BY BUDDY NEVINS
The School Board race for the Fort Lauderdale-based east Broward seat may end up more about Gov. Rick Scott than education.
Named to the School Board less than three weeks ago by Scott, Heather Brinkworth launched her campaign on Monday to win her first full term.
Education activist Nicholas Sakhnovsky also began his campaign on Monday.
The outline of the battle can already be seen through the comments to Browardbeat.com below. Brinkworth will be attacked as a Republican ally of Scott.
A former reading teacher and PTA president, Brinkworth was named Feb. 28 by Scott to replace Katie Leach, who resigned for family reasons. The appointment lasts through the November election.
Whoever wins this year’s election takes over School Board District 3 in November.
District 3 includes parts of Fort Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors and Plantation.
Sakhnovsky has one advantage: Experience with campaigning.
However, Sakhnowsky doesn’t have experience with successful campaigning. He has run unsuccessfully for School Board and city commissions.
Although Sakhnovsky lost repeatedly, he has a history of making speeches, political glad-handing and soliciting support. His biggest campaign was for a School Board countywide district in 2010, getting 20.5 percent and losing to Jennifer Gottlieb.
A graduate of Florida Atlantic University, Brinkworth, 45, is married and has two children at Bayview Elementary in Fort Lauderdale. She is a former reading teacher, PTA president and member of Fort Lauderdale’s education advisory board.
Sakhnovsky has an education leadership degree from Florida Atlantic University. He has been chair of the school system’s Facilities Task Force, an advisory group which deals with the construction, repair and renovation of school buildings.
School Board races are non-partisan, but both parties promote their candidates. The District has roughly 71,000 Democrats, 45,000 Republicans and 39,000 independents.
Brinkworth is a former Republican who became an independent. She then switched back to Republican when Leach resigned.
Her party registration and her appointment by Scott is already an issue.
“I am very uneasy about having this many appointees by Rick Scott on the School Board,” wrote Democratic activist Seth Platt on Browardbeat.com’s comment board.
Donna Korn, who holds a countywide School Board seat, is the other appointee of Scott’s on the Board.
Korn has proven that being appointed by the GOP governor does not mean automatic defeat in an election. With less money and little campaigning, Korn beat veteran former Democratic state House Leader Franklin Sands in a 2012 countywide race.