PANAMA CITY, Fla. – On July 7, the Bay County Chamber of Commerce announced a resolution aimed at encouraging community business leaders to support school board candidates with private sector experience.
The Chamber recognizes that members of the school board are a public voice entrusted with governing local schools and advocating for more than 26,000 students in Bay District Schools. The school board oversees a $500 million budget, 2,500 employees and over 40 facilities and should have experience that includes fiscal operation, personnel management and facility administration.
“The overall goal of this initiative is to support district leadership and insist on the high standards the community has for its education system,” said Garrett Anderson, Chairman of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce. “This resolution affirms the business community’s commitment to our schools by encouraging those with professional business experience to seek opportunities on the school board.”
According to TheFloridaScorecard.org, just 54 percent of Bay County students are not prepared for kindergarten, 49 percent of third graders are not reading at grade level, 60 percent of eighth graders are not performing to grade level in math. The Chamber is concerned that students will not be adequately prepared for work and life in a diverse, global economy.
The Chamber’s “A Better Way for a Brighter Bay” initiative, which was unveiled in June, is an effort to encourage business community involvement in the schools, hold district leadership accountable, and improve the overall state of Bay County District Schools.
The first resolution in the initiative called on local business leaders to actively commit to mentoring in schools. Through school-based mentoring programs like Elevate Bay, New Horizons Learning Center Mentor Program, Take Stock in Children and others, the Chamber believes that the business community can have significant short- and long-term benefits for area youths.
For more information on the Bay County Chamber of Commerce, visit PanamaCity.org or @BayChamberFL on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.