Some Florida GOP lawmakers want to see if voters think local school boards should be partisan — meaning school board members could be Democrats, Republicans, or another signifier of political alignments.
Flagler School Board
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed to further politicize local school board elections — a way to get more conservatives on those boards that oversee Florida’s massive public education system.
Colleen Conklin’s and Cheryl Massaro’s decision will have far-reaching consequences, ensuring that the new board in 2024 will have the shortest combined experience on the board in at least two decades and a half and giving the culture-war hard-right another opening to win a majority.
The school board’s swearing in and reorganization meeting began on a note of unity but quickly turned to muted contention in a pair of telling 3-2 votes that renew the same split the board has contended with for the past several years.
Contrary to media interpretations, Democrats underperformed woefully nationally, and in Flagler County they were again all but wiped out. To survive locally they have two choices: either run their candidates as Republicans (and support other moderate Republicans), or keep dying at the polls.
For Flagler County and Palm Coast, it is an election of new faces: four races, four newcomers to elected office: Leann Pennington won a seat on the County Commission, Theresa Pontieri and Cathy Heighter won seats to the Palm Coast City Council, and Will Furry won a Flagler County School Board seat.
For nearly 70 years, federal law has barred churches from directly involving themselves in political campaigns, but the IRS has largely abdicated its enforcement responsibilities as churches have become more brazen about publicly backing candidates.
Will Furry, the candidate for Flagler County School Board in the race he’s contesting against Courtney VandeBunte, is running a sleazy campaign funded by deceptive PACs and rich in lies and fabrications. Yet he calls it his “journey of faith.”
FlaglerLive is live-streaming this evening’s Flagler Tiger Bay candidate forum from the Palm Coast Community Center, starting at 6 p.m.
Flagler voters made damn sure that white nationalists, bigots and liars like Joe Mullins, Jill Woolbright and Janet McDonald had a short and embarrassing shelf life. If Flagler is solidly conservative, it remains sanely, moderately so for now, even for a one-party county with just three Democrats among 33 elected officials on six government boards.