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Key applicants for Broward school board have notable Republican connections


Two women seeking spots on the Broward school board have listed prominent local Republicans on their applications to Gov. Rick Scott. Last month school board member Katie Leach announced she would leave her position in December due to her husband getting a job in California.

Heather Brinkworth listed Leach and former state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, as references. Brinkworth is a regional manager for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and a former Broward schools reading teacher. She is also the PTA President at Bayview Elementary and chairs the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Education Advisory Board. Brinkworth wouldn’t talk to Naked Politics about why she changed her voter registration from independent to Republican in October. (Technically school board members run non-partisan -- the majority of the board is Democrat.)

Wanda Ross, wife of Broward Judge Dale Ross and a registered Republican in Broward since 1987, retired as a principal in the district in June after working at Broward schools since 1988. One of her references listed on the application is Jim Scott -- one of the longest Republican elected officials in Broward. Scott, an attorney at Tripp Scott, was a former state legislator and then a county commissioner before he was ousted by Democrat Ken Keechl in 2006.

We suspect that Scott might ask candidates their positions on Common Core. Scott has tried to strike a compromise of sorts about Common Core which has faced heated attacks from the left and the right. Scott hasn’t dismissed the benchmarks but in September he signed an executive order withdrawing from a national consortium creating assessments for Common Core.

In interviews with Naked Politics, both Ross and Brinkworth echoed a stance somewhat similar to Scott’s.

“I believe Common Core is probably a good set of standards,” Brinkworth said. “I still have a big question mark as to the assessment as do  a lot of people. It is something that needs to be considered very carefully.”

We asked Ross if she is a Common Core supporter. “As far as the benchmarks I think they are excellent. We need to really challenge students more than we have in the past.” But Ross said that she has read a lot about the debate on the assessments and it is “something we have to look at.”

Both Ross and Brinkworth said they hadn't heard anything about Scott's timeline for making appointments.