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MaryEllen Elia

Robocalls target Hillsborough School Board’s April Griffin — more than a year before elections

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On Memorial Day, April Griffin awoke to a barrage of calls and texts from friends. The Hillsborough County School Board member learned she was the subject of a negative robocall from a group calling itself “Citizens for Fairness and Equity.” Griffin initially described the call on her Facebook page as comparing her to “being like President Trump, supporting charter schools, and had racial undertones because it talked about me winning (taking away) an election for the chairmanship over the only black board member.”…

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Jessica Vaughn files to run for Hillsborough County School Board

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Jessica Vaughn, a Tampa Palms resident who grew up attending Hillsborough County schools and now teaches in them,  filed to run for the District 6 seat on the Hillsborough County School Board currently held by April Griffin. The 39-year-old Tampa native says she thought about entering the  District 7 countywide primary last summer, but realized it was too late in the process to make an impact. Her declaration for ’18 comes a full year and a half before Hillsborough voters will go the polls.…

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Joe Henderson: Some pre-primary thoughts for Hillsborough County

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I will be paying attention to a lot of things during Tuesday’s primary election. The weather, however, will not be high on the list. Even with storms in Tuesday’s forecast, it may not affect the turnout that much. As of Sunday, voters cast nearly 104,000 ballots in Hillsborough County for the primary election, either by mail or at early voting events like Sunday’s “Souls to The Polls” gathering at two Tampa locations. As of late afternoon, there were 3,267 votes…

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Joe Henderson: Supporters of MaryEllen Elia now get chance for revenge at ballot box

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Things really got nasty around the Hillsborough County School Board in early 2015. That’s when four of the seven members voted to fire Superintendent MaryEllen Elia. They didn’t like her brusque and dismissive style. They felt Elia believed the board worked for her, not vice versa. The move was, to understate matters, highly controversial. Oh, who am I kidding? I can think of few things the board has ever done that created the stir that did. Those who voted in…

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Susan Valdes proudly is standing by her vote to can MaryEllen Elia

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The Hillsborough County School Board’s stunning vote to oust Superintendent Mary EllenElia from her position in January of 2015 angered much of the Tampa Bay area’s business and political establishment. Linking his tweet to a Washington Post piece calling the firing ““Blunder of the Year?”, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn wrote, “‘Nuff said. School Board elections in 2 years. Just saying.” He was hardly the only local official who strongly disagreed with the decision. But with just six weeks to go before two of the four members…

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Hillsborough School Board candidate Stanley Gray calls for more outrage over district graduation rates

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Seven candidates are running for the Hillsborough County School Board District 7 election, and Stanley Gray thinks he’s the best man for the job. The 60-year-old retired Marine captain lived all around the country for the first part of his life, but settled down in Tampa in 2001. He’s outraged by the graduation rates in Hillsborough County schools, and says more people should be. According to a 2015 Tampa Bay Times report, Hillsborough had a graduation rate of 73.5 percent, which trailed the…

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Cindy Stuart and Alan Clendenin get key endorsements in bid for reelection to Hillsborough School Board

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Hillsborough County District 3 School Board member Cindy Stuart and district 7 candidate Alan Clendenin have been endorsed by the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association in her race for reelection to the seat. In a letter sent to Stuart on May 16, members of the HCTA say that the union’s political committee voted to recommend her for an endorsement, and that recommendation will now be forwarded to the West Central Florida Federation of Labor for consideration and endorsement next month. Stuart is running against…

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