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Chilmonik back for another school board run

By Staff | Jan 7, 2012

A familiar face is looking to make a splash once again in local politics, as Robert “Bob” Chilmonik announced his intent to seek the District 2 Lee County School Board seat on Wednesday.

Incumbent Jeanne Dozier has served in the seat for 12 years.

Chilmonik previously served as the District 1 School Board representative before deciding to pursue the District 1 County Commission seat last year. The passing of longtime Commissioner Bob Janes opened the seat but Chilmonik eventually fell to John Manning in that race.

While serving as a school board member, which he did for eight years years, Chilmonik caught the public eye as an often vocal member of the board, locking horns with then-superintendent Jim Browder and, at times, other board members.

A return to school board is an opportunity to effect change, Chilmonik said, with a group of elected officials who he feels can turn the school district around.

The board’s current make-up, Dozier notwithstanding, along with new Superintendent John Burke, will give Chilmonik the opportunity to implement changes suggested in the past, he said.

Chilmonik said there was a “philosophical difference” between he and Dozier and those differences are spurring his bid for the seat.

He added that his approach to the job would differ from the sometimes argumentative days of his previous service.

“I have no intention of going in and taking the same tact. I want to work with people and make a positive difference,” he said.

Jeanne Dozier could not immediately be reached for comment.

Three core issues will be the focus of Chilmonik’s campaign efforts.

n Curb transportation costs by focusing on neighborhood schools.

n Reduce the district’s administration costs by 20 percent while bringing back an internal auditor.

n Improve low reading level scores of secondary school students.

“We haven’t seen any improvement over the last 10 years,” he added.

Chilmonik is currently teaching at Edison State College in Fort Myers. According to a press release, he’s also worked in the private sector.

Chilmonik said he will be moving to Fort Myers to qualify for the District 2 seat. He will keep his Cape Coral home, however.

Chilmonik joins Fort Myers resident Paul W. Schafer in the District 2 race. According to the Lee County Supervisor of Elections website, Jeanne Dozier has not formally declared for the seat.

Lee County School Board District 3 is also up for election. So far, only Les Cochran has declared. Dr. Jane Kuckel, District 3 incumbent, has not yet declared.

She has served three consecutive terms.