Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. The Buzz on Florida Politics
  4. /
  5. Elections

Teacher Edmond on track to win Pinellas School Board seat

The winner will replace Rene Flowers, who resigned to seek a County Commission seat.
Caprice Edmond, candidate for Pinellas School Board, District 7, makes calls and waves signs on Election Day at The Coliseum on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 in St. Petersburg.
Caprice Edmond, candidate for Pinellas School Board, District 7, makes calls and waves signs on Election Day at The Coliseum on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 in St. Petersburg. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Nov. 4, 2020
Updated Nov. 4, 2020

Political newcomer Caprice Edmond held a solid lead Tuesday in her bid for the Pinellas County School Board District 7 seat, overcoming the name recognition and financial advantages of her better-known opponent, Karl Nurse.

With all precincts reporting, but some mail ballots uncounted, Edmond had 57 percent of the vote compared to 43 percent for Nurse.

If Edmond, 32, retains her edge, her win will allow the board to maintain some racial diversity among its seven members. The District 7 seat, which represents southern Pinellas County, has been held by an African American member for the past two decades.

Reached at her campaign watch party, Edmond said she was confident enough to claim victory.

“I’m extremely grateful for the support of the people,” she said, mentioning the diverse grassroots effort that powered her campaign. “We can do so much for the children that are in our schools. They are counting on having an advocate for doing what is right, and I am looking forward to it.”

She said she planned to work with Fairmount Park Elementary School to prepare her replacement as science coach, to ensure the students continue to be well served. She also intended to spend time with her family, after spending much time away to run for the board seat.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do,” Edmond said.

The campaign to fill the remaining two years of Rene Flowers' term featured two aspirants with different ideas about how to tackle issues relating to student performance, achievement gaps, equity and more. Flowers resigned to seek a seat on the Pinellas County Commission.

Edmond spoke at length about the importance of addressing the “whole child” and the wide range of needs among students, including health, academic and social. Nurse, 66, a former St. Petersburg City Council member and the co-founder of a printing company, focused his ideas on tackling literacy for the youngest children and career training for the oldest ones.

Each said their initiatives could help overcome the deficits that traditionally have hampered students in the county’s poorest communities, many of which are heavily minority and sit within District 7.

Because the district had over several years reliably provided an entry point for an African American board member, some conversation during the campaign centered on whether that trend would continue.

Nurse received some criticism for jumping into the race, potentially splitting the African American vote and ending the board’s diversity.

However, both candidates attempted to steer clear of that discussion, each arguing that they had the better experience and background to serve, regardless of skin color.

Edmond talked up her years of work with foster children and mental health services before becoming a teacher. She also has school-age children of her own, giving her another viewpoint into the system.

Nurse suggested the board had enough educators in place, and pointed to his business and political knowledge and skills as a needed ingredient to oversee the district and its $1.6 billion budget.

The winner will be one of two new members to join the seven-member board, which oversees Florida’s eighth-largest school system, serving about 101,000 children. Members are paid $46,630 a year.

Related: In Pinellas, District 7 School Board hopefuls stress experience over race

Tampa Bay Times elections coverage

SIGN UP FOR ELECTION TEXT MESSAGES: Get voting information, news updates and ask political editor Steve Contorno questions about the candidates and issues, directly through your phone.

VOTER GUIDE: Access the Tampa Bay Times’ Know Your Candidates guide at tampabay.com/voterguide.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT VOTING IN FLORIDA? WE HAVE THE ANSWERS: We’ve compiled information on early voting locations, rules for voting by mail and more.

AMENDMENTS: State constitutional amendments on the 2020 ballot, explained.

FELONY CONVICTION? Here are Florida’s rules for registering to vote.

MAIL-IN BALLOTS: So you want to vote by mail in Florida? Here’s what you need to know.

WHY A FLORIDA CITY’S BLACK VOTERS BEAT NATIONAL AVERAGES: Turnout is 10 percent over the national average. That’s been true for generations. The story of Chester James Sr. helps explain why.

POSTAL SERVICE CONCERNS: What’s going on with the U.S. Postal Service and should Florida be worried?

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription. Or click here to make a donation to the Tampa Bay Times Journalism Fund.

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription. Or click here to make a donation to the Tampa Bay Times Journalism Fund.