Community leaders gather in support of Broward school superintendent

Formal arraignment date set for Robert Runcie and School Board attorney Barbara Myrick

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie and Barbara Myrick, general counsel for the district, are due in court May 12 for their formal arraignment on charges brought by a statewide grand jury earlier this month,

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Community, business, religious leaders and other officials gathered outside the Broward County Public Schools Administration building Friday morning to voice their support for Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.

Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness called Runcie one of the best school superintendents he has known in his 45 years living in Broward, where he also graduated high school from.

He said the fact that BCPS has zero F schools right now is a testament to Runcie’s commitment to his job.

“The future will not be as bright without him,” Holness said.

On Wednesday, Runcie was taken into custody by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on a charge of perjury in an official proceeding, which means he lied under oath to a grand jury. School Board attorney Barbara Myrick was also arrested.

Also announced Thursday was that the Broward County School Board has added a discussion item to its Tuesday, April 27, Board Workshop agenda, regarding the arrests of Runcie and Myrick.

In an announcement, the additional item was added as “an opportunity for School Board members to have a public conversation about recent events.”

Holness urged members of the community to go to the School Board meeting Tuesday to voice their support for Runcie.

[RELATED LINKS: Runcie arrested on perjury charge | Lawyers say superintendent will plead not guilty

Sarah Leonardi, a School Board member for District 3, told Local 10 News that she thought it was important that the board have an opportunity to discuss the events.

“I do think it’s important that the board has the opportunity to discuss these matters in the sunshine urgently and have requested that staff make that possible,” Leonardi said.

Both Runcie and Myrick are expected in court on May 12 for a formal arraignment on charges brought by a statewide grand jury.

Regarding the charge of perjury, former federal and state prosecutor Scott Strauss weighed in.

“Perjury is an extraordinarily difficult crime to charge and prove. You have to prove at the time the person made the statement that the person intended to lie,” he said.

For prosecutors, Strauss said that’s a tough task unless they have plenty of evidence, so Strauss said this is the chance for the defense to ask what Runcie did.

“If there is a cooperator here, someone is in serious trouble,” Strauss said.

But he also cautioned with a reminder: “Both individuals are presumed innocent.”

That is one thing that involved parents like Rod Velez say they are keeping in mind as they think about Runcie’s future.

“Regardless of anybody’s feelings, the facts have to come out in order to clear or to solidify the charges,” Velez said.

(See Tuesday’s Broward County School Board agenda)

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local