Education

No challengers, so these two Miami School Board members are automatically reelected

The Miami-Dade County School Board will meet July 18 to approve referendum language to be placed on the November general election ballot that would raise property taxes for initiatives such as teacher compensation.
The Miami-Dade County School Board will meet July 18 to approve referendum language to be placed on the November general election ballot that would raise property taxes for initiatives such as teacher compensation. aharris@miamiherald.com

Mari Tere Rojas visited the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections office on Friday to see whether anyone would drop by.

By the noon deadline, no one filed paperwork to vie for her District 6 seat on the Miami-Dade County School Board, nor did anyone challenge District 8 incumbent Marta Perez. And that meant Rojas and Perez were automatically reelected to four-year terms.

"I'm just elated that my community had the faith in me to reelect me to another four-year term," said Rojas, who bested three opponents for Raquel Regalado's former seat in 2016.

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Miami-Dade School Board member Mari Tere Rojas

Two other sitting board members won't have it as easy. They each face one challenger in the nonpartisan races on the August primary ballot.

Chair Perla Tabares Hantman, who has the most seniority on the board since being elected in 1996, faces Irene Torroella-Garcia, a real estate appraiser according to her campaign documents, for the District 4 seat in Hialeah. They've respectively raised $38,700 and $10,200, however Hantman has not spent any money yet while Torroella-Garcia has spent about $2,600 on a campaign consulting firm.

Incumbent Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall faces Brandon Sean Alfred, a dean at Jose de Diego Middle School, for the District 2 seat, which covers parts of Overtown, Liberty City and Little Haiti . They've raised about $52,000 and $31,000, respectively.

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Miami-Dade School Board member Marta Perez

Friday marks Perez's sixth term on the board, a total of 20 years serving the West Kendall and Sweetwater area in District 8. She holds the second-longest tenure on the board behind Tabares Hantman. Perez had a challenger, but Zachary Michael Traylor withdrew from the race May 7.

Perez raised almost $150,000 and spent $12,000 on political consulting and campaign materials.

Perez used Dark Horse Strategies in Little Havana as her consulting firm. Rojas partnered with Marin and Sons in South Miami-Dade.

Rojas' district stretches along U.S. 1 from Key Biscayne to South Miami. She said she likely donate some of her $120,000 in leftover campaign contributions to charities.

This story has been corrected to reflect that Rojas has a different political consulting firm than Perez.

Colleen Wright can be reached at 305-376-3003 or @Colleen_Wright.
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