In two quieter Miami-Dade County School Board races that were decided Tuesday night, incumbents Perla Tabares Hantman and Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall will stay on the board for another four years.
Hantman continues her reign as the longest-serving current board member. With more than 80 percent of precincts reporting, voters granted her a sixth term on the board since she was first elected in 1996. She won about 59 percent of the vote out of her Hialeah and Miami Lakes area District 4 seat. Her challenger, Irene Torroella-Garcia, a real-estate appraiser and former substitute teacher, won about 40 percent of the vote.
Bendross-Mindingall also easily won the District 2 seat she’s had since 2010, which serves the heart of Miami including the neighborhoods of Liberty City, Overtown, Little Haiti, Wynwood, Morningside, El Portal and Miami Shores. She won about 68 percent of the vote.
Her challenger, Brandon Alfred, won about 32 percent of the vote. He returns to school tomorrow as a dean of culture at Jose De Diego Middle School in Wynwood.
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Four school board seats were up for election this year, but incumbents Mari Tere Rojas in District 6 and Marta Perez in District 8 were automatically reelected in June when no challengers filed to run by the deadline.
School district officials in Miami also watched the Broward County election to see how voters felt about a referendum to raise property taxes for teacher pay and school security. That ballot measure serves as a litmus test for Miami-Dade, which will have a similar, yet more expensive and specific, referendum on the general election ballot in November.
As of 8:15 p.m., with just early voting ballots reported, about 63 percent of the votes were in favor.
“They’re fighting for the same causes, the same beliefs we’re fighting for in Miami,” said superintendent Alberto Carvalho early Tuesday.