BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – School board races across Central Florida are wrapping up during the election primaries, and winners have already been announced in Brevard and Orange Counties.
Carrying the endorsement of Governor DeSantis, Megan Wright defeated two-term District 1 seat Misty Belford by more than 20 points in her race for Brevard County School Board.
“I know when to tell when something is not working, and I think right now, that’s what we’re seeing with our enrollments being down and our teachers leaving,” Wright said about Brevard Public Schools.
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Before the polls closed Tuesday, News 6 asked Wright what it would mean to her to win.
”I will be very excited,” Wright answered. “There’s so much work to be done, and I can’t wait to focus my attention towards these actual problems.”
Belford said she wasn’t sure why more voters chose Wright.
”I don’t know. Obviously, there were a lot of, I’ll call them, shenanigans that took place during this election,” Belford said.
She added that Wright has a lot to expect in her new position.
”Boy, do you have an uphill climb,” Belford said. “I came into this position with an enormous amount of experience in our schools.”
Belford said she doesn’t regret voting in support of the mask mandate the district imposed at certain times during the pandemic.
”I have served eight years with character and commitment,” Belford said.
Wright said the mask policy inspired her to run. Belford will continue serving the remainder of her term which ends in the fall.
Incumbent Teresa Jacobs, who won her race for Orange County School Board Tuesday night, said she felt “overwhelmed” following the victory.
“I mean, it was a hard, a very hard four years, harder decisions than I’ve ever had to make in my life professionally,” she said. “And very controversial decisions and such strong feelings on both sides of the issues, like masks, and to have that kind of support is so validating because you hope that you’re doing what the public wants. But at the end of the day, you have to do what your heart and your knowledge tells you you must do.”
Voters also approved a ballot measure allowing the district to keep a special property tax in place to provide funds for school support staff, arts classes and field trips.
“We are so excited that Orange County voters gave Orange County Public Schools a rating of A++,” Superintendent Designate Maria Vazquez told News 6. “We’re going to be able to continue the incredible work that our teachers and employees are doing to lead our students to success. It’s a great night for Orange County Public Schools and for the citizens of Orange County.”