Our coronavirus coverage is free for the first 24 hours. Find the latest information at Please consider subscribing or donating.

  1. Archive

School Board member to seek re-election

Lee Benjamin says he wants to see the district through the transition from court-ordered busing.

School Board member Lee Benjamin, who has been an educator for 45 years, is seeking re-election.

Benjamin, 72, said this week that he has filed paperwork to run for his District 1 seat. District 1 includes the area of the county generally north of 102nd Avenue N and east of U.S. 19.

Benjamin, who has been on the School Board for 10 years, said he wants to help see the school system through the transition after the district is freed of a federal court order that requires cross-county busing for desegregation.

"I want to make sure the Pinellas County school system has the best choice plan that can be developed with input from the community," Benjamin said. "I feel like I've dedicated my life to public education. My experience, my leadership and my integrity are three qualities I give to the board."

Besides working on the new student assignment plan, Benjamin said he wants to continue to improve safety at schools and find new strategies to ensure better pay for teachers, administrators and school support workers. He also wants to see all students have a chance at success.

Benjamin has done just about everything at the district _ he has been a teacher, a coach, a principal and an area superintendent. Five of his children and 10 of his grandchildren attended public schools.

Two other seats are open in the fall elections. Board member Jane Gallucci, an at-large member, has filed paperwork to run for re-election. So far she faces no challenges.

Susan Latvala's term is up, but she is running for a spot on the County Commission. David Archie, a Tarpon Springs city commissioner, is seeking her District 3 seat.

This fall will be the first time that School Board elections are non-partisan. School Board members serve four-year terms and earn $32,112 a year.