A legislative proposal to change the structure of the Miami-Dade School Board cleared a Florida House education committee Tuesday.
The bill -- sponsored by Rep. Ana Rivas Logan, a Miami-Dade School Board member until her election to the Legislature last November -- would turn two of the board's nine seats into at-large posts representing all of the county. Those two members would serve as the board's chairperson and vice-chairperson.
The bill moved forward along party lines, with Democrats in the committee voting against it.
Logan said the change would put the best interests of school district over petty politics prompted by members who represent disparate voting districts. "You end up fighting for your district, and there's no one that looks out for the district as a whole," she said.
Democrats on the House K-20 Innovation Subcommittee questioned the need for the change and suggested it would reduce the voting power of blacks and Hispanics. Rep. Mia Jones, a Jacksonville Democrat, said it took a lawsuit to get Hispanics and African Americans on the school board in the first place.
Countered Logan: "Miami-Dade is now a majority-minority county, where many minorities have been elected countywide -- including President Obama in 2008," she said.
--JODIE TILLMAN AND PATRICIA MAZZEI