On March 24, Pinellas County School Board incumbent Janet Clark will host her campaign kick-off. Clark says she’s running for re-election to continue the work she began eight years ago when she became a School Board member.
A little bit about Janet Clark — she is a St. Petersburg resident and former middle school special education teacher and since 2004, a Pinellas County School Board member.
Among her achievements, Clark is credited with simplifying the district’s vision statement. Working with a decade-old vision statement that was lengthy and difficult to remember, Clark thought, “It made sense to envision exactly what we wanted for our students.”
“100% student success,” is the new vision. Says Clark, “It’s a simple but meaningful statement. Everyone knows what we’re aiming for now.”
Since Clark was elected to the Pinellas County School Board, the school district has faced serious budget issues. Forced to cut $104,000,0000 million between 2006-2010, the district continues to struggle with balancing unfunded state and federal mandates with local needs.
Clark says that she is known as a watchdog on budget issues. First, by insisting the district carefully follow the enhancement dollars from the local tax referendum, and second the district needed to hire an outside auditor.
Another top priority Clark has is a focus on middle school reform and is currently watching her vision for the middle school students she used to teach come to fruition. “While the initiative is still taking shape, I fully expect a renewed focus on what happens in middle school. Both the good and the bad.”
The district’s middle school initiatives are focusing on providing the structure and support necessary in the early adolescent years. “We’re seeing a lot of children who were doing fine in elementary school lose their way once they enter middle school. There are obviously problems we’re not providing solutions to,” said Clark.