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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

South Pinellas voters: It's election eve...Do you know who your candidate is?



lewwilliamshome.JPGjim_jackson.JPGSouth Pinellas voters, you have one more day to cast your vote in the nonpartisan District 7 race for Pinellas County school board.

Who will it be?

Lew Williams, left, a retired Pinellas County school administrator? Or Jim Jackson, right, a retired Miami-Dade College psychology professor?

Williams was the front-runner in the three-way August primary, grabbing 39 percent to Jackson's 33 and third-place candidate Keisha Bell's 27 percent. But Jackson is the front runner in terms of fundraising to date, pulling in $42,623 to Williams' $16,545. (Both received the bulk of their donations during the primary campaign.)

Williams has obtained some important endorsements such as the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association and the St. Petersburg Times editorial board. But Jackson has a highly-organized campaign thanks in part to campaign manager Steve Lapinski that includes the support of some local leaders like St. Petersburg city council members Steve Kornell and Karl Nurse.

They compete to replace retiring two-term board member Mary Brown, the first black candidate to be elected to the seven-member school board. The person who wins this election could determine whether or not Pinellas County has any minority representation on the school board.

District 7 is  where all the F-rated schools lie. It is a district struggling with resegregation since the beginning of the county's return to "neighborhood schools." Almost 58 percent of students attending District 7 schools are minorities, though 69 percent of registered voters in District 7 are white.

For a quick reminder on the race, here's a condensed race summary from the St. Petersburg Times' Know Your Candidates section that ran last month. And here's a recent story on the differences in Williams' and Jackson's manner and style.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Who will win this one is anyone's guess.

[Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 3:25pm]


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