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Former Union Leaders Support Bell for District 7 School Board Race

A group of former Jefferson County Teacher’s Association presidents are prepared to support Marty Bell for the District 7 school board race, even though the JCTA has endorsed one of his competitors.Bell, a former Jefferson County Public Schools administrator and former JCTA executive director, is one of five candidates vying to replace outgoing board member Larry Hujo.He was the only candidate not considered for endorsement by the teacher’s union as a whole, he said.Former JCTA executive director Steven Neal and former JCTA president Jane Charmoli both told WFPL under past leadership, all candidates were invited to interview.Bell is a qualified candidate, said Charmoli, and the union has lost its sense of direction.Now, a letter is being crafted supporting Bell, but Charmoli said it also serves as a protest against current JCTA leaders.“It’s a very hard letter for us to write because this has nothing to do with being against teachers in the classroom. When we were president, helping teachers teach is what we were all about. It has nothing to do with the organization because we worked very hard to build it,” she said.Charmoli said current JCTA leadership seems much more interested in getting certain candidates removed from the ballot. Bell was involved in a lawsuit earlier this year after the union questioned his motives behind emails he sent to JCPS staff. The lawsuit was dismissed.JCTA president Brent McKim was unavailable for comment but the union has endorsed candidate Chris Brady in the district.Of the other candidates, Sexton received an interview with the JCTA, said Bell.Candidate Jonathan Robertson said he did receive a questionnaire, but was not asked to interview.Christopher Fell said he was sent a JCTA questionnaire, which he sent back explaining he didn’t want its support.Fell said his campaign is supported all out-of-pocket and he hasn’t asked for any monetary donations. What he has asked for is scrap metal and aluminum cans which he’ll recycle, he said. So far, he has spent around $300, he said.