'Dare to Think' organizer defends controversial conference
FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. – The Clay County School Board voted in favor of opening an investigation into Superintendent Charlie Van Zant with the state's ethics commission.
At the center of the controversy is whether he had the authority to sign off on spending district money on an education conference called Dare to Think.
It's an event that touts itself as promoting American exceptionalism.
"Dare to Think is a conference which is on American history," said event organizer Bill Korach.
But some on the school board passionately disagree.
Board members voted two weeks ago to disassociate from the conference all together. The check paid out was refunded but school board chair Carol Studdard said the district remained tied to the conference she calls a partisan political event.
"The school district's name is still visible in places on the website and I still have some concern about money's being spent for the room rental even through it was reimbursed. We're not a lending institution," said Studdard.
Korach is heavily involved with the Republican Party of St. Johns County. He now publishes The Report Card, an online blog that does contain partisan commentary.
"Well the only tie is that I'm sponsoring it," said Korach. "I have a lot of opinions that I discuss in The Report Card that we're not going to talk about in the conference."
Studdard called a special meeting to discuss Van Zant's support for the conference. Van Zant did not attend Wednesday's special meeting.
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