Tampa Bay Times Endorsement


Tampa Bay Times Recommends Karen Perez

With public education becoming the latest front in Florida’s culture wars, Karen Perez is the kind of level head this school board needs. She is a rational voice who keeps the focus on students, and she deserves another term.

Perez, 58, is a social worker and mental health specialist who was first elected to the school board in 2018. Her calm, methodical approach has succeeded in bringing more transparency to school district operations. Perez has been a leader in holding the administration accountable, and in relaying concerns from families when and where the school system falls short.

Perez opposed putting the school tax on the ballot, saying residents were already stretched financially and that the district needed more time to demonstrate its financial house was in order. She supports raising teacher salaries, though, and would look for savings by renegotiating vendor contracts, reducing the number of administrators and examining better uses for under-capacity schools.

Perez was a strong and consistent advocate even before the outbreak of COVID-19 for providing students with greater mental health and counseling services. The nation is only now beginning to grapple with the learning loss and social isolation that many children experienced from being kept home during the pandemic. Another term would enable Perez to be a guiding light on this issue. She is also strong on school safety and ensuring equal opportunities across the diverse district.

Perez is a thoughtful, committed board member who has demonstrated her commitment to equal opportunity across the district. She can be a voice of the forgotten who’s not afraid to put the bureaucracy on the spot.

The Tampa Bay Times recommends Karen Perez for Hillsborough County School Board District 6.

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