LETTERS: Choose competence, not grandstanding, in School Board election

Also in letters to the editor: City Council candidate Pontieri responds to criticism; veteran gives a shout-out to Flagler County Veteran Services.

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  • | 7:00 p.m. October 8, 2022
  • Palm Coast Observer
  • Opinion
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Choose competence, not culture war grandstanding, in School Board election

Dear Editor:

I am sorry to say I know few satisfied with the performance and reputation of Flagler Schools over the past two years.
We fell from an "A" district in 2019 to a "B" in DOE grading, with several schools slipping and only one improving.
At the same time, we endured the chaos two School Board members wrought by their performances, process abuses, and extreme "culture war" positions. 
This was destabilizing and demoralizing to teachers and staff. 
When a private company's leadership foments chaos and uncertainty, they lose their best and brightest employees to competition.
And so it is in the public sector. 
Our school system is our largest employer by a very large margin, and the past two years have been chaotic and uncertain. 
Meanwhile, teacher shortages are pervasive. We are in a "seller's market" for educators, and our best are at risk — risk exacerbated by poor board leadership.
Luckily, one of the above board members ran for County Commissioner and lost handily. 
The other, despite a huge advantage in funding plus outside help from extremist PACs, was vanquished in the primary.
Political affiliations in nonpartisan races are not secrets, and in this primary, Republicans outnumbered Democrats by over 60%. Yet Sally Hunt, a centrist Democrat with an education and business background, won.
Her victory was not a partisan victor; it was a community victory. 
This November, our community must make the right choice again.
A transplant Realtor from South Florida with no background in education, no degree of any kind, with a checkered financial past, is running on the same platform as she who was rejected in the primary.
Luckily, we have an eminently qualified choice in Courtney VandeBunte.
An FSU graduate, she has several year's teaching experience, the bulk of which were right here in Flagler County where she grew up. 
Her work with the innovative i3 Academy at FPC resulted in selection as Teacher of the Year. Incidentally, i3 is a great model for future Classroom to Career initiatives.
She supports governor-approved B.E.S.T. Education Standards, understands budgets, and is committed to regaining our "A" grade while operating within the guidelines and legislation of the state of Florida.
She is endorsed by many experienced and prominent community leaders of ALL political stripes.
Courtney VandeBunte is clearly the better candidate.
Our children and grandchildren are counting on another community victory.
Vote Courtney and give that to them.

Jake Scully

Palm Coast


Pontieri: My pledge to represent all residents

Dear Editor:

Ms. Mary Zito’s recent letter to the editor merits a response. She does what sadly happens hourly in politics these days – selectively picking a few statements from a candidate while ignoring many others to advance her own political opinions and sow seeds of doubt about my fitness to represent all citizens of Palm Coast.

Let me be perfectly clear. I did not support the election of Joe Biden to the presidency. I disagree with most of his political stances and worry daily about the direction of our country with him as our leader.  However, he is the President of the United States, and I do not deny that fact.

I have been very candid about my previous comments, and reading the same articles, stories, and opinion pieces cited by Ms. Zito in her letter demonstrate conclusively that I have never failed to address these accusations head on. Instead, I have showed the maturity and reasonableness required for leadership as Palm Coast charts a course through choppy waters. 

If voters honor me with their vote for City Council here in Palm Coast, my focus will be on their needs – local infrastructure, drainage, road improvements, lowering taxes, and preserving our quality of life.  I’m certain I will not have the time or the desire to engage much in national political debates.  

As an attorney, I have represented — and will continue to represent — the legal needs of people from all backgrounds, regardless of their race, income level, sexuality, or political affiliation. As a business owner, my husband and I have employed a diverse group of individuals, and we value every single one of them because of their diversity, not in spite of it.

I hope our residents will consider the entirety of my personal and professional accomplishments as reason to support my campaign as I continue to try to make a positive difference in our community — for everyone.

Theresa Carli Pontieri

Palm Coast

Editor's note: Theresa Pontieri is a candidate for Palm Coast City Council, District 2


Kudos to Flagler County's Veterans Service Office

Dear Editor:

I would like to extend a thank you to Assistant Veterans Services Officer Eric [Flores] for meeting with my wife and I to discuss various benefits available for veterans.

We would like to thank him for going out of his way to make us feel comfortable while discussing such things as funeral arrangements, disability benefits and tax issues.

We had the deepest appreciation for his excellent mentoring and knowledge on all veterans matters. Any subject we mentioned, he was able to provide accurate information and advice.

His knowledge, thoughtfulness and attention to detail was impressive. Eric is one of the Veterans Service officers at the Flagler County Government Services Building.

He is an asset to all veterans and an excellent resource. His thoughtfulness and attention to detail clearly showed!

It was a pleasure meeting him and would highly recommend him to other veterans. We sincerely appreciated his time and effort on our behalf. 

David Ceglowski

Ormond Beach

Editor's note: Reach the Flagler County Veterans Services Office at www.flaglercounty.gov/departments/veterans-services or 386-313-4014.



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