Robert Runcie to remain Broward County Public Schools Superintendent

Motion to fire Runcie fails 6-3

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A motion to fire Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie failed Tuesday during a marathon school board meeting.

Three school board members voted to fire the embattled superintendent, while six members said he shouldn't lose his job.

"I want to thank the School Board for its support," Runcie said after the vote. "Now, it is time to come together as a community to ensure all of our schools across the district are safe and secure. Safety in all of our schools will always be our number one priority."

Runcie has been criticized over a series of communication failures, slow-moving construction projects and for not moving fast enough to address school security issues after the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

More than 100 people spoke for or against the superintendent ahead of the vote. 

"He needs to be voted out," parent Janet Klomburg said. "We're here since he's not being responsible. He's not taking into consideration our children -- all of our children -- and their safety in these schools."

A meeting aimed at offering updates on safety improvements turned contentious last week as Parkland parents and Runcie supporters publicly clashed over his future.

"I can't help but blame you. My daughter is dead and this community is coming apart," said Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the mass shooting.

Board member Lori Alhadeff -- another parent who lost a child in the shooting -- made the push to fire Runcie.

"The urgency to do this now is because the district is spiraling out of control. Mr. Runcie has demonstrated a history of poor leadership," Alhadeff said in a statement.

During Tuesday's meeting, Alhadeff claimed 151 schools in the district dropped in letter grades under Runcie's leadership, but another board member countered her claims.

"I do not support this item. I do support Mr. Runcie," Donna Korn said. "And Mr. Runcie, as always, accountability is something that you are responsible for -- yesterday, today and tomorrow."

Board members Korn, Rosalind Osgood, Laurie Rich Levinson, Ann Murray and Patricia Good have publicly praised Runcie's efforts. Each rated him either highly effective or effective in his last performance review several months ago.

But Alhadeff, Nora Rupert, Robin Bartleman and Heather Brinkworth have been critical of Runcie's leadership.

Helen Holmes, who worked for the school district for 40 years, showed up for Tuesday's school board meeting, where she told Local 10 News reporter Trent Kelly that Runcie's achievements are being overlooked.

"I don't think all the blame should be put on him," she said. "I know that things are better, as far as some of the schools that were F schools. They are up now, and I know that as a fact."

A simple majority was needed to vote out Runcie.

"Honestly, I didn't think I had the votes going into this. I was surprised that I even had two of my colleagues support me in this vote," Alhadeff said.

However Alhadeff and Runcie pledged to work together despite the vote.

"She deserves my cooperation and we can benefit to what she brings to the board and I look forward to that partnership and working with her and moving this district forward," Runcie said.

Alhadeff added: "I will work with the superintendent professionally. That's my job."

About the Authors: