In an effort to help you make informed decisions during the General Election, ABC Action News has reached out to dozens of candidates running for office. The following statements have been submitted to ABC Action News by the candidate. Every candidate was given the same set of questions. These are their responses in his/her own words.
Name: Karl Nurse
Office: Pinellas County School Board, District 7
10 years – St. Petersburg City Council
9 years - Tampa Bay Water board/Chair
8 years - St. Petersburg Planning Commission,
4 years - Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority,
3 years - Chair – CONA (Council of Neighborhood Associations)
6 years - President, Old Southeast Neighborhood Association
6 years - Legislative Aide, Florida House & Senate
Why should voters vote for you?
Voters should support me because I “turn ideas into action” according to the Tampa Bay Times. My decades of experience serving on public boards has taught me how to make change, implement new ideas and save money.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
1) Close the achievement gap before we promote our smallest children.
2) Provide every high school student with a post-high school learning plan so they have a pathway to good jobs.
3) Increase the spending efficiency outside of the classroom so we can redirect the savings to the classroom.
What are three key messages of your campaign?
Because I have run a business, currently with 48 employees, through 4 recessions, I know
how to save money. I understand that we need to focus on the youngest students to close the achievement gap early. 60% of high school graduates do not graduate from a 4 year college. Therefore, we need to provide many more paths for them to earn a good living.
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
Reducing poverty for the next generation is my passion. We do this by improving schools as noted above.
As it relates to the role you are seeking, how has that governmental body handled the Covid-19 pandemic? What would you do differently/the same in handling both the public health risk and the economic recovery?
The school board was boxed in by the State and so had to open traditional schools. The plan is good. However, the implementation has been quite bumpy. More efforts should have been made to reduce the number of teachers who teach virtually and traditionally. Some rooms are big enough to allow both social distancing and 25 students.
This would have allowed some teachers to only teach virtually. Training with new software should have been available earlier. Training in methods to switch between live students and computer students is clearly needed. Sanitation systems have broken down at many schools.
In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?
The school board helps to create the “culture or environment’ that can be more inclusive. A focus on closing the gap by 1 st grade can change the dynamics for the better. The school board approves the books that students use. More attention is needed in literature and history books to be sure students get a well rounded and inclusive education.
Teachers are being instructed on better ways to defuse issues without embarrassing students.
This is important.
What motivates you to run for public office?
My advocation for my adult life continues to be an effort to leave the community better than I found it. I have volunteered and worked primarily in lower-income neighborhoods.
I believe better schools provide the best leverage to reduce poverty and provide a positive future for the next generation. I would like to help make this a reality.