The Herald recommends for School Board


OUR OPINION: For Miami-Dade School Board



The longest-serving Miami-Dade School Board member, Perla Tabares Hantman, is being challenged by a teacher in her district.

Ms. Tabares Hantman, 73, was re-elected as board chair last year by her peers — the seventh time she’s controlled the gavel since first being elected in 1996. Under Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Ms. Tabares Hantman, the fourth largest school district is humming along like a well-oiled machine. Mr. Carvalho is the nation’s top superintendent, and Miami-Dade voters in November 2012 approved a $1.2 billion bond to renovate schools. These are good times for the district.

Political newcomer Duysevi Karan-Miyar, a teacher at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High, is challenging Ms. Tabares Hantman because she believes the voices of educators and parents are missing from the mix.

As part of her campaign, Ms. Karan-Miyar, 46, alludes to a disconnect between the success felt at the downtown main office and the district’s schools and classrooms, a comment heard more than once by the Editorial Board. Ms. Karan-Miyar’s courageous grassroots campaign against such a formidable, well-financed incumbent is commendable. A tip of the hat to her. Still, for the School Board’s District 4 seat, the Miami Herald recommends PERLA TABARES HANTMAN.

District 8

In the School Board District 8 race, the second-longest serving member, Marta Pérez, is being challenged for the first time since she won in 1998. On the dais, Ms. Pérez remains the squeaky wheel, the reformer, the maverick always asking the hard questions of everyone. She is a staunch supporter of students and taxpayers’ money. That’s an admirable combination.

Ms. Pérez, 63, is being challenged by Lawrence Orihuela, 66, a retired public school teacher and university adjunct instructor. He says that he is not challenging Ms. Pérez for failing at her job, but rather to bring a more qualified face to the board to represent parts of central and west Miami-Dade.

Ms. Pérez’s claim to fame on the board is that she was instrumental in leading it to adopt stronger ethics and accountability measures, including establishment of an Inspector General position and Ethics Commission.

Mr. Orihuela and Ms. Pérez both hold Ph.Ds.

We appreciate Mr. Orihuela for trying to bring new blood to the board, but there’s no pressing reason to cast Ms. Pérez — and her good work — aside. For the School Board District 8 seat, the Miami Herald recommends MARTA PÉREZ.

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