rudy_crew_1.jpgMIAMI _ With a wave of incumbents sweeping back into office in Miami-Dade County on Tuesday, the lone upset in a Miami-Dade School Board race could spell trouble for Schools Superintendent Rudy Crew.

Evelyn Greer, 58, a Crew supporter, lost her seat to retired principal Larry Feldman, who has been a Crew critic.

The loss leaves the deeply divided nine-member board one vote closer to possibly ousting Crew, who survived a 5-4 vote to end his tenure earlier this month.

If Crew’s opponents make another attempt to oust him, the likely 5-4 vote against him would prevail.

In other school board races on Tuesday, Renier Díaz de la Portilla, one of the four members who pushed to oust Crew, won a tight re-election race against Angel Zayón, beating the former reporter 52.9 percent to 42.1 percent.

Wilbert ''Tee'' Holloway, who was appointed to his seat after the death of former School Board Member Dr. Robert Ingram, easily beat Ingram's former chief of staff, Erhabor Ighodaro. Also, School Board Member Martin Karp handily beat rival Shawn Beightol.

On Aug. 4, a fight over Crew’s future broke down largely along ethnic lines as the School Board narrowly voted down a move to oust the embattled district chief. A move to pass a separate item that would have turned the superintendent's job into an elected, rather than an appointed position also failed that day.

The board on Aug. 4 did pass an item calling for the appointment of a special counsel to review the personnel matter further.

Crew’s critics cited a budget out of balance, painful cuts to programs and a contentious battle over stalled raises for Miami-Dade teachers, plus what some board members say has been the failure of the superintendent to respond to board members' requests, in a manner some of them say constitutes "gross insubordination" and a breach of his contract, an argument contested by the board's legal counsel.

The move to fire Crew came the same year he was designated as superintendent of the year by the American Association of School Administrators, which chose Crew for the honor from among thousands of others around the country.

Charges of racial and political grandstanding were tossed back and forth on Aug. 4 before the school board voted 5-4 to reject a motion to fire Crew. The item was offered by De la Portilla, who some Crew supporters accused of making Crew a plank in his re-election platform. Zayón his opponent, a former Spanish-language TV reporter, had also vowed to show Crew the door. 

At the Aug. 4 meeting, the two African-American school board members, Solomon Stinson and Holloway, along with Karp, Greer and School Board Chairman Agustin Barrera, voted against the motion to fire Crew.

At the time, Greer said, “If we terminate the contract, we will find ourselves in an interesting position. We will have terminated the Superintendent of the Year, and we will be subject to the ridicule that sometimes we richly deserve.’’

De la Portilla's motion to fire Crew was supported by three other Cuban-American members of the commission, Perla Tabares Hantman, Ana Rivas Logan, and Dr. Marta Pérez, a longtime Crew opponent, leading some community members who turned out to support Crew to charge that race was a factor in the drive to oust him.

Pictured above is Rudy Crew.