Miner files for District 2 Manatee school board race

MANATEE — Dave “Watchdog” Miner, a lawyer in private practice for more than a decade, is taking his third shot in a decade at the District 2 school board seat soon to be vacated by retiring school board Chair Harry Kinnan.

Miner, who ran unsuccessfully against Kinnan for the seat in 2008 and 2004, said feedback from voters countywide make him believe his third bid will be successful.

“People from all quarters have said, ‘Dave, we want you on that board,’ “ said Miner, who has also run and lost twice for the District 68 House seat.

Miner, who has been endorsed by former School Board Chair Ruby Byrd, said his decades of monitoring the school board for transparency and responsiveness make him a candidate whose experience is especially needed given the issues facing public education locally and statewide.

Miner is a regular fixture at school board meetings and a constant critic of the current school board and Schools Superintendent Tim McGonegal.

Recently, his criticisms have been leveled at topics that include the school board’s handling of redistricting and executive sessions. Miner also has criticized the school district administration for being slow to respond to requests for information.

Among the changes he seeks to bring to the board is a new format for school board meetings. Miner said current board members have built a habit of discussing major issues during untelevised workshops rather than televised board meetings. He said the current structure of meetings, such as spending the first hour or so on congratulations and celebrations, leaves important board business for late at night when board members and the public are “tired” and unable to pay as close attention as they should.

“Most people of our community would like to see a real discussion of important issues discussed at school board meetings and not hidden at a workshop,” he said.

Miner is a former regional governor of the Florida Association of School Advisory Councils, former president of Manatee Children’s Services, and former chairman of the Manatee County Cable Televisions Advisory Board. He is also a Vietnam War veteran and was named a “Sunshine Hero” by the First Amendment Foundation and has received the honor of Children’s Advocate of the Year and “Drum Major for Justice” from local organizations.

He joins a growing field of candidates for the District 2 seat. Robert Moates, a government teacher at Lakewood Ranch High, and William Chaltis, a math teacher at Palmetto High, have also filed for the District 2 seat.

Christine Hawes, Herald education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Or follow her on Twitter @chawesreports.