Despite losing their bid in a 6 – 3 vote on March 5 to remove Jamaican-American Robert Runcie as Broward School Superintendent, four weeks later members of the Broward School Board tried to place challenges in his tenure.
Proposed mid-term review for Runcie
At a meeting of the school board on Tuesday, April 2, three board members, Chairwoman Heather Brinkwoth, and board members Nora Rubert and Lori Alhadeff supported a proposal originating from Brinkworth that Runcie be subjected to a midterm performance review, in addition to the current annual review. The county’s school superintendent was formerly subjected to a mid-term review this was stopped in 2017.
However, the proposal was knocked down by the majority of board members including Rosalind Osgood, Laurie Rich Levinson, and Robin Bartleman. Board member. Vice-chairman Donna Korn support a mid-year reviews, but said she saw no necessity for it this school year.
The discussion over the review became contentious at times, with Osgood and Rich Levinson expressing implying the move to reinstate the mid-term review for Runcie, was another attempt to penalize him following last month’s failed vote to remove him.
In the aftermath of the tragic events at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018, there has been an effort in Broward County, including from school board members to remove him on allegations of incompetence related to the shootings.
Osgood saw the proposal as a “backdoor attempt” to overrule the March 5 vote to retain Runcie, She asked the proposers, “When we make a decision as a board and we don’t get our way, does that mean we keep trying through different processes?”
Rich Levinson who seemed the most agitated over the mid-year review proposal, told the meeting, “It’s time to get back to education the kids, and stop going after this issue over and over.”
Basil McClean a contract worker with the Broward school district said, “It’s shameless how they are trying so many different ways to remove Runcie, a good man and a very good school superintendent. Some of the board members who were recently elected are focused on removing him. But they should realize by now, they will not succeed.”
Ironically, Brinkworth, who proposed the mid-year review voted to retain the services of Runcie last month. She said she wasn’t interested in changing the outcome of last month’s vote. She said she made the proposal to determine Runcie’s performance since so much attention has been paid to the issues related to the Parkland shooting. She said she wanted the mid-year evaluation to keep abreast of what was happening.
Runcie, has served as Broward School Superintendent since 2011.. Prior to the Parkland tragedy he consistently received positive performance reviews, with his contract last renewed in 2017. He has often been hailed as one of the county’s best performing school superintendent.
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