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DeSantis endorses Mildred Russell for School Board

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

ALACHUA COUNTY, FL – Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis endorsed ten “pro-parent” school board candidates, including Mildred Russell in Alachua County.

The endorsement is part of DeSantis’ Education Agenda, which focuses on “putting students first, protecting parents’ rights.” DeSantis’ agenda has ten parts:

  1. Keep Schools Open and Reject Lockdowns
  2. Educate, Don’t Indoctrinate
  3. Ensure Parental Rights in Education and Keep Woke Gender Ideology Out of Schools
  4. Support Robust Civics Education
  5. Expand Workforce Development and Technical Education
  6. Reject the use of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the Curriculum
  7. Increase Teacher Pay
  8. Continue Support for School Security and Mental Health Initiatives
  9. Protect the Right of Parents to Petition School Boards and Districts for Redress of Grievances
  10. Guarantee the Right of Parents to Curriculum Transparency

Russell was appointed to the Alachua County School Board by DeSantis on August 18, 2021, after DeSantis declared the seat vacant because Diyonne McGraw, who was elected in 2020 and is also running against Russell in this year’s election, did not live in the district represented by the seat she won. A new district map, drawn following the 2020 census, now includes McGraw’s home in District 2, the same seat she ran for in 2020.

Unlike County Commissioner Mary Alford, who resigned when it became known that she didn’t live in her district, McGraw refused to resign. Several citizens filed a lawsuit asking the court to enter an emergency injunction preventing her from voting on school board matters, and while Judge Donna Keim refused to grant the emergency injunction, she wrote that the case was likely to succeed on the merits and “By McGraw’s failure to reside in the district for which she was elected, the seat is considered vacant.” Attorney Jeff Childers sent the governor a letter, asking him to declare the seat vacant based on Judge Keim’s order, and two days later, the governor issued an Executive Order, declaring the seat vacant.

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