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Hillsborough

District 7 County School Board Hillsborough

Fixture faces newcomer: A School Board member of 12 years faces a former educator who wants to see teachers paid a livable wage.

By DONG-PHUONG NGUYEN
Published August 24, 2004

In the School District 7 race, a political newcomer is challenging an incumbent who is making her fourth run at the office.

Paul Noble of Plant City wants to take over the at-large seat Carol Kurdell has held for 12 years.

While Kurdell has experience on her side, Noble said his roles as a former teacher and the father of a young son who will enter public school in a few years make him the ideal candidate.

Noble, who quit teaching for a higher-paying job when his wife became pregnant, said he wants to fight for more money for teachers. He would like to cull money from district positions if they aren't making an impact on students' lives.

Noble also wants to emphasize athletic and extracurricular activities - programs that have been known to keep children in school and make a person more well rounded, he said.

"We complain that our children are sitting in front of the TV, playing video games, but we're not giving them many opportunities to be outside," Noble said. "That's not to say that academics isn't important, because ultimately, that's what we're there for. But we have to create opportunities for our students to be productive citizens in our society."

Kurdell, meanwhile, says she will strive to carry out the same mission she has had since the beginning: to provide a high-quality education for all students.

"That has always been my top priority and continues to be," Kurdell said.

She also wants to raise the standards of education, support higher teacher pay, and find ways to recruit good teachers an d retain them.

"You have to continue to look at how you do business and refine it every chance you get," Kurdell said, "because we keep raising the bar."

The candidates differ on corporate sponsorship of athletic fields. Kurdell thinks the tradition of naming ball fields and stadiums after leaders is a sacred right that should be weighed carefully.

Noble sees no reason why the rights shouldn't be put up for sale if it means helping the kids.

CAROL KURDELL, 59, was first elected to th e School Board in 1992. She received a bachelor's degree in human development from Eckerd College and is married and has a grown son. She lost another son in a car crash. Kurdell is a longtime school volunteer and member of local and state education committees. She is a consultant for FOCUS, or Friends Offering Children Unlimited Success. She has been a consultant for the Full Service Schools project for Hillsborough schools. She has received the endorsement of the Classroom Teachers Association. ASSETS: home. LIABILITIES: mortgage . INCOME: School Board salary.

PAUL NOBLE, 32, is making his first run for public office. A graduate of East Bay High School, Noble earned a math degree from the University of South Florida. He taught for a year in Colorado and for four years at East Bay High School. When Noble's wife became pregnant with their son, who is now 2, he left teaching for a higher-paying job in sales. He sells labels for a small manufacturing company. His wife is a teacher . ASSETS: home. LIABILITIES: mortgage, car payment. INCOME: sales job.

THE JOB

All School Board races are nonpartisan and terms last four years. The seven-member board generally meets every other week to set policy for the district. The job pays $37,426 a year.

[Last modified August 23, 2004, 16:59:44]

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