It’s not every day a sitting vice president pays a Land O’ Lakes school a visit.
In fact, according to Summer Romagnoli, the Pasco County School District’s spokeswoman, it’ never happened before.
The historic significance of Vice President Joe Biden’s stop in Land O’ Lakes wasn’t lost on those in attendance at his speech at Oakstead Elementary School on Oct. 4. Biden was there to speak about the American Jobs Act and the impact it could have on Pasco County schools and campuses nationwide.
“It think it’s great for the county,” said Steve Luikart, a Pasco County School Board member. “I’m glad that he and his office think Pasco has the pulse of the state.”
As for the $32 million for Pasco schools the act would provide if passed, Luikart said he’s ready for it.
“He can deposit it tomorrow,” he said.
Biden chose Pasco for his address because of its recent funding cuts and the loss of 513 full-time positions. The act, Biden told attendees, would infuse millions into the public education system and provide funding for an estimated 400,000 teaching positions.
Kenny Blankenship, vice president of the United School Employees of Pasco, thinks the act’s passage would be good for the county and the state.
“It could be a huge help if they want to supply jobs,” he said. “Hopefully (the state) won’t turn it away.”
What Teachers Had to Say
Biden’s visit intrigued many of the Oakstead teachers that were invited to watch his speech.
“It’s just an honor and a privilege to be selected,” said Michelle Horta, a fourth-grade teacher at Oakstead.
“It’s something all of our kids are going to remember and look back on for a long time,” said Joseph Watson, one of the school’s music teachers.
Students Had Their Own Opinions
Politics and history aside, students who were invited to hear Biden speak had their own spin on the occasion.
“It’s really cool,” said Lilia Watson, a sixth-grader from Rushe Middle School.
Lilia said she thinks President Obama and Vice President Biden are getting unfairly blamed for everything that’s wrong in the economy. She fears that we’re heading for another Great Depression.
“I hope that maybe Obama can get us out of (the recession),” she said.
Rushe eighth-grader Amy Deeb follows politics and was especially happy to hear Biden's address.
"It was really exciting," she said.
Deeb is in favor of the Jobs Act.
"I think it’s a really great idea and I love how they’re trying to incorporate the improvement of our schools and infrastructure into creating more jobs for Americans."
President Obama and Vice President Biden are currently touring the country trying to garner support for the act. There's no indication from Congress on whether the bill will pass.