INTRO: In a continueing story brought to you last night, WMNF’s Mark Antokas explores the deepening involvement of partisan politics and infighting into what should be a simple voter issue. Who best to run the Pasco County School District, the largest in the nation still electing a Superintendant.

SCRIPT: Six hundred million dollars annually, fifty-seven thousand students, the largest employer in Pasco County. The largest restaurant, the most expansive bussing system, the largest construction budget, and two very large unions. No doubt there is a fight going on for the position of school chief. Chuck Rushe, a republican, has been tapped by retiring School Superintendant Democrat John Long. Rushe says that Pasco County Republican Executive Committee chairman Bill Bunting has it in for anyone who had supported the “Penny for Pasco� initiative. Chuck Rushe. Roll Tape:

Bunting denies the “Penny for Pasco� is a problem for him and brings up editorials by St Pete Times editors taking issue with him. Roll Tape:

Bunting brought in a write in candidate, James Griffin, before the Democrats had their own candidate, effectively closing the August 31st primaries to Democrats. Roll Tape:

WMNF asked Democratic Attorney Chuck Kalogiannis about this loophole. Roll Tape:

Republican Senator Mike Fasano says that Rushe does not fill the bill. Roll Tape:

Marge Whaley is running for re-election as a non-partisan candidate for school board member. Whaley says that theres just too much politics at play and that the position of Superintendant should be appointed by the board. Roll Tape:

Retiring Superintendant, John Long, says that Fiorentino has name recognition, but that’s all. Roll Tape:

Alice Delgardo, the Democratic candidate for Superintendant, sums it up. Roll Tape:

Had the Democrats not put up a candidate, Pasco County’s next School Superintendant would have been a Republican, decided this coming August by republicans. Now, everyone can vote. This is Mark Antokas, for WMNF radio news.

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