‘We’ve reached a new low’: Sparks fly at Broward school board meeting over failed hiring

Sparks flew as Broward County's school board met Wednesday to discuss filling the role.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Sparks flew at a meeting of the Broward County School Board Wednesday after Superintendent Vickie Cartwright said the district had to start from scratch in its search for a chief facilities officer, after she removed a candidate from consideration.

The role, which would have responsibilities that include overseeing the district’s SMART program, had been vacant for a few years.

An August grand jury report alleged mismanagement of the program.

Candidate Willie Hopkins was removed from consideration after the district obtained information from a previous employer that he had been terminated from his job, something officials said he never disclosed.

“I think as Broward County Schools, as an organization, I think we’ve reached a new low,” board member Daniel Foganholi said. “The entire process was messy and it was ugly.”

Cartwright said the district would “completely start over.”

“For us to start over with the process is not the answer because somebody’s name that was in the paper can’t start over,” Foganholi said. “I saw personally what looked like a qualified candidate and what looked like a witch hunt for us to turn someone to be unqualified.”

A nationwide search will now commence to fill the position.

About the Authors:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.