PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- As students in Pinellas County head back to school, three candidates are hoping to become the next District 2 School Board members.

  • 3 Pinellas School Board District 2 candidates share priorities
  • All say school safety is one of their top initiatives
  • Candidates differ on which programs should be expanded

Incumbent Terry Krassner has served two terms and is running for a third. She was a teacher, assistant principal and principal in Pinellas schools for 35 years.

For the past eight years, she's been a voice on the board who's been deeply involved in school safety, including the new policy of armed security officers.

"The district is making sure that they're getting training, because they're walking into schools that have students with different needs," Krassner said.

School safety is also important to candidate Lisa Cane, a mother of four and an advocate for teaching the arts.

"We need to have safety procedures in place for students so they know what to do in an emergency situation," Cane said.

Jeff Larsen is also a proponent for secure schools. The Pasco County teacher is a former Tarpon Springs vice mayor and commissioner. He wants to see changes in the way Pinellas County students learn.

"I think that our focus now is on testing, and I'd like to shift that focus from a focus on testing to a focus on learning," Larsen said.

The candidates agree on expanding programs for students. Krassner is focused on career and technical programs. Larsen has his eyes on trade school and pre-apprenticeship programs. Cane wants to see more arts and music incorporated into classes. Each candidate has two goals: To become the next board member and to do what's best for the students.

"They need to have a well-rounded life and a well-rounded view of what success is," Cane said.

"My level of experience is very current and real life and what's actually happening in the trenches right now," Larsen said.

"We really just want our students to know that schools are a safe place, and we're going to make sure that everybody is connecting with our students," Krassner said.

The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 28.