The nonpartisan school board fights may look more partisan when the votes roll in Tuesday, but maybe not? (2023)

'I am anxious. I'm really worried because there's a lot at stake here."

Governorron desantishe broke the mold to support candidates in local school board races who would be associated with his conservative ideology, even though the boards are said to be nonpartisan.

But now, as primary day on Tuesday approaches, Floridians will see whether high-profile endorsements will add a layer of partisanship to school boards or maintain the long-standing status quo.

DeSantis, a Republican, is doing his best to rally local communities behind some of his choices, likely a way to block school board candidates who the governor says are left-progressive. Over the weekend, DeSantis attended campaign rallies for several local board races he has supported in recent weeks. In all, DeSantis has endorsed 30 candidates, according to his political campaign at

Meanwhile, taking a cue from DeSantis, the Democratic candidate for governor, US Rep.charlie cristo, released its own set of school board memos in July. Crist is in a Democratic primary on Tuesday.

On Sunday, the DeSantis campaign's Twitter page posted a photo of herself at a campaign rally in Sarasota with the caption: "Sarasota County parents are ready to elect school board members who will make sure that our schools give our children a great education, not an awakening." indoctrination. Thank you to everyone who joined us today!” She had a similar campaign post on Twitter for Volusia, Miami-Dade and Duval counties.

The nonpartisan school board fights may look more partisan when the votes roll in Tuesday, but maybe not? (1)

“To the best of my knowledge, we have not seen any governor travel across the state to hold rallies for local races, except for the state legislature,” he said.Andreas Mesa,Executive Director of the Florida Association of School Boards. "I have not seen such a level of dedication and commitment from senior management until this year."

“We have seen before that the legislature has introduced legislation to make school board seats partisan multiple times in recent years. We know this has been on the agenda for some time…. I'm confident we'll see him again in this session," Messina told Phoenix.

She continued: "What you're seeing right now, because it's still even-handed, there's still a level of reluctance. But if we had partisan elections, you would see more activity, more direct activity from both political parties in these school board elections. I think we would see more partisan positions in politics and in school board discussions and debates, more overtly partisan positions."

However, some fear DeSantis' endorsements will set a "dangerous" precedent such as:Robin Taub-Williams, former educator and chair of the Manasota Democratic Public Education Caucus, which focuses on educational concerns in the Manatee-Sarasota region. The group has approved two candidates for the Manatee school board.

“I hope that in the future we don't see governors interfering with local school board elections and using them for culture wars, but that's what's happening right now,” Williams told the Phoenix.

The nonpartisan school board fights may look more partisan when the votes roll in Tuesday, but maybe not? (2)

Williams stressed that some of the heated and even hostile discussions at local school board meetings in his area, particularly in Sarasota County, were due in part to the education policies pushed by DeSantis and his supporters.

These include efforts to ban books from school libraries through increased parental involvement, restricting certain classroom discussions about LGBTQ+ and American history, and promoting "parental rights" to decide if a student can wear a mask in school. the school.

"I'm concerned. I'm really concerned because the stakes are high here," Williams said. "And I urge everyone to vote because this is not a normal school board race. national republican political agenda of the Kulturkampf”.

In total, Florida has 67 counties that contain their own school districts. Florida law requires every school district to have at least five school board members, though not all seats are up for grabs this election cycle.

DeSantis' 30 candidates hail from 19 school districts. According to the campaign, DeSantis selected these candidates for their "commitment to student success, parental rights, and curriculum transparency."

Through his Political Finance Committee, each of the 30 candidates received $1,000 from the Friends of Ron DeSantis on Aug. 17, according to campaign finance data from the Florida Division of Elections.

According to his campaign, DeSantis supported school board races in the following districts: Alachua (1), Brevard (2), Clay (1), Duval (2), Flagler (2), Hendry (1), Hillsborough (3) . , Indian River (1), Lee (2), Miami-Dade (2), Manatee (3), Martin (1), Monroe (2), Pasco (1), Polk (1), Putnam (1), Sarasota (3) and Volusia (2). At least half a dozen of these school boards were embroiled in a battle over mask mandates last fall.

Crist has sponsored seven races, held in six counties, according to Crist's campaign: Hillsborough (2), Indian River (1), Lee (1), Marion (1), Pinellas (1) and Polk (1).

In fact, DeSantis and Crist have endorsed opposing candidates like District 6 in Hillsborough County. Crist endorsed incumbent member Karen Perez for re-election. In the same race, DeSantis helpedAli's Law, who has spoken at some DeSantis press conferences in support of legislation banning certain teaching about race and gender in Florida public schools.

Hillsborough District 2 also has candidates endorsed by Crist and DeSantis. The governor's preferred candidate is the incumbent member of the school boardstacy hahn. For Crist, she endorsed a former Hillsborough PTA president nameddamaris all, according to his campaign.

District 2 in Indian River County is the last district where Crist and DeSantis endorsed opposition candidates with DeSantis' endorsementJacqueline RosariosBoard re-election and school board endorsement for hopeful Cristcindy gibbs, an educator.

Since school board elections are currently non-partisan, any registered voter, regardless of party, can vote for the school board member of their choice.

The Florida Democratic Party called a news conference via Zoom on Friday to urge voters to pay attention to school board races and emphasize the potential harm when school board races are heavily influenced by high-ranking politicians. profile, with a primary focus on DeSantis and his politicians. ambitions

"Public education will be put to a vote next Tuesday," he said.scott hottensteinat the Zoom conference. He has run unsuccessfully for a seat in the Florida House of Representatives in the past and is Chairman of the Florida Public Education Democratic Caucus, which is part of the Florida Democratic Party.

Candidatejustin kennedy, who is running for a seat on the Volusia County school board, fears that other Republican governors will follow suit if DeSantis' endorsement strategy is successful, he said at Friday's Zoom conference.

“I fear this strategy of dividing up states and localities based on school board elections will spread across the country,” he said Friday. "And that's going to be a whole new dark day when this becomes commonplace across the country."

One of the speakers at Friday's virtual press conference was a member of the Brevard school board.jennifer jenkin, who has spoken about the changing political dynamics. Jenkins is considered a potential lieutenant governor for Crist if he wins the primary and defeats DeSantis in November.

“It's a much more hostile environment. You know, politics is really driving the conversation here," Jenkins said at the virtual conference Friday. He rose to prominence during the pandemic when the Brevard County school board voted to introduce mask mandates last fall, though the DeSantis administration felt it should be a parental choice.

Jenkins gained national attention when he wrote oneOpinion article published in Octoberof the Washington Post, who described some of his experiences with protesters gathering in front of his house to label them pedophiles and burning "FU" laced with herbicide in his yard.

During the press conference, Jenkins referred to a previous legislative attempt to create partisan races for the school board, but the bill did not make it to the 2022 session.

“And now we see Ron DeSantis doing whatever it takes to get around that fact, to make these races as partisan as possible,” he said.


florida phoenixis part of States Newsroom, a network of grant-supported news outlets and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix retains editorial independence. contact publisherDiana Radofor questions:[Email protected]. Continue to follow Florida PhoenixFacebookYGore.

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What is nonpartisan vs partisan election? ›

The more partisan one is ( referred to as "partisanship"), the more likely one is to exhibit uncritical allegiance. Nonpartisan, on the other hand, is an election when no declaration of political party allegiance, affiliation or affinity is allowed by the jurisdiction holding the election.

What does a non partisan ballot mean? ›

For presidential primary elections: NPP voters will receive a “non-partisan” ballot that does not include presidential candidates. A nonpartisan ballot contains only the names of candidates for voter-nominated offices and local nonpartisan offices and measures.

What is a non partisan election quizlet? ›

Nonpartisan election. A local or judicial election in which candidates are not selected or endorsed by political parties and party affiliation is not listed on ballots.

What is partisan voting quizlet? ›

partisan. voting to show ones allegiance to their political party. politico. voting to combine being a trustee, delegate, and partisan. bill.

What is partisan in simple terms? ›

A partisan is someone who supports one part or party. Sometimes the support takes the form of military action, as when guerrilla fighters take on government forces. But partisan is actually most often used as an adjective, usually referring to support of a political party.

What does partisan conflict mean? ›

In multi-party systems, the term is used for persons who strongly support their party's policies and are reluctant to compromise with political opponents. A political partisan is not to be confused with a military partisan.


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