Editorials

Herald recommends Misty Servia in runoff for Manatee County School Board D-3

Challenger Misty Servia participates in the Bradenton Herald forum for the District 3 school board seat.
Challenger Misty Servia participates in the Bradenton Herald forum for the District 3 school board seat. ttompkins@bradenton.com

Challenger Misty Servia built her campaign for Manatee County School Board District 3 on a platform of great concern to the community — rebuilding public trust in the board’s decision-making and countenance. Incumbent Dave Miner believes a degree of progress has been achieved since he arrived on the board four years ago. Voters in this November runoff will be the judge.

But the public’s discontent with the board lingers.

The board lost some credibility by linking the extension of the vital half-cent sales tax on the November ballot to a 50 percent cap on the collection of impact fees from builders. While the board batted this around at meeting after meeting, the public outcry finally convinced the panel to overturn the linkage. But once again, the board lost some public confidence in its decision-making.

After months of public outrage, Miner led the charge to eliminate the impact fee connection to the tax referendum — after initially voting in favor of the link. The issue should never have dragged on so long.

Servia embraces the idea of careful deliberations on such important decisions as well as getting public input. Such an approach could have avoided the sales tax-impact fee debacle.

That reflects her top platform component — communications, particularly in the realm of rebuilding trust in the school board. Servia plans to hold town halls at times convenient to working parents to gain input.

Servia points out that her support for the tax referendum is conditional — contingent on the implementation of oversight and accountability on the collection and outlays of the revenue to assure the public that appropriate projects are the objective. Miner supports that approach, too.

Servia, a lifelong resident of the region, has been involved in the school district for the past decade — as a parent, mentor, special needs advocate and committee member. Her other community connections include Take Stock in Children, Pace Center for Girls, the Manatee County Housing Authority and Manatee Habitat for Humanity along with a host of other organizations.

As also noted in our August endorsement, with 28 years as a certified planner in the private and public sectors, Servia has managed budgets for large projects, easing any learning curve on dealing with a school district budget. She’s also held leadership roles with two statewide professional planning organizations as well community groups, so she understands the responsibilities and requirements of a leader, another asset.

Servia rejected Miner’s recent charge that as a board member she would have to recuse herself from important votes over what he perceived to be conflicts of interest, but her employer, King Engineering, has not worked on public schools in her 10 years with the firm, she told the Herald.

She’s not shy about leveling sharp criticism of the incumbent by stating she wants to bring professionalism back to the District 3 School Board seat and focus more on strengthening our education infrastructure and not divisive agendas. Her unflappable demeanor will certainly help her attain her goals as well as bring a more harmonious tone to the board.

As previously stated here, Servia’s leadership experience, community connections and public service, her strong desire to restore trust in the school board and her communication skills and goals make her the best candidate. For Manatee County School Board District 3, the Bradenton Herald Editorial Board recommends Misty Servia.

Candidate replies

Candidates who do not receive the Herald Editorial Board’s endorsement are invited to submit a response of up to 300 words. Those can be sent to letters@bradenton.com or faxed to 745-7097.

View candidate forums

The Herald, in partnership with Manatee Educational Television, has videotaped candidate forums in these contested races. These forums can be viewed on www.youtube.com/manateeeducationaltv (click on Videos). METV is also regularly airing all the forums, and the station can be viewed on Brighthouse channel 614, Verizon FIOS 31 and Comcast 19. For METV air times, visit www.metvweb.com.

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