Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Miner Hopes to Build on District's Progress

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Miner Hopes to Build on District's Progress

Article excerpt

Manatee County School Board, District 3

Dave "Watchdog" Miner calls them "happy sticks" and he always has some in his pocket to hand out to voters. They look like tongue depressors, but because the surface is coarse on both sides they can be used as fingernail files, or even to clean the gunk off fishing tackle and car batteries.

When he places one in a person's palm, the plain brown side always faces up. When the wooden stick is turned over to the yellow side, it reveals the words: Dave "Watchdog" Miner for School Board, Manatee County. "Watchdog" not "Lapdog."

"I think it's the most effective campaign tool I've ever seen," Miner, 70, says. "People want it, they keep it and they look at it every day when they do their nails. They look at it and then they ask for another one.

"How many people ever ask for another piece of campaign propaganda?"

Miner, always one to pay attention to the minute details, is attempting to retain his seat representing District 3 on the Manatee County School Board, and will be facing Misty Servia and Charles Conoley in the Aug. 30 primary. If a candidate fails to win by securing more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will have a runoff in the general election on Nov. 8.

Miner says the district has made tremendous strides over the past four years, including financially. The district has overcome the serious mismanagement blunders of the past to the point where it has been exceeding the state-mandated reserve fund balance of 3 percent. That reserve fund balance is currently around $12 million.

"We had a negative fund balance when I got on board," Miner says.

Miner is a proponent of extending the half-cent sales tax as well as collecting impact fees from developers to pay for capital needs facing the district like "a big gorilla.'' The county is in need of a new high school in the Parrish area to accommodate rapid growth. Miner says Palmetto High, Lakewood Ranch High and Braden River High are 30 percent over capacity.

"Either we get approval from the community to extend the sales tax so we can bond the needs or we go out and buy stock in companies that sell portable classrooms," Miner says. …

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