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Two Cape residents announce for school board seat, District 1

By Staff | Apr 3, 2010

Two Cape Coral residents are preparing to face-off for the Lee County School Board seat held by Bob Chilmonik.
John Traube, a city resident, and Arnold Gibbs, a city resident and former Cape Coral chief of police, submitted paperwork Friday for the school board’s District 1 seat. Two-term incumbent Bob Chilmonik announced last month that he will run for the Lee County Board of County Commissioners this fall.
Gibbs was the city’s chief of police for nine years and before that worked as a police officer in the city of Miami for 25 years, and he has always stressed the importance of children and education.
“Kids that don’t get educated usually don’t do well in today’s society and turn to crime,” he said.
Gibbs said he was interested in what the school board has been doing, and wants to lend a hand in helping with some of the issues plaguing the board. For the past couple of months he has served on the district’s advisory committee to learn about the issues.
“I do have a lot of interest in being a party to the solution to those issues that seem to be in the media so much,” said Gibbs. “I want everyone to know exactly where I stand, and I don’t intend to be someone who is a rubber stamper.
If elected, Gibbs said he wants to help the district work on the transportation system and stressed that it needs to be solved using rational thought. Making sure music and the arts stay in schools is another one of Gibbs’ motivations behind running for school board.
“I am a musician, and I understand the value of music, and I understand the correlation between music and scholarly achievements and the fact that people who excel in music do better in scholastics,” he said. “I don’t want to see music taken out of schools.”
Traube has been active in the school district for more than a decade and is an outspoken critic on certain board decisions. He attends nearly every meeting of the school board and often discusses his concerns during public comment.
“I have been active with it for years and when Bob Chilmonik decided he wasn’t going to continue, we talked and since I have followed what he has been doing and agreed with most of the things he has done, I thought someone should run to continue what he is doing,” said Traube.
Traube is a retired 30-year teacher of the New York City School System, and in Lee County has served on the district’s curriculum advisory committee for the past nine years and was president of the Substitute Teacher Association of Lee County for two years.
For the last 20-years he has also served as a state certified mediator with the 20th Judicial Circuit.
During his tenure in New York, Traube was active in the United Federation of Teachers and prides himself on working with members of the community.
“People need to be involved with what they think is best in the community,” he said.
Some of his main objectives, if elected to the board, would be to “restore fiscal health,” by curbing expenditures and hiring a board auditor to replace the position vacated in 2007.
“The taxpayers need to know there money is being spent where it needs to be spent, in children in classrooms with teachers,” he said.
Traube said one of his other major goals is “a restoration of a sense of ethics in the school system.” He has been a vocal critic on changes to Superintendent James Browder’s contract, specifically to remove parts outlining how the superintendent can be excused from the district.
And Traube said he wants to examine the district’s transportation system, criticized by a group of parents who say their children are on a bus for four hours or longer each day. Yet, he said he wants teachers, parents and the community to become involved any decisions to change the transportation system.
Academics is another important component of his platform. Traube wants to increase student achievement as well as teach children that school is a place for them to prepare for a career.
There are three school board seats up this August. The qualifying period for candidates is June 14-June 18.
School board seats are non-partisan and districtwide, meaning all registered Lee County voters can vote in each race.