Term-limited Democratic state Rep. Bruce Antone has filed to run for the Orange County School Board in 2020.
Antone, 59, of Orlando, filed on Jan. 8 to run for the School Board’s District 5 seat to represent much of west-central Orange County. He is seeking to succeed Kathleen “Kat” Gordon, who has indicated she may be stepping down after this term. Antone said he would not run if Gordon decides to seek another term, but welcomes the opportunity to follow her in the seat.
Antone is the ranking member on the Florida House Education Committee, and said he wants to bring the expertise he’s developed from that committee to the school board. In particular, he said he wants to address teachers’ salaries, and to help assure that inner-city schools receive the resources they need.
If elected to the Orange County School Board, he could join another former Democratic member of the Florida House on that board, Karen Castor Dentel. She was elected in 2018 to complete the last two years of a term in the School Board’s District 6 seat. Dentel, 51, filed Jan. 2 to seek re-election to a full term.
Antone represents House District 46 in west Orlando and western Orange County. He has held that seat since 2012, and previously had served two terms in House District 39, prior to redistricting. An Alabama native and graduate of Tuskegee Institute, Antone also has been a legislative aide to Buddy Dyer, when the current Orlando Mayor was in the Florida Senate.
HD 46 and the Orange County School Board District 5 share many neighborhoods, stretching from the southern Pine Hills community through Washington Shores and down into the Oak Ridge community in south-central Orange County. The region has a large African-American population. It also has high poverty rate.
Four of the eight school board seats are up in the 2020 election. Neither Antone nor Castor Dentel [in District 6 covering north-central Orange County] has yet drawn an opponent. In the board’s District 4 seat, covering southwestern Orange County, two candidates have entered the contest: Dayna Lynn Gaut, 58, of Orlando, and Prince Brown, 57, of Winter Garden. So far, no one has filed to run for the District 7 seat covering northwestern Orange County.
Three Democrats are running for Antone’s HD 46 seat: Cynthia Harris, Travaris McCurdy, and Aretha Simons.