School Closures Are A Hot Topic In Race For PBC School Board, District 2

There are three school board races on the ballot next month and the race for the District 2 seat is in our Election Spotlight.

It's being vacated by Board Member Chuck Shaw and three candidates are vying for the position, including David DiCrescenzo.

He's a safety director for a New England-based construction company, who says that NOT having a background in education is actually a good thing. That's because DiCrescenzo believes that much of what's happening in our country right now can be traced back to the current public education system.

"I see disrespect for our military and police. I see disrespect for education itself in a lot of cases. But I see cities being burned down. I see statues being torn down and I see all this bad stuff going on."

He says he also sees bad decisions being made by the school board.

"I totally disagree with them for not opening the schools. The parents said, and have said, 'We want you to open the schools.' I don't understand why a seated board of people would say to the parents, 'Too bad about you. We're not opening them'."

Virginia Savietto, who taught at Lake Worth High School and has a 9-year old in public school, also spoke about the decision to keep schools closed.

"There's no better education than in school, in-person education."

But she spoke about the importance of protecting the elderly who may come into contact with a child who might contract the coronavirus at school.

We told Savietto about studies that show young kids are not the super-spreaders that adults are and the CDC Director saying there are worse health effects for children who are kept home.

"Right now we have to go with what we have. And what we have is that we're going to start virtually."

And if elected to the school board and the issue comes up again?

"I will have to see how we're doing as a community, what the parents want at that time and what the teachers want at that time. At this time, I think it's safer for all of us to stay at home as much as possible."

Alexandria Ayala is an aide to County Commissioner Robert Weinroth and a self-described "product" of three local public schools. On the topic of keeping schools closed.

"I admire the board for making that tough decision. The first thing I did was go to the community. I, through my campaign, conducted a survey of residents...teachers, parents...constituents of District 2."

Ayala says nearly 63 percent of the almost 15 hundred respondents preferred a virtual opening, so she presented that information to the school board.

That being said, once kids are back in their classrooms, if there's another wave...Ayala says things would have to be different.

"We would have to then continue building on opportunities that are available for students to come to brick and mortar schools, because the achievement falls would be just way too large. We'd lose a whole year plus of education and that's just not acceptable."

Hear more from the candidates in the audio players above.

Photo: Getty Images

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