School Board Candidate Will Get Help From Tallahassee


A tiny election earlier this month in Tallahassee will impact next year’s School Board race in West Broward.

State Sen. Nan Rich of Weston was elected Minority Leader in 2010 by the 14 Democratic senators.

Rich will now will be in a better position to help her daughter Laurie Rich Levinson raise money for a much bigger campaign.

Levinson is challenging Phyllis Hope for District 6 of the School Board.

 The district represents Weston and Sunrise, but also dips into Lauderhill and Lauderdale Lakes.

The areas in eastern Sunrise and around State Road 7 should favor Hope.  She is black, like many of the residents of this part of the District.

Weston and western Sunrise is territory that will be more favorable to Levinson, who lives in Weston. 

Hope has been an active School Board member, who meets with community folks almost every day.  She consistently speaks up for her district at the School Board.

Growing up in Broward County, Hope now has a granddaughter in public school.

Levinson has been a parent activist for years and has three children in public school.  She will campaign heavily on the failure to get a new high school in Weston or Sunrise, which was promised long before the current recession.

Most of the time a challenger like Levinson has trouble raising as much money as the incumbent.  Both these campaigns should have plenty of cash.

Sure, every lobbyist and firm doing business with the School Board will donate to Hope’s campaign.

Levinson has the advantage of Nan Rich in her corner.

Not only is the Rich family well-to-do, some of the money no doubt stemming from the Harry Rich & Co. carpet store, a fixture in Miami’s early days. Harry Rich was Nan’s father-in-law.

Rich also now has a position of Democratic leadership in Tallahassee.  That gives her the ability to coax Tallahassee insiders to donate to her daughter’s campaign.

Nan Rich also is a wily campaigner who can teach her daughter how to win an election.

With the demographics split, the money roughly even and two credible candidates, this should be a hard-fought race worth watching. 

15 Responses to “School Board Candidate Will Get Help From Tallahassee”

  1. Nancy says:

    This is unfortunate. Phyllis Hope has shown herself to be one of the hardest working members of the school board. I swear she turns up at every community event I’m at!

  2. The Truth About Schools says:

    The Crystal Palace crowd never liked Hope because she beat their darling, Marty Rubinstein. She is a straight shooter. I agree with the previous post that it is unfortunate that she has been chosen to get opposition, although Levinson can’t help it because she lives in that District.

  3. School Board Voter says:

    I still don’t know how she beat Marty. Not that he’s any good. As a matter of fact I think he was and still is a complete bastard BUT he was an incumbent in a western district with a heavy Jewish voting population and all that that entails. It’s what allowed Joey Scuotto to pull it off this time.

    I didn’t vote for her because she was to be honest an uneducated sounding guidance counselor from the eastside and all that that entails.

    Since her election though she has been fabulous and involved and has not sold out to the special interests.

    They are going after her because they know that regardless of how wonderful a job she is doing and she is,for a dark skinned black lady in District 6 winning an election does not automatically accrue incumbency and the protection that that would entail.

  4. Hey Nancy says:

    Hey Nancy, sorry but Phyllis Hope is probably the most inept school board member that Broward County has ever had. That’s a big statement but frankly I can’t think of one that was worse than she is. The role of school board member is well beyong her depth and it shows in every way. Miriam Oliphant sucked at this job and was twice as good as Hope. Our kids deserve the best and there’s no way Phyllis Hope comes even close, she should absolutely go, in fact, by that standard, none of them deserves to stay. They all suck.

  5. Board Members Memory says:

    Hey Nancy,

    Phyliss Hope the worst School Board member ever? Not by a long shot.

    What about Don Samuels, who was paid by the Dade County School Board and never showed up there.

    How about that great political mind, Jack Shifrel?

    Remember him? He still holds himself out as a political genius. I guess folks don’t remember the past?

    Here is the truth about Shifrel. He is still doing it today.

    Miami Herald, The (FL) – Saturday, February 2, 1985
    Author: PATRICK MAY Herald Staff Writer

    Though former Broward County School Board member Jack L. Shifrel wrote off his troubles with bad checks as “just a series of very bad business decisions,” he was sentenced Friday to three years probation.

    With one condition: He can’t have a checking account until 1988.

    Shifrel pleaded no contest in December to charges of grand theft and obtaining property in return for a worthless check . In exchange, Circuit Judge Thomas M. Coker Jr. ordered the 38-year- old marketing consultant from North Lauderdale to:

    * Serve two periods of probation, three years each, to run concurrently.

    * Pay full restitution — about $700 — to the recipients of his bad checks .

    * Perform 240 days of community service, to be completed within one year.

    Shifrel, on the school board from 1980 to 1982, lost a re- election bid to current board member Jan Cummings.

    Shifrel was accused of writing worthless checks in late 1983 to two Broward firms. The owner of one company, Milton “Mickey” Levine of Minuteman Press in Oakland Park, had only unkind words for Shifrel.

  6. School Board Voter says:

    hey nancy,

    I thought Hope is really doing a very good job and I am suprised by your comments. Could you please give some examples of how she is failing our kids because I have changed my mind on her before and with evidence I can do so again.

  7. Broward Teacher says:

    I saw Mrs. Hope at our school and it is clear she puts the students first. She spoke clearly and sensibly about the need for Tallahassee to recognize that education is the number one job of government. Without educational excellence, the future will be very dim for Florida. Mrs. Hope recognizes that.

  8. Examples? Are you Kidding? says:

    You are actually asking someone that posts on this blog for examples of why the school board under their current leadership is terrible? Why Phyllis Hope in particular is not the weakest of the bunch? I mean, you’re kidding right?

  9. Milly Smart says:

    She’s honest. She’s plain-speaking. She works hard. Why replace Phyliss Hope?

  10. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:


  11. School Board Voter says:

    No. I’m not Kidding. What are the specific verifiable examples of Hope’s deficiencies.

  12. Ryan says:

    To the defenders of Phyllis Hope on this article let me enlighten you. First, Phyllis Hope has not been a defender of the district SHE REPRESENTS. She proved to be inept at securing a new school in the district the was deperately needed to alleviate the massive overcrowding at Cypress Bay High School. Instead this new school went to Beverly Gallagher’s district which is no surprise because when you check the meeting minutes on the school board website you find that she votes lock-step with her all the time. Furthermore, Phyllis Hope disappointed the western members of her district during the November election by remaining silent on many of the gay-rights related issues that have come up. One thing that many people have neglected to mention was the gay leadership in the county was pivotal in providing funding and volunteers to Hope during her first election and Laurie Rich Levinson who is an accepting and caring individual will not let Phyllis Hope take this constituency without an appropriate fight. Laurie advocates on behalf of ALL THE CHILDREN in Broward County not just the children of special interest lobbyists and of the east side of District 6 like Ms. Hope has.

  13. ALL THE CHILDREN in Broward says:

    When the earthquake in Haiti happen a Town Hall meeting was put together by the Haitian American Law Enforcement Foundation, the School Board Members were asked to attend, only “HOPE” showed up! And just in the nick of time! From her we found out about a valuable resource that can be used to help those in Haiti as well as in Broward County! You asked me, we can’t lose “HOPE” just for “RICH” sake!

  14. Lisa says:

    Laurie is riding on her name, “Rich” because she knows it is her ticket to win it. Hope keeps us strong. On Laurie’s website she states “Laurie Rich Levinson can find efficient and effective ways to cut the budget… We must place more emphasis on teaching to each child’s individual needs, instead of teaching to the FCAT.” but she FAILS to recognize the fact that if we are to eliminate empahsis on the FCAT we loose an IMMENSE amount of funding for our district. She also wants to “cut” our budget which is a great idea…. paper is not even necessary anymore students can just write on desks and walls. we are skin and bones right now. Phyliss does provide the “Hope” but Laurie works to provide the complete opposite of “Rich” we know what we will get with HOPE. In terms of “Rich” Dont judge a book by its cover.


  15. Voting Citizen says:

    Lynn Simon is the best choice for the Board…she hasn’t taken a penny of special interest $$$…saw her speak at a networking meeting and she is even going to donate 10% of her pay back to Board if elected…finally, someone who knows what is best.