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Friday, December 9, 2022

Vickie Cartwright, Broward Superintendent, fired from school board

The superintendent of Florida’s second-largest school system was sacked after a late-night move by a board member nominated by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in response to the Parkland school shooting grand jury findings.

Monday night, school board member Daniel Foganholi made the unexpected motion to fire Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Vickie Cartwright, who did not hold the position at the time of the 2018 shooting. The board voted 5-4 to dismiss Cartwright, who did not hold the position at the time of the shooting.

Republican DeSantis selected all five board members who voted against Cartwright in the most Democratic-leaning county in Florida. Next Monday, four of these appointments will be replaced by board members who won elections the previous week.

Cartwright did not comment on his dismissal. The crowd included her spouse, who refused to remark.

Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter was slain in the killing, and Debra Hixon, whose husband was also tragically shot in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, were among the opposing school board members.

Torey Alston, who was elected last week, said in a statement, “Dr. Vickie Cartwright is a fantastic person, but overseeing the nation’s sixth-largest school system demands a hands-on leader and someone who will make meaningful change.” “The Board chose to move in a new course in light of recent systemic problems.”

Cartwright succeeded Robert Runcie, who resigned in 2021 after being charged with perjury.

Foganholi, in proposing the motion, said, “There are some exceptional employees at our business, but toxic conduct persists.” This relates to accountability.

Some members of the school board deemed the move unfair since they had just requested Cartwright to address a lengthy list of complaints on October 25.

Sarah Leonardi said, “This conduct is impetuous and improper at this time, and I cannot endorse it.”

The meeting was announced, but nothing on the schedule suggested that Cartwright would be terminated, according to the South Florida SunSentinel. The newspaper said that a public speaker who routinely attends school board meetings supported the superintendent’s dismissal.

The board convened an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday to discuss the selection of an interim successor.

Two DeSantis appointees opposed the motion when it was initially introduced by Foganholi, who lacked the required number of votes. Later, they agreed, with Kevin Tynan casting the final vote after requesting a moment to consider it.

In August of last year, Cartwright was appointed temporary superintendent before being recruited officially in February. Her contract, which runs until late 2024, has a 60-day notice period. Additionally, she is entitled to around $134,600 in severance money.

At the conclusion of the board’s consideration of two audits critical of the district’s operations, the move to terminate her was made.

Since August, when DeSantis ousted and replaced four board members, Cartwright has been often accused of failing to reform the district’s dysfunctional culture. Foganholi, who introduced the motion, was previously nominated to the board by DeSantis.

Nikolas Cruz, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month after pleading guilty to the massacre in 2021.

Broward County’s school district is the sixth-largest in the country, with over 270,000 students attending 333 campuses and a $4 billion annual budget.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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