Alachua County School Board, District 5

This is a nonpartisan race, open to all voters

Two candidates are seeking the votes for Alachua County School Board, District 5.

News4Jax sent a questionnaire to each candidate asking about their background and their views on several issues. Scroll down to read the responses of those seeking your vote -- in their own words.

Note: Responses are sorted alphabetically and are presented exactly as submitted, with no editing by News4Jax staff.


Kay G. Abbitt

Occupation: retired educator

Age: 68

Your family: Husband, 4 grown children, 10 grandchildren

Education: Bachelor

Political experience: None

What do you see as the top three issues you’ll likely face while holding this office?

  • Failing schools, behavior in schools, and teacher retention

“Parental rights” has recently become a law in Florida and a political buzzword. What does that concept mean to you and how would it affect your decisions on the school board?

  • Parents are a child’s best advocate. I believe there should be parental input on all major issues a school district faces. The district/school board should listen to all and establish the policy that benefits the majority of the students.

How would you balance new state laws and guidelines restricting how history, gender identity and civics can be taught in public school classrooms with the need to educate children in a complex 21st Century society?

  • I think history is things that have happened in the past and should be taught that way. At some point in a student’s education (high school/college),students should have the opportunity to take classes that explore history in more depth where you can analyze and discuss the effects of a certain time period in history. There are many periods in history that we could all learn lessons from.

Outline your ideas to address teacher shortages and morale.

  • One way is to get behavior in classrooms under control. Districts need to have a comprehensive discipline plan with consequences. Administrators at school need to implement the plans with fidelity. Teachers need to feel supported by administration. Teacher pay has got to increase. Teachers should not have to work multiple jobs to support a family.

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

  • I have more education experience than any other candidate. I am the parent of 4 children who attended ACPS K - 12th. I taught in ACPS for 10 years. I have been an adjunct at SFC and tutored athletes at UF. I started a company that provided federally funded free tutoring to over 700 children in FL and NC. It was a fiscally responsible company with quality services. I started and was the director of a high performing charter school in NE Gville. It received an award from the state for its gains with our lowest quartile of students. As director for the past 9 years, I have worked with every department in the district and know the strengths and weaknesses of all departments. No one is as well qualified as I am.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

  • I would like for all of our schools to be high performing. I would like to be a part of a board that could work together to accomplish this.

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Prescott Cowles

This candidate has not responded to email and telephone invitations to submit the News4Jax candidate questionnaire.