(BLACK PR WIRE) - MIAMI, Fla. - Representative Cynthia Stafford (D-Miami) expressed disappointment today with the passage of CS/CS/HB 307 in the House Education Committee. The bill aims to reduce school board voting districts to seven single member districts, and add two at-large members who would serve as chair and vice chair. The bill only applies to school boards in counties of more than 2 million people. Currently, only Miami-Dade County fits the criteria.
Representative Stafford issued the following statement:
“In Miami-Dade County, at-large seats resulted in a lack of diversity on the Miami-Dade County school board. It took a lawsuit to get to the minority representation numbers we have today on the school board. Anything that reduces representation concerns me. With this bill, Miami-Dade County will take a “forced” step backwards, not forward. The African American vote will be diluted, and we fought too hard to get the seats that currently exist. To tamper with the process is disheartening and will have a negative impact. Although the faces have changed, the game has not.
“What this bill is attempting to do is not fair, not right and not needed,” added Rep. Stafford. “Why is this being done? There is already a mechanism in place to address school board configuration. Tallahassee should not place this mandate on Miami-Dade County, particularly at a time when our focus should be on issues such as jobs and health care.”
The bill passed along party line votes, with one Republican voting against the bill with Democrats.