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Acevedo re-elected superintendent

Incumbent Keys schools Superintendent Randy Acevedo won re-election to a second four-year term Tuesday with a decisive win over challenger Fred Colvard.

Acevedo had 23,296 votes — 62 percent — to Colvard’s 14,566 votes.

“I’m just real happy with the outcome,” Acevedo said. “I’m real pleased to be returning to this position for another four years. There was a lot of information out there, so they [voters] had to discern whether they wanted to continue with me or go in a new direction.”

Acevedo, a Key West native, ran on a platform of marked student achievement during his first term, particularly improved student scores on the state-imposed Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).

Colvard, a Marathon resident and longtime school administrator in West Virginia and Florida, ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility. He often criticized Acevedo for what he claimed was deficit spending.

“The voters have spoken and evidently they don’t feel the issue of finances is much of a concern,” Colvard said.

“I’m concerned about the school board relative to their role of being able to control spending and not have this administration continue to take us into debt,” he continued. “I hope they stand strong and provide the programs that are needed for our students.”

Acevedo has often engaged in vigorous debates with the five-member school board, most recently over budget concerns of depleting sales tax and property tax revenues.

Acevedo has defended his budgets, which included large borrowing for the construction of new Keys schools but have also decreased operating expenses each year and lowered property owners’ school taxes.

“You could point at the numbers and say a lot of different things,” Acevedo said. “I think when people broke it down, you have lot of student success going on and you have an adequate budget.”

Acevedo said his next term would focus on student achievement after high school.

“I’d like to see them graduate with more than a diploma. I’d like to see them graduate with a diploma in hand or an industry certification or college credit,” he said. “That will be the biggest push and initiative in the next four years.”