JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The debate was mild mannered for the most part, even with hot button subjects like the FCAT, student discipline and employee morale.
Jon Heymann,a district seven candidate,was asked what decision he would reverse if he had the opportunity. Heymann said that he would not have hired the incoming superintendent, at least not yet.
"You've got to check all of your options," said Heymann,"it was not a personal thing in fact I voted for Dr. Vitti."
Jason Fischer, also a district 7 candidate, said he would like the Duval County district to stay away from race based goals.
"I don't think it sends the right message," said Fischer,"I don't agree with it."
And that got the attention of Albert and Melissa Chester who were part of the audience
"I really can appreciate town hall meetings like this," said Albert Chester.
Suzanne Jenkins,district three candidate, tried to sway voters with her experience as a parent of children who attended public schools.
"I know the struggles that families have over homework and testing and when kids have learning disabilities," said Jenkins," and I see teachers struggle."
Ashley Smith-Juarez, the other candidate in district three, said she brings a fresh agenda to a struggling school district.
"It is time to do things differently," said Smith -Juarez,"I bring that different voice, but a well informed voice."
Ray Hays was in the audience and said the debate was enough to move his decision.
"Iwas undecided coming in here," said hays," now I know who I am going to vote for."
It was a conversation about an institution that shapes the future; but its foundation has been rattled by low test scores, funding issues, and leadership questions.
Even so members of the audiencesay t is a conversation that is well needed. John Meeks is a teacher.
"I thought that this very productive and positive conversation about the future of our schools and best serving out students," said Meeks.