MOORE HAVEN — The only county-wide races left on the Nov. 3 ballot for Glades County were the one for superintendent of schools between Alice “Beth” Barfield, Republican, and Jamie Brown, no party affiliation; as well as the Glades County Schools “flex funding” referendum.
The winner, according to unofficial results posted by the Glades County Supervisor of Elections Office around 9 p.m. Tuesday, is Barfield, who garnered 2,841 votes, or 56.03%, compared with Brown’s 2,229 votes, or 43.96%.
The Vote-By-Mail ballot count was 1,716 received as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, and 1,243 of the 7,097 active, eligible voters in Glades County voted early. Those numbers, constituting almost half of the electorate, turned out to vote even before Election Day.
Total ballots cast and counted so far numbered 5,227 of the county’s 7,097 active, registered voters, for a 74% turnout.
Barfield, 49, is principal of a Lee County school now after working in that district for years, and a 1990 graduate of Moore Haven High School. She graduated in 1994 from Florida Southern College.
Brown has worked for the Glades County public schools since 1993 and is now director of administrative services.
The Glades County School District’s return-to-school plan following the COVID-19 outbreak this past spring was the biggest issue, both felt, facing the district going forward. Second most prominent was expansion of the GCSD’s career and technical education (CTE) programs for both school-age and young adult students, and close behind was cooperation with neighboring school districts plus county and municipal governments to try to get an appropriation from the Florida Legislature to support the placement of an iTech (Immokalee Technical College) branch inside the Glades County Regional Training Facility in Moore Haven.
Flexible Funding referendum
The final item on the ballot, listed last underneath all the proposed Florida State Constitutional Amendments, was titled “Flexible Funding for Glades County Schools” and asked the following question:
“Shall the Glades County School District be authorized to reduce its annual ad valorem tax levy for capital projects by an amount of up to 1.00 mills and increase its ad valorem tax levy for operating expenses by an equal amount of up to 1.00 mills in any or all of the four consecutive fiscal years beginning with the 2020 – 2021 fiscal year?”
The choices were “Yes (for funding flexibility)” or “No (against funding flexibility).”
The Yes side won with 3,440 total votes, or 70.49% of the total 4,880 votes cast and counted so far; the No side won 1,445 votes, or 29.61%.
The approval of “flexible funding” means that while the total school millage rate won’t change, a larger portion of the property taxes can be used for operating expenses with less reserved for capital projects.