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Gwyn Gittens becomes first black school board member for Lee County

Posted: 2:27 PM, Nov 07, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-08 03:48:26Z

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. -- Friends and family applauded Gwyn Gittens Tuesday night for becoming Lee County's first black school board member. 

"It really does make me tear up," Gittens said. "To think the demographics of our district are so different and yet we are not representing. The board has not represented our community. 

Gittens has worked in the district for over 13 years and now she said she's happy to be a voice for her community as a board member. She will represent District 5.

"I want to be able to sit in that chair and look into the audience at some child that looks just like me. And give them the thumbs up and say yes one day you can sit here, too," she said.

Voters also passed the 1/2 cent sales tax to fund construction and renovations for Lee County schools.

The tax is projected to last for 10 years, but Gittens said she hopes the school board can come up with a shorter-term solution.

"It's good news in the sense that we won't have to borrow money. I think that if we do the forensic audit and find out what things we're being wasteful in that we can change. Then we may not need that for ten years. And I would love to see us do so much better that we can tell the people and tax payers, okay we got it just to get us started, five years have passed, we don't need it anymore," she said.

Gittens' term will start November 20.