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Tampa Bay Times Recommends Jeff Larsen for School Board

Voters will elect at least one new member to the Pinellas County School Board, as incumbent Linda Lerner decided not to seek re-election after serving 28 years. There are two countywide seats and two district seats on the Aug. 28 ballot, and there are strong candidates in each race. School Board members are paid $44,163. They serve four-year terms, and the races are nonpartisan. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers advance to the November election.

Jeff Larsen | District 2, countywide

Former Tarpon Springs City Commissioner Jeff Larsen stands out for his enthusiasm and clear ideas, and he would bring new energy to the School Board.

Larsen, 41, served eight years as a city commissioner and was one of the commission’s most thoughtful, diligent members. He teaches eighth-grade intensive reading at Gulf Middle School in New Port Richey and has two sons in Pinellas public schools. He wants to make the school district more accessible by holding board meetings at more convenient times and helping parents navigate school choice programs. He wants to improve conditions for teachers by soliciting more feedback, improving evaluations and conducting exit interviews to better understand why employees leave. He would tackle the achievement gap by first focusing on teacher retention.

Incumbent Terry Krassner, 66, of Largo has served two terms and says the district is headed in the right direction. She acknowledges some challenges such as over-testing, but she offers few ideas for improvement. Her experience as a classroom teacher and principal have been positives, but she seems to look more backward than forward.

Lisa Cane, 31, of Palm Harbor owns a performing arts academy and is focused on increasing arts and music education in schools, noting how they aid learning and could help narrow the achievement gap. She also wants a return to basic courses such as civics and geography.

Krassner has been a knowledgeable, well-intentioned School Board member, but it’s time for a fresh perspective and a stronger leader. For Pinellas County School Board District 2, the Tampa Bay Times recommends Jeff Larsen.

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Jeff Larsen for Pinellas School Board, District 2.
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