Fewer than 24 hours after a scathing grand jury report recommended the dismissal of four current Broward County School Board members, the 18-year-old opponent of one of those School Board members pounced.
Raymond Adderly III, a political science major at Florida Atlantic University, asked his District 8 opponent in next week’s election, Donna Korn, to suspend her campaign.
“Today, our campaign is asking that Donna Korn immediately suspend her campaign so that we can have a free and fair election in Broward without having to worry about the governor appointing someone to our school board,” Adderly, a Coral Springs resident, said Saturday at a news conference in front of the Broward Schools office in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Korn’s campaign issued a statement Saturday afternoon in response to Adderly’s request.
“Board Member Korn will continue to campaign and work to secure the support of Broward County voters through Election Day,” the statement said. “She is very confident voters will reward her diligent work over the past 11 years on the Broward County School board and award her another four-year term. She looks forward to serving the students, parents, educators and all the residents of Broward County for four more years.”
Adderly, Korn, Mourice Hylton and Allen Zeman are among the candidates for the District 8 seat on the Broward County School Board, an at-large spot that represents the entire county.
The School Board’s open seats are Districts 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
A grand jury report released Friday, which Adderly called “untimely and unfortunate,” recommended Gov. Ron DeSantis remove five School Board members, four of whom still are on the board. DeSantis convened the grand jury in 2019 with the goal of focusing on statewide safety and security issues following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that killed 17 and injured 17 in February 2018.
The grand jury’s focus sought into corruption on the Broward School Board.
The four still on the board are Korn, Ann Murray, Patricia Good and Laurie Rich Levinson.
Rosalind Osgood, the other board member who was recommended for removal, has left the School Board and is a state senator.
Levinson and Murray have announced they aren’t seeking re-election to the School Board in November.
Each board member recommended for removal was part of the 6-3 majority voting to keep ex-Superintendent Robert Runcie after the Parkland tragedy. Runcie resigned in August 2021. Runcie was indicted on perjury charges in April 2021, and the 122-page grand jury report harshly criticized his tenure.
The report said the School Board member recommended for removal “have engaged in acts of incompetence and neglect of duty.”
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Adderly, a Fort Lauderdale High School graduate, pounced on that, too.
“Unfortunately, for those across the state that don’t know the Broward County School Board, that might be a shock for them,” he said. “But for people that live here in Broward County, it corroborated our story and the conception of our movement for Broward County School Board seating.”
HAS June court ruling revealed some School Board members would be recommended for removal, but at the time their identities weren’t known.
The grand jury’s work ended in 2020, but an appeals process prevented the findings being released publicly. Eight people mentioned in the report, including some School Board members, asked a judge to block parts that depicted them in a negative way. That request was denied so they appealed to the District Court of Appeals, which largely upheld the judge’s decision.
When asked whether being 18 has been a help or hindrance as a candidate, Adderly was prepared.
“If anyone tells me 18 is too young, I think they’re too old,” he said, “and if anyone tells me I can’t run for office because I’m inexperienced, I tell them to challenge me and look at the way experienced people are actually running the dais today.”
Sunday is the last day for early voting before Election Day, which is Tuesday.