A group of high-profile community members will help lead the campaign to ask voters to pass a $1.2 billion school bond referendum in November.
On the roster: former elected officials, business leaders, a community activist and an ex-Miami Heat player.
The referendum, proposed by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, aims to fix the aging schools across the Miami-Dade district and improve access to educational technology for all students.
A political action committee, called Building for Tomorrow, announced its leadership team Thursday at Miami Senior High School in Little Havana. The committee is spearheading the political campaign for the bond’s passage. Tony Argiz, chairman, said he worked with Carvalho to recruit leaders. He said they will help inform voters, for example leading tours of dilapidated schools, and help raise money for the campaign.
“This isn’t even political. It’s about the future of our county and our city,” Argiz said. “Education was really what helped me out with life. I want to make sure I give back to the community what I’ve received,” added Argiz, who arrived in Florida from Cuba without his parents as part of Operation Pedro Pan.
The leadership team includes:
* Adrienne Arsht, philanthropist
* Manny Diaz, former Miami mayor
* Adolfo Enriquez, chairman of the school district’s business advisory group
* T. Willard Fair, president and chief executive of the Urban League of Greater Miami
* Former Gov. and Sen. Bob Graham
* Dave Lawrence, chairman of The Children’s Movement of Florida and former Miami Herald publisher
* Jack Lowell, former chairman of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce and the Beacon Council
* Roberto Martinez, vice chairnan of the state Board of Education
* Gepsie Metellus, executive director of Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center
* Former Miami Heat player Alonzo Mourning
* Marcelo Llorente, lawyer and former state Representative
* Miami developer Jorge Perez.
Lowell said he volunteered to join. He called the referendum “perfect timing” because, if passed, it would start as the previous bond measure ends.
Lawrence, who advocates on behalf of children across the state, said he is a product of public school.
“I go to many, many public schools in this community. Some are pretty spectacular, and some are fading or below fading,” he said. “All children deserve an atmosphere that is clean, well-lighted, cool -- where they can learn.”