By Eric Daugherty
May 4, 2022 Updated 8:10 A.M. ET
FORT MYERS (FLV) – Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that triggers a referendum in Lee County on whether or not voters should elect the County Schools Superintendent.
Florida State Representative Jenna Persons introduced the bill (H.B. 497) that would trigger a referendum – a question for voters on a general election ballot – allowing voters to decide if the Lee County Superintendent will be elected or remain appointed.
Parents have consistently criticized the Board for being out of touch, and even hostile, to parents.
Persons told FLV that the bill, if passed, would enact a November 8, 2022 referendum on the general election ballot asking voters if the Lee County superintendent ought to be elected or remain an appointed position.
If on Election Day voters choose to put the superintendent to a direct election, they will be able to elect the next 4-year superintendent in the 2024 election.
“We have seen parents and community members more engaged than ever in ensuring that our School District provides the best education for our children. I have heard from many in Lee County who are demanding greater accountability from School District leadership. This local bill answers that call and gives the people of Lee County the opportunity to decide the question as to whether the Superintendent of Schools should be elected by the people rather than appointed by the School Board,” she said.
The Board rushed to appoint a new superintendent despite political uncertainty and Person’s potential referendum, which is well on it’s way to going on the ballot.
Four of the seven board members are up for re-election, two of which haven’t filed yet. Dr. Christopher Bernier replaced Interim Superintendent Ken Savage in February, who was appointed last year after Greg Adkins stepped down from the position.
Bernier was approved 6-1, with Melissa Giovannelli voting against: “We should be listening to community, and we should be waiting,” in reference to the new law.
Adkins stepped down after ‘LGBTQ’ policies were revealed by FLV Founder and Editor-in-Chief Brendon Leslie to be part of the code of conduct. Parents expressed strong outrage over the revelation, but Adkins claims his stepping down was unrelated.
The Board’s troubled past rings especially true with the covert inclusion of leftist policies in the code of conduct; one part of it read, “All students are allowed to be involved in school activities that are consistent with their gender identity.”
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