Maria Teresa Rojas war chest nears $160K for Miami-Dade Public School Board defense
Image via Twitter.

Maria Teresa Rojas
More than half her gains last month came from real estate and construction businesses.

Incumbent Miami-Dade County School Board member Maria Teresa Rojas added more than $12,000 in February to her still-unopposed re-election campaign for District 6.

As of Feb. 28, “Mari Tere” had close to $159,000 between her campaign account and political committee, It’s All About the Kids!

More than half her gains last month came from real estate and construction businesses. Armag III, a subsidiary of South Florida developer Armando Codina’s firm Codina Partners, gave $5,000.

Two other real estate companies with a shared address, Cajag Consulting and GLC Development Ventures, gave $1,000 apiece.

Rojas received $1,000 donations from Miami-based legal, lobbying and government affairs businesses Metropolitan Strategic Consulting, Marante Strategic Group and the Lasarte Law Firm.

Do Better, a political committee supporting and chaired by West Miami Vice Mayor Eric Diaz-Padron, also gave $1,000.

Three people gave Rojas checks ranging from $50 to $200.

Rojas reported no spending in February.

Miami-Dade Public Schools District 6 covers a coastal portion of the county encompassing almost 40 public schools in Coral Gables, Key Biscayne, Miami, South Miami and the unincorporated areas of Kendall and Westchester.

Rojas, a professional educator of more than 45 years, first scored a seat on the nine-member county School Board in 2016, when then-member and current Miami-Dade Commissioner Raquel Regalado resigned to run for county Mayor.

Regalado’s incumbent opponent that year was Rojas’ brother-in-law, Carlos Giménez, who now serves in Washington representing Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

Rojas defeated former The Children’s Trust President Modesto “Mo” Abety with more than 66% of the vote Nov. 8, 2016, to succeed Regalado and complete the remainder of her term. Two years later, she secured re-election when no opponent filed to run against her.

In August, she joined fellow School Board members Luisa Baez-Geller, Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Steve Gallon III, Perla Hantman, Marta Pérez and Luisa Santos in voting to defy an executive order by Gov. Ron DeSantis and require masking of all students and staff on public school campuses.

The Board voted in January to appoint Jose Dotres to as the district’s new Superintendent. Florida Politics previously identified Dotres as a frontrunner in the contest to replace Alberto Carvalho, who took a job as the new Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Along with Rojas, Bendross-Mindingall, Hantman and Pérez — who all represent even-numbered districts — are up for re-election. So far, only Bendross-Mindingall has drawn a challenger. Hantman is not listed as an active candidate. The deadline to qualify as a candidate is June 17.

In September, School Board members unanimously passed a $7 billion operating budget, the largest in its history and nearly $2 billion more than approved for the year prior.

The Primary Election is on Aug. 23. Should a run-off election be required in any race, the top two candidates will square off Nov. 8.

Candidates faced a Feb. 28 deadline to report all campaign finance activity.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at Jess[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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