Name: Jeff PeglerAge: 33How long living in Indian River County: 4 yearsPlace of Birth: Tampa, Fla.Occupation: Attorney with the law firm of Block Block & PeglerMarital/Family Status: Married to Jennifer Block Pegler with a son, Ian.
Please list Civic and Volunteer Leadership Experience including title & position and Organization including dates and locations.
Sun-Up Center of Indian River County, Inc. -Board Member, Present
Indian River County Bar Association – Young Lawyers Division – Co-Chair (2009-10) & Member, Present
Reinvest in Success, Inc. – Founder & Board Member, Present
Gifford Youth Activity Center – Attorney, Present
2011 March of Dimes March for Babies – Co-Chair (2010-11)
Early Learning Coalition of Indian River, Martin & St. Lucie County – Board Member (2007)
Rotary International – Member, Present
What issues motivated you to run for this office and what do you hope to accomplish during your term?
I was motivated to run for this position as a businessman and attorney who is deeply committed to Indian River County, and who recognizes that we need a practical and professional perspective on the School Board. I do not believe that taxes are the only answer to funding our public education system. We must use our resources judiciously, and we must implement innovative policies that will guide our School District into the next decade. I believe it is incumbent upon the School Board to lead an initiative to partner with the private sector so that we can continue to offer unsurpassed educational experiences to our students and provide teachers with the resources they need to revitalize our schools. As a former juvenile crimes prosecutor, I recognize that we must do whatever is necessary to keep our children safe and focused on future success. It is unacceptable for any child to fall through the cracks or be victimized by bullying. Finally, I am running for the School Board because I am a father who is focused on the future. I understand that we must have a strategic plan for our schools that does not just contemplate the immediate future but recognizes that the decisions made today will impact the generations to come. My primary goal as a School Board Member is to create policies that accomplish the foregoing objectives and ensure that the focus of our schools will be on teaching our children how to think and engage in the world.
The School Board is currently searching for a new Superintendent to replace out-going Dr. Harry La Cava. What qualities would you look for in a viable candidate?
It will be necessary for the School District to engage a Superintendent who is enthusiastic, dynamic and visionary. We are at the point in time where the School District must excel and explore more opportunities to educate our children and our community. The Superintendent is a vital component of the future success of the Indian River County School District; therefore, he or she must also be an excellent communicator and advocate for our school system who will motivate district employees and students to perform incredibly well best. It is also imperative that the next Superintendent strive to effectively implement the policies adopted by the School Board in order to make our schools the best in the State of Florida.
Voters will be asked to vote yea or nay on Amendment 8, a constitutional amendment pertaining to class size. What is your stance on Amendment 8 and why do you feel that way?
I have spoken with numerous parents and educators who favor small class sizes. However, the rigidity of the law, passed in 2002, actually hinders our School District’s ability to provide resources to all of our students in the school system. By allowing public schools to continue to use school-wide averages rather than classroom-by-classroom caps, Amendment 8 would provide much-needed flexibility for our school district and help ensure that our students receive the benefit of our district’s curriculum and resources. In addition, a July report from Florida TaxWatch estimates the class-by-class caps could cost Florida $4 billion a year over the next decade–Amendment 8 could reduce the annual tab by $350 million to $1 billion.
Two additional charter schools are asking permission to open in the Indian River County School District. Why do you think charters are interested in the county? What is your stance on charter schools? Do you believe they help or hurt the School District as a whole?
I believe the charter schools are interested in Indian River County due to the success of other charter schools that have prospered in our community. Charter schools that arise from a need in Indian River County and increase learning opportunities for our students should be, and must be, allowed. The Florida legislature has clearly stated that charter schools shall be part of the state’s program of public education. Charter schools have helped our School District as a whole. They have provided competition within the school district to stimulate continual improvement in all public schools, and they have enhanced learning opportunities for students by encouraging the use of innovative education methods. They have also promoted academic success and financial efficiency. Most importantly, charter schools have provided parents with flexibility to choose among diverse educational alternatives for their children.