Two candidates are up against each other for the Lee County School Board District 1 seat.
Incumbent Mary Fischer and opponent Marilyn Stout will face off in the Aug. 26 primary election. Because it is a non-partisan race, the candidate who earns the most votes will win the seat. All of the registered voters in Lee County can cast a ballot in the race, regardless of their political affiliation or the district in which they live.
* Mary Fischer (incumbent)
Mary Fischer (incumbent)
Residence: Cape Coral
Occupation: Lee County School Board Member, District 1
Fischer said she has more work to do, which is why she is running for re-election.
"I'm a public servant and have spent many years advocating for education in this community. I believe it's the economic drive in this community," she said, adding that she has more initiatives to work on.
"To make sure the school system is giving the best education to our kids," Fischer said.
Asked about her focus, she cited advocating for students and staff.
"I'm very much interested in improving the accountability, eliminating waste and ensuring the taxpayer dollar is spent effectively and efficiently," Fischer added.
She noted that she will continue to advocate for comprehensive health education.
"Before we can worry about the curriculum, we need to focus on students," Fischer said. "They need to feel safe and be healthy and ready to learn."
She cited eliminating waste and spending tax dollars more wisely as top priorities if re-elected.
"I also want to continue advocating for the comprehensive health education policy," Fischer added.
* Marilyn Stout
Residence: Cape Coral
Occupation: Lee Memorial Board, District 1; fishing charter business owner
Asked why she is seeking office, Stout cited the decisions made by some on the school board.
"I'm running because of the poor decisions the incumbents made in approving spending $50 million from reserves, leaving insufficient funds for new schools with our county growing again," she said.
"At the June school board meeting, my opponent wanted a referendum to raise the sales tax by 1 cent for schools. However, the board attorney said it was too late for this year," Stout added. "I don't believe raising taxes is a very good answer to frivolous spending."
Stout noted that one big issue is following the state Constitution on class size instead of paying a fine.
"Another would be providing stability to a system that has been dysfunctional for most of the past four years and bringing our district back to the A district it was four years ago," she said.
"The budget needs to be looked at closely - as do the citizen committees recommendations - much thought needs to go into their recommendations," Stout said.
If elected to the seat, first on her list would be reaching out to district and department officials.
"My first priority would be to meet and talk with the superintendent, then every department, then tour every school with the permission of the superintendent and the principal," Stout said.
"Good recommendations come with knowledge," she added. "This also allows thinking outside the box."