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Miami-Dade schools superintendent not on the ballot, but stands to win big from campaign

One of Miami-Dade’s smoothest politicians just might persuade tax-weary voters to OK a $1.2 billion bond issue to finance school and technology upgrades, repaid with property taxes.

And he’s not even elected.

For many voters and local politicians, their support of the bond boils down to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and his record managing the nation’s fourth-largest school district.

“The superintendent is, in essence, the public face and the candidate,” said Fernand Amandi, a political consultant. “He’s leveraging his record and the trust he’s built with the community and his job rating to secure passage … The bond issue is, yes, for the schools, but the driving force of it is Superintendent Carvalho.”

The bond is likely to pass, according to a recent poll for The Miami Herald. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez and Miami City Commissioner Francis Suarez have endorsed the measure.

Carvalho said it’s not about him, but the “face of countless children.”

But if the bond passes, whither Carvalho?

“The natural next step would be to look for an opportunity for leadership whether it’s in this community or in some other capacity,” Amandi said.

Many parents and observers know Carvalho could move to the national education stage or try for political office. He declined last year to apply for a position with the U.S. Department of Education. His name has been polled as a candidate for county mayor and had “very high” approval rating, said School Board member Carlos Curbelo.

More from Laura Isensee here.