Two Nassau School Board campaigns have little cash on hand for final push

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It’s a three-way race for the open Nassau County School Board seat in District 3, and two of the candidates in that race entered the last month of the campaign with few dollars on hand after spending most of what they raised and provided to their own efforts.

Curtis Gaus brought $4,300 into his campaign, $3,000 of it given in June. His largest expense so far was $2,140 to Horton Graphics of Callahan for campaign signs. As of the last report, Gaus’ campaign spent more than $4,100 of what he’s raised, leaving it with a little more than $180 on hand.

Gaus, who left West Nassau High School in 2020, is the principal at Bronson Middle-High School in Levy County. He noted in a Nassau County Chamber of Commerce forum that he’s spent 19 of his 25 professional years in Nassau County. He’s running because he can see obtainable improvements to some of the school district’s issues.

“Teacher retention being one, school safety being another,” Gaus said. “I also want to give parents an opportunity, or, a person to which they can reach out. I’ve worked with parents and students on many occasions during difficult situations — either in school or out of school, and helped them find solutions.”

It’s a similar story with the campaign of David Dew, who brought in $2,260 and spent more than $2,250 of it, leaving the campaign with fewer than $6 in the kitty. Dew gave his campaign $1,400 in early June. His biggest expense so far is the qualifying fee of more than $1,300 paid to the county.

Dew, a federal civil service employee at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, is a Yulee resident, graduate of Nassau schools and involved in community activities. Part of why he decided to run is to bring a blue-collar worker’s perspective to the Board.

“I just feel like sometimes parents feel like their voices aren’t heard, so my goal is to get in there and make sure everybody feels like their concerns are addressed and fully fulfilled,” Dew said.

Meanwhile, the third candidate, Albert Wagner, brought in the most money and has the most money on hand. Entirely self-funded so far, Wagner gave his campaign $5,000 in May and his only campaign expense so far, according to the reports through July 15, is the qualifying fee.

Wagner formerly taught at Yulee Elementary School, and is currently the assistant principal at Windy Hill Elementary in Duval County. He finished third in a three-way race for Nassau County School Superintendent in 2020, drawing 10.2% of the vote.

He emphasized his belief in a teaching style that both imparts knowledge and to what uses that knowledge can be applied.

“Not just knowing how to answer a test question, but knowing how to apply those skills to the life skills that we need as business owners who are looking out for (people) to be able to communicate … effectively, but also to be able to take what you know to solve a problem,” Wagner said. 

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