MANATEE -- Karen Carpenter, a Manatee County school board member finishing up her first term, filed for re-election for the District 4 school board seat, she confirmed Friday.
"I think we need to keep the train on the track and keep the district moving forward," Carpenter said.
Carpenter, who was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, said she wanted to clear up some health issues before she decided whether to run for re-election. Earlier this week, Carpenter received a clean bill of health from her doctors.
"I couldn't do it if I wasn't healthy," she said.
Carpenter defeated Jennifer A. Radebach in the 2010 election, garnering 52.4 percent of the vote.
No other candidate has declared for the District 4 seat yet. The district covers Manatee County south of Bradenton.
With all the turmoil the school district has faced in terms of financial constraints and legal issues, Carpenter said it's time for the district to move on, and she wants to be a part of that team that continues to fix things.
"We've had some dark days in the school district in Manatee County," she said.
Carpenter called the behavior of former administrators and school employees in the district "embarrassing" and said those actions are a distraction from the dis
trict's mission to focus on children.
"Children have been lost in the shuffle, and we need to continue our focus on the children," she said.
Carpenter said she is comfortable working with Superintendent Rick Mills and the team that he's assembled.
"This is about the future," she said, of the work being done in the district.
Two other school board seats are up for election this year. All Manatee County voters are allowed to cast ballots in each of the school board races. The election is nonpartisan.
Julie Aranibar, the incumbent in District 5, will face Carlton "Les" Nichols in the primary, according to the Manatee Supervisor of Elections website. District 5 covers most of East Manatee south of the Manatee River.
The District 2 seat, held by Barbara Harvey for the last 16 years, is also up for grabs this year. The district covers most of the urban core of Bradenton and Palmetto.
Harvey, a Palmetto resident and retired school principal, has yet to decide if she will run for re-election, she said on Friday. But she is leaning toward running.
"I am talking about it with my family at length," she said.
If she runs, she will face off against Rodney Jones and Charlie Kennedy, according to the Manatee Supervisor of Elections website.
The qualifying period for the school board race is June 16-20.
The primary election is Aug. 26, and if a runoff is needed, it would be held Nov. 4.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.