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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas teachers union endorses Ken Peluso

The Pinellas teachers union is throwing its support behind the incumbent member in all four school board races in which a sitting board member is running.

But perhaps a little more surprising is the union's endorsement in the District 4 race, which has no incumbent.

The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association and the Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association are backing Ken Peluso, a retired chiropractor from Palm Harbor.

In May, outgoing District 4 board member Robin Wikle said she's endorsing Beverley Billiris, the former mayor of Tarpon Springs. "She's been in the classroom the last four years so she's closest to the changing landscape in education the last four years," Wikle said of Billiris in an interview with Gradebook.

Billiris is a teacher at Tarpon Springs Elementary. "I think that's important when filling my seat because at this time there's only one school board member with children in school." (Terry Krassner, for those of you playing at home.)

The union did not say why it was making any of its endorsements.

In a June 15 letter informing Peluso of the endorsement, former President Kim Black hand-wrote "Let's Win!" by her signature.

Peluso, who retired from his practice at the start of 2014, has served as chairman of Pinellas County's Early Learning Coalition, spent time as a member of the Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce's education committee, and served on the statewide Early Learning Advisory Council.

In the 2008 election, he narrowly lost to Wikle.

The union is giving Peluso a check for $500 and urged him to contact them to discuss other ways they can help win the school board seat.

In the other four races, the union is endorsing incumbents Linda Lerner, Peggy O'Shea, Rene Flowers and Terry Krassner.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 3:16pm]


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