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Tribune endorsement: Keep Luikart on Pasco School Board

Published: July 23, 2014

Pasco County School Board members Cynthia Armstrong and Allen Altman were re-elected without opposition when no one filed to run against them this summer. That leaves only one school board race for voters to decide Aug. 26.

In District 5, Steve Luikart of New Port Richey is seeking a second term. He is challenged by Marc Yacht, a Hudson resident making his first run for elected office.

We’ve known Yacht for years. A medical doctor and a public health expert, he directed the Pasco County Health Department in exemplary fashion for two decades before retiring in 2007, and he also taught public school for two years in Philadelphia. He remains active in bettering the lives of Pasco residents by volunteering at area medical clinics, among other work.

Yacht is, without question, passionate about public education. But he seems to want to use a school board seat as a bully pulpit to question vouchers and charter schools — efforts we support — and other causes. These are issues that are decided in Tallahassee, not on the local level.

Luikart has demonstrated he is a strong board member and clearly warrants another four-year term.

A lifelong Pasco resident, Luikart spent more than 30 years working in the Pasco County public school system as an assistant principal, among other work, gaining tremendous knowledge. He has excellent organizational skills and doesn’t hesitate to ask tough questions. He has a master’s degree in school administration, supervision and curriculum.

Students, he says, his eyes widening, drive him. “I like watching kids grow up. I do it for the kids,” he says.

Luikart, whose school district career took him to five schools, including a technical education center, is passionate about technical and vocational education. Part of the district’s job, he says, is to help those students who will not go to college by helping them develop technical and vocational skills. He wants to continue ensuring that, among other programs.

Although Yacht’s heart is in the right place, Luikart has proven he is a valuable member of the board. For Pasco County School Board, District 5, The Tampa Tribune endorses Steve Luikart.