DeSantis-endorsed Megan Wright unseats School Board chair Misty Belford
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Newcomer Megan Wright unseated School Board Chair Misty Belford Tuesday night by a sizeable margin for District 1 of the Brevard County School Board.
Belford, who has served on the board since 2014, took 39.47% of the vote. Wright, who was endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, won with 60.53%. District 1 encompasses North Brevard, including Astronaut High School, Titusville High School and Space Coast Jr./Sr. High School, and 23,547 votes were cast.
In an interview with FLORIDA TODAY, Wright thanked the volunteers who helped her campaign.
"I'm grateful, and I'm ready to get to work," Wright said.
Wright added that her first priority will be to help teachers tackle a lack of discipline in classrooms. Belford could not be reached for comment.
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The vote follows increasing criticism of Belford from high-ranking Republicans, who blamed her for Brevard Public School’s mask mandate at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and for its practice of allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex.
Belford, who is not part of a political party, voted to require masks of BPS students in August 2021 with no parental opt-out. In doing so, she joined Democrat board members Cheryl McDougall and Jennifer Jenkins to form a narrow majority. The mask mandate remained in place for three months, prompting the state Department of Education to strip board members of their salaries for one month, though the funds were eventually restored.
During her campaign, Wright promised to root out critical race theory from BPS curriculum, restore public faith in the School Board and bolster parental rights. Belford cast herself as a no-nonsense, experienced public servant willing to make decisions that might be unpopular with state leaders.
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Wright earned the endorsement of DeSantis this summer. Belford said she was unsurprised by the governor's endorsement of her opponent because she knew her vote in favor of requiring masks made her unpopular with the governor.
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Wright, like Belford, had supported raising teacher salaries. She was optimistic about finding room in the budget, remarking, “There are areas to cut, always.”
Wright and Belford raised more money than any other School Board candidates, with Belford bringing in $49,005 and Wright raising $43,890.
Bailey Gallion is the education reporter for FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Gallion at 321-242-3786 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Brevard School Board District 1: Megan Wright beats Misty Belford