School Board Challenger Raising More $$$ Than Incumbent


Laurie Rich Levinson is an unusual School Board challenger.

She has more money than the incumbent Phyllis Hope thanks to her Mommy, incoming state Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich.

Levinson reported over $100,000 in contributions and in-kind gifts in mid-October.  Hope had about $67,000.  

The challenger Levinson is doing well because her campaign finance report through mid-October is filled with donations from firms and people from other parts of the state that probably care very little about the Broward schools.  What they care about is keeping good relations with Levinson’s Mommy in the state Senate.

There is money to Levinson from Tallahassee lobbyists, hospitals in North Florida, Big Sugar like Florida Crystals Corporation and all types of unions. 

Much of her Broward money comes from Weston residents, with little coming from other parts of School Board District 6.

The district includes Weston and portions of Davie, Cooper City, Lauderhill and Sunrise.

A big surprise: Sunrise Mayor Michael Ryan gave Levinson $250, while Commissioner Joey Scuotto gave $300.  They are two of the only five donations to Levinson that I could find from Sunrise.

Ryan and Scuotto’s contributions are a major rejection by city hall of Hope, who lives in Sunrise Lakes.

Hope has some interesting entries on her campaign’s financial form.   

She has been taking $100 out of her campaign every two weeks or so as expense money. This has been going on for months.

Hope paid $268 in two payments to Glamour Shots at the Sawgrass Mills Mall for campaign photos, presumably of her.  She spent over $1,100 for maintenance at JM Lexus for her car, which she uses in the campaign.

She also paid Amy Rose, a political consultant who has been associated with former leading School Board lobbyist Barbara Miller.  Ann Gallagher, daughter of jailed former School Board member Bev Gallagher, designed Hope’s website for $250.

Hope’s money comes from those doing business with the School Board and lots of small donations.

Levinson already has a head start.  She won the August 24 primary by 42.3 to 33.3 for the second place Hope.

So even though the turnout will be higher in the general election especially among blacks that make up Hope most reliable voters, it is Levinson’s race to lose.

25 Responses to “School Board Challenger Raising More $$$ Than Incumbent”

  1. Sunrise parent says:

    Phyllis Hope has done nothing for Sunrise schools, just like Marty Rubinstein before her. We need a new face — Laurie Levinson.

  2. BrowardVoter says:

    Buddy, you meant District 6, not District 4.

    FROM BUDDY: Thanks for catching that. I’ve changed it.

  3. Weston resident says:

    Phyllis Hope was unable to get any relief for Cypress Bay until it was too late. The school now will remain overcrowded for years. She needs to go because of non-performance.

  4. Ryan Terrell says:

    Phyllis Hope has been inept at protecting the students and teachers of this district. She repeatedly never returned calls from students at Cypress Bay and Western who were being bullied and has done nothing of substance to improve safety at our middle and high schools.

  5. Irony says:

    It is ironic that she never returned calls about students being bullied, when she has consistently bragging about initiating the bullying policy, which, by the way, she did not.

  6. Amy Rose says:

    I served as a political consultant for Phyllis Hope in the very early part of her campaign. She paid me $1500 for that work in July of 2009, more than 15 months ago. I haven’t been involved in any way with her campaign since that summer. Since that time it appears as if she’s paid hundreds of people to work on her campaign.

    FROM BUDDY: Absolutely true.

  7. Mommy effed up says:

    There will be a major group coming to Hope’s side soon.

  8. West Broward Voter says:

    Among Democrats large numbers of Broward blacks voted this past August as compared to a depressed non-black Democrat vote. Non-Democrats seem well motivated to vote. Women are more likely to vote than men.

    Look at August numbers for the county commission race out west. 59% was African American plus another 5% that’s mostly Caribbean. 60% of that vote was women. Of course a black woman won that race especially with Kendrick Meek at the top of the ticket.

    Yet Levinson who is white and runs still outperformed her her black incumbent opponent in August. Why? She runs non-partisan. Everybody got to vote for her and Republicans and Independent votes count. They are well motivated to vote while white Democrats seem much less motivated.

    Further complicating their low turnout, the hispanic voting pattern is scattered and does not form a voting block. They are not a factor in Broward elections.
    Levinson will be out next school board member because even with a large black turnout the numbers are there for her to win.

  9. PandaBear says:

    With Phyllis, there is no hope!

  10. browardmommie says:

    Evidently, there’s a lot of talk here without facts to back it up. Phyllis Hope has done a lot for us in her 4-year term and she DID initiate the Anti-Bullying policy. Of course Ms. Levinson will raise more money her mother is Nan Rich! Check the other School Board races – NO ONE has raised more than her. I think its great that Ms. Hope has tons of small donations from real people like me, who have children in Broward Schools.

    To compare her to Marty is outrageous – he did not even talk during meetings. Ms. Hope has a track record of actually “working” on the Board. Also, our District 6 consists of more than Weston, I wouldn’t count Ms. Hope out just yet.

    Has anyone seen any of the debates? I have and each time Ms. Hope danced circles around Ms. Levinson. She has no fresh ideas, no passion and absolutely no personality.

  11. Bob Adams says:

    Laurie Rich Levinson is raising more money that the incumbent because Phyllis Hope(less) is a SORRY EXCUSE for a School Board menber…

  12. Bob Adams says:

    Laurie Rich Levinson is raising more money that the incumbent because Phyllis Hope(less) is a SORRY EXCUSE for a School Board member…

  13. browardmommie says:

    No. She’s raising more because she’s Nan Rich’s daughter – did you even read the article we are commenting on. If not – here’s a quote from it: “The challenger Levinson is doing well because her campaign finance report through mid-October is filled with donations from firms and people from other parts of the state that probably care very little about the Broward schools. What they care about is keeping good relations with Levinson’s Mommy in the state Senate.”

    I gave $100 of my hard earned money to Ms. Hope because she attended Broward Public Schools, so did her kids and her grandkids attend now. She also worked for years in Broward Schools. Her interests have always been what’s good for our kids and staff, not what’s good for politics. We finally have a School Board member for our district with common sense.

    We will be out in buses voting for her, so like I said before. Don’t count her out just yet!

  14. Broward Cleansweep says:

    Funny. No mention of who is running Levinson’s campaign. Does the name ASHLEY WALKER ring a bell? Shouldn’t someone ask if STEPHANIE KRAFT has any ties to the Levinson campaign?

    FROM BUDDY: Ashley Walker worked for state Sen. Jeremey Ring and Barack Obama’s Broward campaign and for Obama’s Organizing America. She is an experienced Democratic operative and has a very good reputation, I might add.

  15. Broward Parent says:

    Phyllis Hope did not, I repeat did not initiate the anti-bullying policy. The person who started the ball rolling was a mom from Parkland who was horrified at the bullying going on a West Glades Middle School. She was hooked up with the Office of Prevention and a task force crafted the policy and the 1000 kid march. Bob Parks added the battery on a teacher component to the Anti-bullying policy. In fact, Bob Parks working with Senator Sobel had prortections enacted in legisitaltion for teachers. Phyllis Hope may have supported the Anti-bullying policy but she was by no means the reason the we have the policy now.

    In addition, she has failed to show up to School Board meetings for three or more weeks now.

    I would suggest a little more fact checking is in order.

    BTW, Stephanie Kraft does not have any ties with the Levinson campaign.

  16. browardmommie says:

    Okay, initiate may be the wrong word. Bullying has been a problem in schools before Ms. Hope was on the Board. But she was the LEADER that put the “current” Anti-bullying policy in place. “I would suggest a little more fact checking is in order.” She was also the first School Board Member ever to host forums on Anti-bullying and ways for minorities and women to learn how to do business with the School Board. She also just fought to help put dozens of non-instructional staff back to work. We need cafateria workers, janitors and school bus drivers, as well as teachers. This is all progress that we need to continue.

    Stephanie Kraft? Who cares? Ties to Levinson or not – she’s not a trusted source. BTW, how do you know she has no ties to the Levinson campaign? Do you personally know her? or Do you work for the Levinson campaign? If neither, than you’re not a good source for that info either. Nobody knows what goes on in private. Let’s not be naive here.

  17. Lol says:

    Ms. hope is the future.If your mom has to work for you and get people who worked with her to give donations than how is Ms.Richy going to do her job run to mom when ever something no going her way

  18. Concerned Voter says:

    Hope is the best choice…the last thing we need is someone funded by Tallahassee politicians/bureaucrats (Levinson) running the school board. (nor do we need a political family dynasty in Broward County) So many people I know that supported Levinson in the primary are now switching to Hope. And, those same people have told me she harrasses people at the early voting locations.

  19. Mymothermademequitmyjobatmacys says:

    My mother made me quit my job at Macy’s and run for the School Board of Broward County. What a sad excuse to run for office. Levinson will speed through this job just like she speeds through school zones. She doesn’t have any plans for our schools because she is too busy planning to rise through the ranks of the Florida DNC to carry on her mommies legacy. Anyone who falls for this trick is just pumpkin heads waiting in line to receive treats from Nan Rich. Trick or Treat!!!!

  20. Concerned Parent says:

    I personally know that Laurie is used to getting everything her way riding on the back of her Mommy up in Tallahassee. At Cypress Bay, she used her pull to get an OUTSTANDING Debate teacher fired because another student was chosen to be the Club’s President, instead of her son. I remember clearly when Phyllis Hope was trying to give money to Cypress Bay for expansions and Laurie lead the obstruction of this cause, but claims to want the best for our children.

    Lynn Simon, who was one of the four candidates in the Primary, has thrown her support behind Phyllis Hope. She lives in Weston, so do I. Someone should let Laurie know that many of us have vivid memories and have not forgotten how she behaves and pushes her mother’s power around to get her way. So, everyone in Weston is NOT voting for her.

    Some of us actually know her, and would rather run through a fire with gasoline underwear on than have her represent us on the School Board! I pray this is one time her “Mommy help me” antics fail.

  21. browardmommie says:

    @ Concerned Parent – “would rather run through a fire with gasoline underwear on than have her represent us on the School Board!” – that’s hilarious!!! I could not have said it any better. Although I was not aware that she was using her mother’s influence to move things around on a Parent level. Imagine if she is elected to the Board what her mother’s influence can do. That’s very scary.

    BTW, I saw that someone commented that she was speeding in a School Zone. I couldn’t believe that because someone running for School Board would definetly have children’s safety in mind at all times. So, I looked up the info to see if this was true. Seems that it is, I found the screenshot of her infraction from posted at this link:

    Check it out for yourselves or you can go directly to – this is public info.

  22. Broward Parent says:

    Again, she was not the leader on the Board that put the bullying policy in place unless that is what voting for it meant. No she wasn’t the first Board member to host anti-bullying forums. There were other Board members to do the same.

    I am a very good source of information about what has actually happened on the Board and the players involved. I am also not stupid enough to beleive 2+2=10 as some of the bloggers would have the pulic beleive.

    Things are not what they seem and all will be revealed soon. 🙂

  23. browardmommie says:

    She was the “leader”, the one who put it up to be voted on in the first place. Nobody on the Board can do anything by themselves – that’s why we have a Board in the first place, they all must vote. You should know that being that you are an expert on this Board and “the players involved” and all.

    The only good info I see that you just gave was, “Things are not what they seem and all will be revealed soon.” That is so true, but I am sure not in the way you intended it.

  24. christianmommy says:

    Does anyone know the views of these candidates on topics like wheter or not they support mentioning God in the pledge of allegiance and teaching about creation vs evolution?

  25. FactSayer says:

    Phyllis Hope most certainly DID start the school safety summits at the high schools she represents. I know because I attended and spoke at all of them: Piper, Cypress Bay, and Western High. The anti-bullying policy, which the Office of Prevention Programs loves to falsely claim all of the credit for (I wish they spent half as much time in the schools helping kids as they do brown-nosing Notter and the Board) was actually a lengthy, months-long process that was initiated by a parent activist and hammered out with many stake-holders from within and outside of the school system.
    Hope was one of the only Board members to stand up to Notter and his corrupt administrators to fight for the “little people” who lost their jobs to the layoffs the past two years. Speaking of corruption, the Broward Teachers Union and the SIU police union, PBA, are endorsing Levinson. That is all the more reason for me to throw my support behind Hope.