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Rasmussen Re-Elected To Leon County School Board

Dee Dee Rasmussen wins re-election to the Leon County School Board.

Leon County School Board member DeeDee Rasmussen will retain the seat, after defeating primary challenger, Alex Stemle. Rasmussen won 60% of the vote to Stemle’s 40%.

“I’m encouraged by this vote of confidence in my district, but I humbly ask for the prayers and support of the entire community as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters,” she said in a statement.

Rasmussen was first elected in 2008. Her re-election marks the start of Rasmussen’s fourth term in office, and comes as the district grapples with how to safely reopen schools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The seat represents District 4, the Northwest quadrant of Leon County.

Stemle works at Deerlake Middle School as the Dean of Students. During WFSU’s Political Perspectives program, Stemle said he felt the district had “lost our voice” on the school board and that it, the district, and schools should be working closer together on policy.

“Our priorities, our policies and our budget initiatives need to be addressed and I feel I could bring that to the board, [better than] my opponent,” he said.

Rasmussen noted the board currently has a former teacher and principal on the board, and said she brings a governmental perspective to what’s fundamentally a citizen board. Rasmussen previously worked for the governor and cabinet at a time when they acted as the State Board of Education.

“The role of the board is not to be fully present in the schools all the time. That’s the role of school administrators and teachers, and the statues are clear on the delineation of responsibilities.”

Rasmussen has pointed to her role on the board as it navigates school re-openings during the midst of a global pandemic.

Stemle criticized the board over the busing failures at the start of the previous school year that left some students stranded, along with the board’s perceived lack of communication with teachers and their concerns for returning. He acknowledged some of the mistakes were not the board’s fault, but due to “organizational creep” but says he’s still not “confident schools will open.”

Leon County students will go back to class on August 31st. Some will return in-person, while others will attend classes online. The district has ordered more than 30,000 new laptops but manufacturing and shipping delays has caused the order to be delayed.

Rasmussen has also called for the district to have a chief medical officer on hand to help guide safety plans.

Corrected: August 20, 2020 at 10:40 AM EDT
The original version of this article misspelled Alex Stemle's last name. It has been corrected.