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Tiger Bay to host digital Pinellas County School Board District 1 forum

The open race includes two teachers and a business leader.

Candidates for Pinellas County School Board District 1 will come together via Zoom this Wednesday for a live forum hosted by the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club. 

The forum, which starts at noon, includes a moderated discussion and a Q&A session. The conference is free for members of the Tiger Bay Club, and $5 for non-members. Members can submit questions to ask the candidates. 

The Pinellas County School Board District 1 seat is currently held by Joanne Lentino, who is not running for reelection. Two teachers and a local businesswoman are running to replace her. 

The candidates, Laura Hine, Stephanie Meyer and Tom Topping, are racing for the at at-large, countywide seat. 

Hine graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in aerospace engineering, and earned an MBA from the University of South Florida. Now Hine is the executive director of the The James Museum.

She currently leads in fundraising with $50,427. Hine has children in the Pinellas County school system, and her platform focuses on supporting teachers. 

Meyer’s campaign comes second in campaign contributions with $24,688. Meyer, who also has children in school, is a Pinellas County teacher who chose to pursue a career in educating after leaving a Fortune 500 company. 

Her campaign focuses on redirecting funds to the classroom, protecting and expanding school choice and promoting mental health counseling. 

Topping, also was a Pinellas school teacher, has the least active campaign with just $8,122 in contributions. He worked in public education for 23 years before starting his business Training Perfected. 

His goals are to reduce achievement gaps for Black students in the Pinellas County school system, promote equity for students and teachers and ensure schools safer with violence prevention.

Written By

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at khayes15966@gmail.com.

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