The United Teachers of Dade (UTD) is releasing its full list of endorsements for five Miami-Dade County School Board seats up for election in 2020.
The group is backing Steve Gallon III in District 1, Russ Rywell in District 3, Mara Zapata in District 5, Lubby Navarro in District 7 and Nancy Lawther in District 9.
UTD President Karla Hernández-Mats announced her group was endorsing Rywell last Friday. Tuesday afternoon, she added a statement explaining her group’s decisions in the other four races.
“UTD’s mission is to advocate for Miami-Dade education professionals and the well-being of our students. Selecting school board representatives who will work to preserve the integrity of public education and who will fight against the attack on our neighborhood schools from Tallahassee is critical to that mission,” Hernández-Mats said.
“The candidates we have chosen have demonstrated a commitment to public education advocacy and possess experiences that uniquely position them to protect the best interests of M-DCPS and its educators, staff, and students. We are proud to support their candidacy and look forward to working with them in the future.”
Gallon is the District 1 incumbent and the only candidate in that contest so far.
But the other four races are all competitive. The races in District 3, 5 and 9 are all open contests and feature three to five candidates.
In District 7, Navarro is seeking to defend her seat against two challengers and now has a public push from UTD to help her do just that.
In Tuesday’s release, Hernández-Mats also included a statement on legislation approved Monday by the House that would increase income caps on school choice tax credits and expand the number of students eligible to receive scholarships.
The measure must still be approved by the Senate. But UTD is opposed to the bill.
“Traditional public schools currently serve 90% of our children, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, disability, religion, or any other factor, while voucher programs barely met their scholarship cap of 18,000 vouchers last year,” Hernández-Mats said.
“The use of public tax dollars to expand this program is not only unjustified, it is a violation of Florida Constitutional law which calls for the right to free and unfettered public education for all. It is high time that people understand that elections matter and who we choose to represent us can and will have long-lasting effects on the future of our children, from the school board on up.”