DeSantis Appointees Replace Elected Broward School Board Members

In one of Florida’s most Democratic counties, four school board members selected by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis were sworn in on Tuesday.

They take the place of the elected Broward County board members that DeSantis removed after the grand jury’s finding of widespread malfeasance in the investigation into the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

On Monday, the state’s Department of Education expressed “serious concerns” about the steps taken by the school system before, during, and after Nikolas Cruz, a disturbed former student, opened fire on the high school’s campus on Valentine’s Day in 2018. Cruz killed 17 people.

The state complained in a letter to Superintendent Vickie Cartwright about the district’s “almost fanatical desire to control student data” and use it to manipulate public perception, the district’s underreporting of criminal activity to the state, the grand jury’s finding of mismanagement of the $800 million voter-approved bond to renovate schools, and the practice of allowing students with serious felonies back on school campuses.

Tim Hay, who oversees the state’s Office of Safe Schools, wrote: “Due to the seriousness of the problems described above, the Florida Department of Education and the Office of Safe Schools will call you to organize an in-person meeting this week to explore these grave concerns.”

With more than 270,000 students over 333 schools and a $4 billion yearly budget, the district ranks sixth in the country.

The district intends to fully comply with the state, according to district spokesperson John Sullivan, who talked to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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