Bill Person, Steve Cona face off for Hillsborough School Board 1: What you need to know

With two years left in her term, Susan Valdes is leaving and one of these two will take her place
Steve Cona III, left, will face Bill Person in the Nov. 6 election for the District 1 seat on the Hillsborough County School Board.
Steve Cona III, left, will face Bill Person in the Nov. 6 election for the District 1 seat on the Hillsborough County School Board.
Published November 4 2018

WHO’S RUNNING
  • Steve Cona III, 44, is president of the Associated Builders and Contractors Florida Gulf Coast Chapter. He also serves on the governing board of Hillsborough Community College.
  • William H. Person, 67, is retired from the Hillsborough County School District, where he was a teacher, high school principal and administrator who guided the district into a choice system at the end of court-ordered desegregation.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
  • The winner of this race will help determine the direction of the School Board as it works to right the district’s finances, fix air conditioning systems in dozens of schools and deal with growth. This is just a two-year assignment to finish out the term of Susan Valdes as she moves on to serve in the State House.
  • Cona, who is backed financially by the construction industry and organizations that support privately managed charter schools, hopes to bring more of a business perspective to the district. His interests include trades that prepare students for construction jobs.
  • Person is against the proliferation of for-profit charter schools, saying they  lead to a tiered system in which disadvantaged children are concentrated in the district-run schools. He is a critic of superintendent Jeff Eakins and has campaigned as an advocate for classroom teachers.
WHAT YOU NEED TO READ

Click here to read the Tampa Bay Times voter guide, which will give you a breakdown of many of the 2018 races.

Follow @marlenesokol for updates as the returns come in.

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