Broward County School Board Race Goes To A Recount

Aug 31, 2018

The race for an at-large seat in the Broward County School Board is still unsettled after Tuesday’s election.

Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was killed in the Parkland school shooting in February, challenged imcumbent Donna Korn for seat 8, which is a countywide seat.

Korn took home 50.4 percent of the votes on Tuesday, while Petty took home 31 percent of the votes. But state law dictates that a result less than .5 percent over the majority calls for an automatic recount. The recounting of votes will begin Saturday evening and continue Sunday morning at the supervisor’s offices at the Lauderhill Mall.

If Korn maintains her lead, then she’s automatically a school board member. If for some reason she falls below 50 percent, there will be a runoff in November.

Sun Sentinel reporter Scott Travis, who covered the race, spoke with WLRN Friday about what the recount could mean for the future of the school board and the Broward County Schools superintendent Robert Runcie.

The school board race has been viewed as a barometer of support for Broward Schools' Superintendent Robert Runcie in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting. Some have criticized Runcie's indecisiveness about security features, such as agreeing to metal detectors and then deciding to delay the plans indefinitely.

“Ryan Petty lost his daughter…[he] has been very dissatisfied with the way the school board has handled [the Stoneman Douglas shooting]," Travis said. "There’s a good chance that if he got elected, that he would probably vote to fire Robert Runcie." 

Meanwhile, Korn has supported the superintendent.

A third candidate, Elijah Manley, 19, took home just over 18 percent of the votes, which was not enough to continue on in the race.

Read More: Uncounted Votes: Ballot Woes Still Haunt Broward Supervisor Of Elections Office

A second Parkland parent, Lori Alhadeff, also lost her daughter in the shooting. She won her bid for the District 4 seat on the school board, which encompasses the Northwest portion of the county, including Parkland.

But Travis said Petty's attempt to get county-wide support proved more difficult than mobilizing just the parts of Broward near Parkland.

“The anger is so palpable up there, and there’s a huge demand for change - but it was a lot more difficult to kind of translate that into county-wide anger," he said. "So we saw that Ryan Petty did very well in Parkland, he easily defeated Korn inn those precincts, but countywide he didn’t do that well.”