With just over six weeks to go until the general election, the Chronicle recently posed a number of questions to Linda Powers, incumbent and candidate for Citrus County School Board District 5 seat. For additional questions we posed to Faherty, visit https://tinyurl.com/4wz2d2d4.
Question: You and your opponent believe that the mental health of students, staff and administration is important. How could the district better address the issue of mental health and how could it be funded?
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Answer: Simply reducing the number of juvenile Baker Acts is not a solution. The solution is access to care. Mental health counselors must be accessible:
They must be in the schools.
They must be in the neighborhood.
They must be in the county.
Parents, caregivers and staff need to know who they are and how to reach them for help.
We need to ensure that all of our schools have a list of resources for their students and families, teachers and staff; and this list should be shared so that everyone has access to the help students need.
The list should also be updated regularly as things change.
Access to care is the biggest problem. Building relationships with our school resource assistants and tutors can help build trust, but their primary role and responsibility is the safety of the child. It means listening and acting accordingly.
Parents and/or guardians also need to be more involved when the student is in crisis.
For an immediate crisis – a private or school mental health counselor does not provide crisis intervention. This is the responsibility of our acute care centers.
Having excellent grant writers and community resources is essential to keeping our community mental health centers and resources accessible.
Question: Based on Citrus County’s growth, particularly in recent years, is the school district sufficiently prepared for the future with respect to potential rezoning or the need for a new school?
Nominee: Joseph “Joe” Faherty.
Answer: sufficiently prepared? Almost. It is important that we look at 5 to 10 years when it comes to strategic planning. I believe we can predict student population growth based on current community trends as Citrus County continues to grow. If our class sizes continue to grow above the best-practice student-teacher ratio on a school campus, it is imperative that we consider a redistricting plan or get the ball rolling for one or more new schools. If elected in November, I pledge to put myself on track to ensure that our teachers, students and staff have the best opportunities for growth and development.
Now that the primary election is over and Joseph “Joe” Faherty steps up to Gen. E…
Question: Based on the recently approved 2022-23 fiscal year budget for the school district, do you think taxpayers are getting the most bang for their buck? If so, why then? If not, why not? What areas do you think could be improved? Do you believe the district should place a sales tax referendum for additional funding on the 2024 ballot?
Answer: $317.4 million is a lot of money for anyone, but the general distribution seems to be significant for an enrollment of 16,000 students. Having a clear understanding of Citrus County’s tax base is important because it helps the council understand the impact of taxation on the county.
After completing the review of the new year’s budget, it is important to weigh the costs and benefits before committing resources. The district budget should be ambitious, but also realistic. It’s also no secret that a large percentage of any budget is directly related to staff and salaries.
When discussing the impact and possibilities of having to raise taxes, there should be a clear and specific objective for the revenue generated and outline how it would benefit our students. I would like to know how the funds benefit the learning environment and our student population.
With early voting underway through Saturday August 20 and the primary election slated for T…
Question: Do you believe the district should place a sales tax referendum for additional funding on the 2024 ballot?
Response: Regarding a 2024 tax referendum for additional school district funding…before committing to a response one way or another, all information should be provided and reviewed, including comments public.
Joe Faherty is running for seat 5 in the Citrus County School District.