Meet Bay County superintendent candidate: Bill Husfelt

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bill Husfelt (R) is the incumbent Bay County superintendent running for re-election against Judy Hobbs-Vandergrift (R).

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Who is Bill Husfelt?

Husfelt went to Jenks Junior High and graduated Bay High School in 1976.

He has been married to his wife for 38 years, whom he married two days before his first teaching job, he said.

Throughout his career, Husfelt has been a substitute teacher, has taught economics, government, computers, social studies, history, has been an assistant principal and principal for 12 years.

Husfelt has been the Bay County superintendent for the past 12 years.

“The hardest job I ever had was being principal,” Husfelt said. “The experiences I learned on budgeting, hiring, dealing with complicated situations, I mean 12 years of being a high school principal in that setting has really groomed me well, I believe, to do the job I am doing right now.”

What are your top three priorities for next year?

  1. Student safety and wellbeing including mental health
  2. Academic achievement
  3. Career and technical training (i.e. construction, welding)

“Our goal should always be that when a student walks across the stage, they have a plan,” Husfelt said.

Do you believe that charter schools are affecting school grades? If so, how do you plan to bring up school grades in general public schools?

“I believe in school choice,” Husfelt said.

He said whether parents are involved or not plays the biggest role in a child’s success in school and to supplement the affected schools, put more resources such as mentors and teachers into those schools.

How to plan to balance keeping students and staff safe against the threats of violence versus the threats of COVID-19?

There is no “right” answer, he said. The board will vote on that in mid-July, he added.

How do you plan to address the lingering affects of Hurricane Michael combined with the affects of COVID-19 regarding mental illness and homelessness?

They have written and received grants for mental health professionals in each school, he said.

School grade for elementary will be decided entirely by 5th grade performance. Would you be willing to ask the state for an exception for Bay District considering how many parts of funding and teacher salaries are predicated on those school grades?

Already done, he said.

What would you do to protect the heritage of the historically black schools in Bay County that are currently closed or are closing?

Patterson may be opening back up as a K-2, and currently early-education is there using about half the facility, he said.

We had to make tough decisions about closing certain schools because of the loss of population in those areas, he added.

How do you plan to rebuild Everitt and Springfield to achieve the highest possible performance?

Technical training, CTE programs for elementary kids, expanding tech-based programs to all elementary schools, he said.

How do you plan to allocate the money for new teacher pay from Gov. DeSantis’s announcement?

The district has no power to change the allocation of the money that the Governor already decided, he said. We have 20% that we can decide on which is a State of the Union issue, he added.

We have to lobby for more money for veteran teachers, he said.

How do you think the half cent sales tax should be used going forward?

The projects for all schools are already decided; the pandemic doesn’t change that, he said. We can’t use it for salaries, only capital projects, he added.

Meet the other candidates running for office this year.

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