Who is running for Sarasota School Board District 4? Kurnov v. Marinelli

After 24 years in public office, including a stint in the Florida Legislature, followed by four terms on the Sarasota County School Board, Shirley Brown opted not to seek re-election.

Brown’s decision set off an intense competition to replace her on the school board. Not only was the staunch Democrat a rare member of her party to hold a countywide office in Sarasota, but she was also a liberal on a board that has grown more conservative since she was first elected in 2006.

Though school board seats are nonpartisan in Florida, debates over issues ranging from charter schools to bathrooms for transgender students have become highly charged. This year, both the local Democratic and Republican parties have publicized candidate endorsements, and campaign contributions have poured into unprecedented levels, as both sides seek to influence control of education policy in a county with over 45,000 students and almost 5,400 employees.

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