BY BUDDY NEVINS
State Rep. Franklin Sands, the former Florida House Democratic leader, announced Wednesday that he is running for the Broward County School Board.
Sands, 71, immediately began calling potential contributors.
His candidacy was first reported by Browardbeat.com yesterday.
Asked to give reasons he wants to be on the School Board, Sands said, “I want to continue to serve and try to make a difference.”
His news release announcing his candidacy is below.
The legislator would run for the countywide seat that is now held by gubernatorial appointee Katie Leach, a Republican.
But the seat is expected open next year.
Leach has decided not to run for the countywide seat. Instead she will run for member Maureen Dinnen’s smaller and more Republican Fort Lauderdale-Plantation central Broward district.
It is possible that Donna Korn, a Republican appointed to a Northwest Broward district earlier this year, would run countywide against Sands.
Now that Sands has jumped into the race, expect other Democrats considering a campaign to back away. A legislator since 2004 who is term limited out next year, Sands has a strong network of contacts and contributors.
He currently works for state Democrats in a 2012 Get-Out-The-Vote and organizing effort.
“I would run only with the blessing of the party,” Sands said. ”And if I run, I would put all my effort and energy into it.”
The state party is keeping his role and salary quiet and off the books, which leads me to ask the question, “Why?”
State Democratic spokeswoman Brannon Jordon said, “It is the policy of the party not to release personnel information.”
The Democrat’s coordinator for Central Florida is named on their website, but I can’t find Sands anywhere.
So much for transparency! What’s the big secret?
The redbroward.com GOP website discovered Sands apparently received almost $14,000 in February and March from the state Democratic Party through a consulting company that is run out of his home. What happened since then and why won’t they talk about it?
Maybe it is because Sands would be getting at least $84,000 annually if the fees redbroward.com found continues to be paid. He is widely rumored to be getting even more– near six figures annually.
Either figure is a lot for the beleaguered party, which might be the reason for their reticence.
Unfortunately for Sands, this could be an issue in any campaign. However, I don’t expect him to have any substantial Democratic opposition.
Sands’ long-time campaign manager David Brown will be running this campaign. Brown last year managed the campaign of School Board member Nora Rupert.
October 26, 2011 – For Immediate Release
“Education of our children is the cornerstone of their economic future and our state’s economic reality”, declared State Representative Franklin Sands as he announced today that he will run for the Broward County School Board countywide seat in 2012.
Sands, whose legislative district includes Weston, Sunrise, and Plantation, went on to say that “current and past state administrations have shattered a century long commitment to provide a high quality public education. This constitutional promise was to prepare Florida’s students to successfully compete for entry to college or to excel in the world-wide job market. That promise has clearly been broken.”
A former Democratic leader of Florida’s House of Representative, Sands noted that 55% of Broward graduating students who want to go on to post secondary schools need remedial courses in math, reading and/or writing.
“I believe we are not giving our children the best possible K-12 experience,” he said.
Sands also believes that unequal competition between public schools, voucher schools and charter schools is short changing our children.
“Today we compete in a global economy where average is just not good enough. We can and must do better. I look forward to being a part of that solution,” Sands said.
“When my colleagues in the Florida House elected me to serve as the Minority Leader from 2008 – 2010, I led a campaign to try to reverse the damage being done to our children’s future at the altar of “conservative budgeting,” he said.
Cutting education budgets, healthcare for children, our senior safety net and support for small businesses, while at the same time providing more tax breaks to large corporations, has now proven to be a failed economic experiment. It has not produced promised jobs or a strong state economy. Experimenting with our children’s future is just not acceptable to me.”
Rep, Sands said that he looks forward to completing his legislative service as a fighter to force our state to accept its responsibility to fully fund public education and then to work as a member of the Broward County School Board to implement sound business practices that will return our schools, teachers and support staff to the levels of pride, respect and achievement they rightfully deserve.
“Time will tell if the School Board, with its new members, can fully respond to the criticisms leveled in the recent Grand Jury Report and establish the ethical corruption free framework necessary to provide our children with a high quality education and give taxpayers renewed confidence that their tax dollars are not being wasted.”
“I entered public life after retiring from a successful business career and I want to continue serving our community and our children.” In addition to other business interests, Sands was the President of DuBarry Fifth-Avenue for, a national promotional jewelry company headquartered in New York City for many years.
Franklin Sands is married to Leslie Sands who was the Broward President of Hadassah. They have six grandchildren. All who are old enough attend Broward public schools.