Vincent Sullivan, Chiumento Law Partner, Talks About His Candidacy for Flagler School District


“As a graduate of Matanzas High School, part of the first graduating class; I graduated and we were in A-rated school district. Every school in our district had an A-rating at that time. Last time we were an a rated school district since 2019. Before that, you have to go back to 2011. So I feel like there has been a gap. And while I may not have all the answers I want to at least try to put forth those ideas. We’ve got a great district staff, and I’m really excited for a superintendent now, LaShakia Moore. I think she brings a good energy. I want to help foster that environment.” Vincent Sullivan explained about his decision to run for Flagler County School Board.

He is currently running against the incumbent, Cheryl Massaro. Vincent Sullivan is a partner at Chiumento Law firm here in Palm Coast. He explained that his job as an attorney gives him a distinct set of skills, with truly listening to his constituents being one of them. “It doesn’t matter what your political ideologies are. That’s not what school boards for school boards were maximizing profits to give per student dollars, not admin dollars. Not tech dollars, although tech is a good component for kids.”

School Resource Deputies and the funding for them, which is currently split between the School district and the County budgets, comes up for debate every so many years. “So I’m very happy that chairman dance decided to go public and say no. It was never our intention to defund. We may have to look at alternative funding sources. So that makes me very happy that the county is still willing to participate in our children’s safety. I think there were some crossed lines between the memos that were sent internally at the county. Staff levels, but you’ve got to have school resource deputies on campus. If the county were for some reason to decide to ultimately determine to defund the SRD’s or they just didn’t have the funding to provide the school district. Either way, for some reason, the school resource officers leave our school district, it makes me question why we voted against the Guardian program that was brought up some time ago by our current school board. So that’s a list of individuals who are volunteering to help protect our children, and it’s not like you just sign up and operate on part of the program. You have to go through the same training a police officer would have gone to, at least in this program, and you would have to go through the psyche evals and everything like that. So why not utilize those individuals that want to be there, that want to help protect the children? And also want to help backstop virtual resource deputies. Right, our high schools have two, our elementary schools and middle schools all have one. That’s not a lot. Somebody comes in with a fully automatic firearm, it’s one person versus that firearm.”

Sullivan continued elaborating on the Guardian program, “If these folks are volunteering, they shouldn’t necessarily have to. Pay for the psyche vowels and the trainings and everything else that go into it. But, if it’s financially feasible and they’re individuals who want to, why would we not provide that additional safety and security for our students.”

Sullivan responded to the question of school capacities explaining that he feels the county is in a good place with the expansion of Matanzas High School. He mentioned the fact that there are “ghost students” reserved seats for the developments that have been approved but not yet completed, so there is room for those moving to the area.

In every school, in every town, bullying is an issue that sadly will never be eradicated. When asked what he planned to do to help curb bullying if elected, Sullivan said, “We look at that every election cycle, every kick goes through it, it is unfortunate. And we need to do what we can to curb it, but I think the idea of completely eliminating it while it’s great, I don’t think it’s going to happen in practicality. So what other techniques can we use to try to limit it? Well, I think the first one is limit the amount of social media that our kids can use on the school district provided devices, right. That’s where a lot of the bullying that we’re seeing nowadays is happening is on social media. So by limiting access to social media and maybe it’s an age appropriate thing, right? Maybe our high schoolers that are in our marketing programs at Matanzas High school, maybe they need to get on social media because that is such a great marketing tool. But our kids in middle school and elementary school don’t need that. So I think that’s one step in the right direction as limit the availability on social media on our school sponsored devices.”

Transportation is always a subject of debate in Flagler County. Many say that buses are often late, overcrowded, etc. We asked Sullivan what he would do if elected to help streamline such an important facet of the county’s school district. “Build the transportation department to a higher level of efficiency. I don’t like the fact that we’re looking at leasing buses. Now, I understand for economic reasons, it makes more sense, but that’s a temporary fix. It’s like putting a portable on a school site. Yes. It’ll work. But we can only keep those portables for so long. We can only keep that leased bus for so long, but it’s the same problem that doesn’t just plague the school district. It plagues to every employer. How do you find good employees and how do you retain the good employees that you currently got. The only way you can reasonably do that, in my mind, is quality education for our drivers. Right? They need to have the commercial driver functions to operate the school bus. A lot of the folks don’t have that, that there are people who want to have that. So why aren’t we looking within our school district like we’re working a company to get operators license for heavy earth moving equipment. Why don’t we look at the same thing for our students. Have them come out and be ready to be an over the road trucker or operate a public transit system. I think there’s another way we can do that by looking at our local community partners. The education foundation is instrumental in helping get those classroom to career programs set up. Can we partner with them to try to fill a need?”

Sullivan explained a few other points that are currently on his radar if elected, including the decorum on the board, he cited instances where board members were “going at it during the meetings” while explaining that the board members are the leaders of the district and he questioned the message board members fighting sends to the district employees. Sullivan stressed the need for moderation and the removal of politics from the school board. He also mentioned his desire to figure out how Flagler Schools gets back into position of being an A-rated school, standing out above the other districts regarding academic excellence.



By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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