The three candidates hoping to woo voters for the Manatee County School Board District 3 seat are relying on their differing experiences.
Charlie Conoley wants the community to trust his career in banking and budget management, arguing a sound budget reverberates throughout the district. Dave Miner has served four years on the board, and wants voters to allow him to continue on down the path he’s started. Misty Servia hopes her connections with the community and her ability to build trust will help propel the district forward and bring community members together.
Those are the three choices that voters in the county will have for District 3 in the Aug. 30 primary. If no candidate earns more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will head to a run-off election in November. School board races are nonpartisan, and candidates must live in the district they are running to represent, but those across the county get to cast a vote.
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A continuation of good work that’s been done for the last four years is what Miner is hoping to cash in on at the primary.
“I’m the one that does things, not just complains about them,” Miner said.
Miner said he’s proud of the different positions and stances he’s taken in the last four years on the board, including being outspoken against former Superintendent Rick Mills, who Miner said was “a bully.”
“I stood up to someone who could not successfully lead the district where it needed to go,” Miner said. “I’m proud of that, we are a better district because of it.”
In the race, Miner has raised $11,895 in campaign contributions and almost $25,000 from in-kind contributions. He’s spent almost $11,000, according to the Supervisor of Elections site.
Servia thinks her connections in the community would be the best way to get all the stakeholders to trust the board again and to work together to help better the education system.
“I have spent my career and a lifetime building relationships that I think we can leverage to help the school district,” she said.
To rebuild the broken trust, Servia said she’ll focus on listening to stakeholders before decisions are made and making the right decision the first-time around.
“I think that’s a good way to start rebuilding trust,” she said.
Seriva has raised more than $52,000 in contributions, taken in about $3,000 from in-kind contributions and spent $46,000, according to the election supervisor’s website.
Striking a slightly different chord, Conoley has remained steadfast in saying a better-managed budget would best help the school board, and arguing neither Servia nor Miner has the experience he has with managing large-scale budgets efficiently.
“There’s plenty of revenue if it’s managed properly,” Conoley said.
Conoley said he believes education should be level, but said if candidates really want to make changes related to high-stakes testing they should run for state positions, because that’s where decisions are made in Florida. At the local level, it’s all about managing the money you have, Conoley said.
“That’s not the job of the school board,” he said.
Of the three candidates for the District 3 seat, Conoley has raised the least amount of money, with $10,150 in campaign contributions, no reported in-kind contributions and expenditures totaling about $6,000.
Name: Charlie Conoley
Election experience: None
Professional experience: 35-year-career in banking, currently a senior vice president with Florida Capital Bank
Family: Wife with two stepsons, and a son and a daughter.
Name: Dave Miner
Election experience: First elected in 2012, seeking re-election
Professional experience: Practicing lawyer in Florida since 1974, owns his own law firm
Family: Married with two children
Name: Misty Servia
Election experience: None
Professional experience: 28-year-career as a professional planner, currently with King Engineering associates
Family: Married with three children