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Conference commitment draws criticism from Clay County School Board
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Conference commitment draws criticism from Clay County School Board

Conference commitment draws criticism from Clay County School Board
Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown

Conference commitment draws criticism from Clay County School Board

Concern over spending your tax dollars is at the center of a special meeting called by the Clay County School Board.

District 1 School Board Member Janice Kerekes issued a statement describing her concern over the actions of Superintendent Charlie Van Zant.  Chief among those concerns, is Van Zant’s partnership with the “Dare to Think” conference, which Kerekes says is “a private, partisan political event and it should not be funded by taxpayer monies.”

The board voted just about two weeks ago to disassociate entirely from the conference.

Van Zant’s office tells WOKV that the Superintendent’s partnership with the conference is personal, and no tax dollars are being used. Further, the office instead describes the conference as “a non-profit, non-partisan conference with the stated goal of encouraging a renewed emphasis on American history and its important in the lives of our students.”

School Board Chairman Carol Studdard has called a special meeting for Wednesday, October 30th at 5 PM at Fleming Island High School.  Kerekes says this meeting will be to investigate Van Zant’s continued support of the conference and spending on behalf of the district. Van Zant’s office, however, says there is no pending investigation regarding the conference.

Studdard says her main concern right now is that Van Zant is apparently continuing to associate himself with the school district at the conference, although she says he had agreed previously to remove any reference to the school district. She’s also found references to the district’s name and logo in promotional material.

Additionally, there are questions about whether the district will pay for Clay teachers to attend the conference, despite the concerns of the school board.

Van Zant's office declined to make the Superintendent available for comment on this story at this time.

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