Mid Bay News asked all Okaloosa County Commission and School Board Commission candidates to submit more information about themselves ahead of this Summer’s primary election.
All candidates were asked the two questions below:
Mid Bay News did not edit, alter or otherwise change the responses received from the candidates.
This Submission is from Okaloosa County Commission Candidate for District 1, Jerry Buckman.
Niceville, Valparaiso, Bluewater Bay and Eglin Air Force Base Residents who are registered to vote regardless of party affiliation can vote in this election. This is a universal primary. 1,
Hello Voters! I’m Jerry Buckman, candidate for Okaloosa School Board District One, and here’s why you should vote for me: I recognize that school districts across the country—to include ours—are battlegrounds for America’s future, and I believe we are in grave jeopardy of losing our country. I’ve lived long enough to know America’s greatness has eroded in many ways, and the erosion is accelerating with forces on the left openly instigating and forces on the right passively facilitating. Politicians are at the root of all troubles, either causing them or letting them happen. We’re on a path to where my grandkids and your kids/grandkids will have a harder time in life than I’ve had unless we citizens stand up.
I’m a retired Air Force Colonel with 34.5 years in uniform serving in Special Operations. I also served as a contractor for almost five years. That’s nearly 40 years of service to our country. I’ve been a resident of Okaloosa County since 1980. I drove a school bus 1984-87 as my college job. I remember how great our district was back then. My stepsons graduated from Choctaw in 1989 and 1991. My granddaughter graduated from Choctaw in 2019. I have another granddaughter entering Choctaw this year, and another will start Kindergarten next year. My interest and alarm began in 2014 when attending my granddaughter’s school events. I was appalled by the decrease in standards and student behavior. I was concerned enough to become a substitute teacher just to see what was going on for myself. I subbed all over the south end of our county to include the Okaloosa Academy. After a break to be a contractor, I resumed subbing back in January. The difference in our schools from 2014 to post-Covid is nothing less than startling. Our District is not enforcing behavioral policies, and our students are allowed to misbehave without adequate consequences. Child abuse and other investigations promised by my opponent, Dr. Lamar White, were not done even though he claimed they were. Our schools are in decrepit condition. We do have some relief in improvement projects via the half-cent tax, but a school replacement plan does not exist. Despite massive growth here since the early 90’s, replacing our ancient schools was not planned for. Our School Board is not holding the Superintendent accountable for executing established policies. Four of five school board members are career educators, and the School Board/Superintendent appear to function harmoniously as a single entity. Now that I’m a candidate, I see the local political influences in our school district, and they are completely unacceptable to me. The bottom line is our students, teachers, and support staff are suffering in chaotic, moldy conditions while my opponent/the incumbent is detached and allowing it all to happen. No one is being told the entire truth, and I cannot sit by quietly while this continues. I’m your grassroots very conservative public servant with the strongest moral courage that doesn’t need my salary and will instead use all of it on the many needs present in our schools.
2. What will success look like at the end of my term in office – what specific goals will I aim to accomplish?
We will return total focus to our students! There are good things happening now, and many more will come with increased attention and focus. After more parents and citizens become aware of what is happening inside our district, I expect great, positive change to our district is coming. I also expect much greater participation at meetings with concerned citizens voicing their requests publicly and for the record. I see investigations that were promised or buried coming back to life and completed. The public will be aware of all abuse or misconduct cases under investigation. I see many more citizens involved in our schools as volunteers—monitoring hallways and bathrooms, reading to children, reviewing curriculum items, and more. I see local Veterans visiting students in assemblies to teach service, sacrifice, and American principles. I see a Parent Advisory Council created that will be facilitated by the Superintendent with reporting to the School Board. This body will bring parental issues directly to the top to be tracked for action. As students receive consequences adequate to change behavior, I see happier students, teachers, and bus drivers with a leveling off of those professionals leaving to pursue other employment options. I also see a rise in our school grades as the learning environment becomes less chaotic and more conducive to instruction. Finally, I see a diverse School Board and Superintendent as two separate entities that work together with total focus on the students that are all held accountable by the voters. We will be on a path to the Number One District in the state. We will Make Okaloosa Schools Great Again!
Vote for JERRY BUCKMAN!
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