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ABC 7 at 7: The race for Manatee County School Board District 4

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MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WWSB) - Manatee County School Board has had a lot of attention this past year and not for the right reasons. There have been fights in the parking lot, meetings where nothing was accomplished and countless feuds. Now, three school board seats are up for grabs.

The race for district four is a crowded one. Four candidates are hoping to fill just one seat: Scott Hopes, Joe Stokes, Richard Murphy and James Daniel.

Scott Hopes currently represents district four on the Manatee County School Board. He was appointed by Governor Rick Scott a little over a year ago. Hopes currently serves as the board's chair. He is a Florida native and product of the education system. Hopes is also a former educator.

In his last year of service to Manatee County, Hopes created a citizens financial advisory committee, providing financial oversight on how the district is spending its money.

Joe Stokes moved to Manatee County in 2004, when he was hired as an educator at King Middle School. He was then the Director of Elementary Schools and eventually an assistant principal.

"I think we have some issues on our school board that I think that I could help solve," Stokes said.

Stokes wants to improve the relationships between and work in correlation with the county commission and city councils.

Richard Murphy, also known as Rick, is also running for school board. Murphy is a former teacher, school board member and superintendent. For two years, he taught in Manatee County.

"I think overall with the experiences I have, I can contribute to the board," Murphy said. "I understand what the roles and authority of the board are."

Murphy's focus if elected would be raising student achievement and supporting teachers.

Last, but not least, is James Daniel, also known as Jim.

Daniel moved to Manatee County in 1982. His wife is a teacher there, and his son and daughter are in the school system.

"I was not happy with the leadership of the district and on the day that they met with the county and did not get sheriff's officers as SROs, I made my decision that night to file because they did not take the information in there that they needed," Daniel said.

Daniel said he's done a lot of listening during this campaign and that the number one complaint from parents is that the sheriff's office deputies won't be in every school this school year.

The school board election is right around the corner on August 28th.