FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie will be staying with the district until at least 2023, and he is getting a hefty raise.
On Tuesday, six members of the nine-member school board voted in favor of the extension and raise.
Board member Nora Rupert was unable to attend due to medical reasons, but her assistant read a statement that supported Runcie, while also pointing out concerns about the increased amount the board will be contributing to his retirement plans under the new contract.
Runcie, whose previous contract would have expired in 2019, was making $307,000 annually, less than both Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who makes $345,000, and Palm Beach County Superintendent Robert Avossa, who makes $325,000 a year.
The raise moves his base pay to $335,000 and extends his contract to June 30, 2023.
Dozens of people lined up to speak on behalf of the proposed raise and contract extension for Runcie.
"Talent is the most important asset out there," said Hoffman's Chocolates regional vice president, Randall Vitale. "You all have done a great job in generating momentum for Broward County Schools. Under the leadership of Superintendent Runcie, we are swinging up."
"Runcie provides hope in a time when we need hope," added Park Ridge Elementary Principal Joseph Balchunas.
But not everyone at the meeting was as excited about the raise.
One man, who said his wife is a veteran teacher in the county, said Runcie gets too much credit for the improvement of Broward County public schools, and not enough recognition or money goes to the teachers. He added that his wife makes less than $60,000, nearly 5 1/2 times less than the new proposed salary for Runcie.
In fact, representatives from the Broward Teacher's Union used the opportunity to remind the board that Runcie's nearly 9 percent raise is significantly higher than what is offered to teachers.
"Think about the people that are your front-line employees," said Jennifer Lamonte, chief of staff at the Broward Teacher's Union. "Think about what message you're going to send to all of the rest of your employees when you're offering them 1 percent [raises]."