Three New Hillsborough County School Board Members Elected In Major Reshuffle
The new members are current or former teachers. Only incumbent Lynn Gray won re-election.
The Hillsborough County School Board has struggled to manage a multi-million dollar budget deficit, and on Tuesday, three new members were elected to represent one of the top 10 largest districts in the nation.
The reshuffle of the seven-member board comes weeks after the district announced it would allow hundreds of teacher job vacancies to go unfilled and would cut some temporary teacher jobs to try and bridge the gap.
“It’s partly dissatisfaction with some of the dysfunction on the school board that played against the incumbents. It is partly ideological or partisan support, I think, that is affecting these races,” said political analyst William March.
School board races are supposed to be non-partisan, but local parties back the candidates they favor, he added.
“And in a couple of cases you saw comparatively conservative board members backed by local Republicans lose to progressive candidates,” March said.
Vice chair Steve Cona was defeated by Nadia Combs, an educator who was endorsed by the teacher’s union and progressive Democrats.
And substitute teacher Jessica Vaughn, also backed by Democrats, beat Republican Mitch Thrower for the seat left vacant by Cindy Stuart, who is becoming the Hillsborough clerk of court.
Tamara Shamburger lost her seat to Henry Washington, a former teacher and administrator.
The only incumbent board member to retain her seat was Lynn Gray. She beat former board member Sally Harris, who was backed by conservative groups.