accountability.
The entire episode should give voters pause about re-electing Sweeney to a third term.
Donald Whiting, 68, is making his second run for public office after an unsuccessful 2004 county commission race. He is invested in the community, having owned and operated Whiting Insurance for 32 years and has a record of civic volunteering.
But Whiting's ideas are simplistic: More safety by adding skirting around portable classrooms and putting deputy call boxes on school campuses to provide a visual crime deterrent because officers could show up at any time to phone in a report from the field.
In the Hernando County School Board District 1 race, the Tampa Bay Times recommends Mark Johnson.

 

 

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Endorsed by Hernando Classroom Teachers Association

I have been endorsed by the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association. Their support is needed and appreciated in my effort to win this seat on the School Board.

 

 

 

 

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October 12, 2014

Updated Issues

3D MManufacturing in Hernando Schools

There is no limit to imagination

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Sat Oct 18, 2014

Jammin in the Oaks

8:00 PM
Regency Oaks Clubhouse
4445 Breakwater Blvd, Spring Hill, FL 34607

 

 

 

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August 26, 2014

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On to the General Election

Tonight we prevailed and we will win in November. I need your support and help more than ever to fight the deep pockets of my opponent

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August 17, 2014

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Forum August 15th, 2014

This is an edited for length video of my speech on August 15th 2014

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August 11, 2014

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Why I am Running for the School Board

I am ethical, honest and have integrity. I have no hidden agenda. My sole interest is to turn the school district around by taking politics out of the school board, accessing long range needs in terms of vocational and technical skills, working more directly with the County, and bringing more fiscal responsibility to the district. I am a prior member of the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Hernando County, former member of the Hernando County Anti-Drug Coalition, and the current Chairman of the Board of Communities in Schools of Hernando County, a national drop-out prevention program currently operating in Hernando and Central high schools, and have started a new program in Springstead High School to begin this fall.
My skills, dedication, and ability to work well with administrators, teachers, parents, students, and elected officials indicates I am the best candidate for the school board.

 

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August 5, 2014

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Robo Call Today

There is a Robo call from the 9.12 Group being generated endorsing me for the School Board. I am in favor of fiscal responsibility in the School District as well as less unfunded mandates. I believe Tallahassee needs to get the politics out of local education and let the professionals do their jobs.


Let the local school districts decide where to spend funds and lets revamp the funding formula that favors larger more affluent school district at our expense. Every district deserves a fair equal share of the available funding.


We can do better, more technical and vocational training lets reduce the non-graduation rate and ensure the future of Hernando County!


I have been endorsed by West Central Florida Federation of Labor, Hernando Classroom Teachers Association and the Tampa Bay Times.

 

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July 11, 2014

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Politics in the Park Hernando County

Hernando needs leaders!

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July 11, 2014

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Politics in the Park Hernando County

Ranking in Per Student funding!

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July 11, 2014

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Politics in the Park Hernando County

New targeted industry

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July 11, 2014

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Politics in the Park Hernando County

Teach useable skills!

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July 11, 2014

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Politics in the Park Hernando County

Employer needs have to be met!

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July 11, 2014

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Politics in the Park Hernando County

26 % Non-graduation Rate of Hernando county

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July 11, 2014

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Politics in the Park

My skills

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July 5, 2014

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Pictures at HIgh Point 4th of July Parade

Mark Johnson and Volunteers for my Campaign after the Parade at High Ponit

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June 23, 2014

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Lets getter done

With two opponents in my race for the School Board it is more important than ever to be sure you vote on August 26th. With my background in helping children and students for the past six years, I am best qualified to hold this office.


As a member of the Hernando County Anti-Drug Coalition I worked on the SWAT program (Students Working Against Tobacco) and the Hernando County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. I was a member and director of the Boys and Girls Club of Hernando County. We provided a Power Hour Program where students after school are given a structured environment to complete homework assignments along with needed playtime. The benefits are palpable.


I am currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of Communities in Schools of Hernando County (CIS), a national drop-out prevention program. CIS is a very successful national program that is cost effective for the school district. We provide various services to meet challenges faced by at-risk students including tutoring, counseling, mentoring, backpack food programs and more. The difference an interested and caring adult can make is amazing and has been shown to lower our unacceptable non-graduation rate of 26%.


CIS works one-to-one with the at-risk students to help them graduate and change behavioral issues. CIS has successfully impacted 250 students in two high schools in Hernando County this past school year and will be providing services to at-risk students at a third high school this coming fall semester. Late March this year CIS was requested to provide services to the third high school.


My skills include analytical, interpersonal, and business skills. I have demonstrated and proven ability to analyze student needs, ability to work with diverse board members to achieve common goals, and ability to work wisely and prudently within budgetary constraints.


I need your vote!


If you wish to help me achieve a better, stronger, more viable school district, please volunteer and or donate any amount you can, $5, $10, $25 or more. I need 300 yard signs. $25 will buy 3 signs towards our goal.

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June 6, 2014

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Endorsed by the West Central Florida Federation of Labor

I was endorsed by the West Central Florida Federation of Labor

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May 17, 2014

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Food Truck Fiesta Volunteers

I just wanted toe express my thanks for the Event Staff Hornets who volunteered their time at the Food Truck Fiesta at Weeki Wachee last night. These students of Weeki Wachee High School worked tirelessly to help visitors and vendors alike. I arrived late, I was at the Operation HeartF.E.L.T. Fund raiser prior to arriving. These wonderful volunteers helped my wife setup and later manned our table so we could grab some food form the trucks, all done with smiles and humility. Thank you to all the Hornet Volunteers and Event Staff who worked this event

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April 21, 2014

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Meet Mark Johnson!

My campaign is just starting. I will need volunteers in the upcoming months to help get my message out to voters and I need financial support to win a seat on the School Board.

There are several issues that need addressing and this School Board has been reactive and late in seeing problems rather than proactive and progressive. Take the busing problem that exists today. The State cut funding to “Courtesy Busing”. This is the busing of children within two miles of their school. Walking to school isn’t bad for you but the lack of planning is. Some students cross heavily traveled streets to get to school. The schools themselves were designed to handle bus traffic of ten to twenty vehicles. Now over 400 hundred cars are dropping off children at various locations. What has occurred at schools where there is a high density of students living in close proximity to the school is a Queue of several hundred parents dropping off students at the same time.

Remember the students are checked into the school, for safety. This is not a drop and run situation each student is check in, as it should be in lower grades. The problem becomes the one hour to hour and half wait these parents endure to drop off a child. Many are often late for their own jobs and choose between dropping off children at school and losing their income, which one will win? Not the child. I am working on a potential solution to help relieve this waiting issue. It is not the only solution that will work; but coupled with other options on the table it will help.
In attempting to alleviate this problem I have been working with both the School District and the MPO and I am being told this is a first where two County agencies are collaborating to solve an issue. Imagine no cooperation between different divisions of local government. Unacceptable.

Another issue is the reduction in income from the State for school funding. It is tied to real estate values and taxes. After seven and half years of declining income they wake up and decide something has to be done. I agree we need a lobbyist for the smaller sized school districts. I agree we should be part of a consortium to purchase goods and services at reduced prices and alternative funding needs to be explored. My concern is the reactive approach by this board. Why did it take so long to see or prepare for the future of the children of this county, our most precious resource?

There are other important issues the rating of our School District has fallen from 20th to 35th. Our high schools have a 30% non-graduation rate, totally unacceptable! The dropout rate is twice the State average at 3.7%. One-third of high school graduates do not find work. Why? No jobs. Not the right skill sets? These need to be explored and my thoughts on these subjects will come soon.

Please click on "volunteer" to sign up or call 352 593-6746.

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