BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — Superintendent Vickie Cartwright was abruptly fired on Monday night as the Broward County School Board voted 5 to 4 to fire the district’s first female superintendent.
“I was shocked and surprised by the conversation last night,” Cartwright said during a press conference on Tuesday. “Especially when we had already previously had that conversation in October, and I knew what the expectations were,” she added.
Cartwright became the interim superintendent in early August when she replaced Robert Runcie, who resigned after the Statewide Grand Jury indicted him on perjury. Runcie pleaded not guilty.
The school board discussed the possibility of firing Cartwright on October 26 after parents complained to the board that she was incompetent. But the board gave her 90 days to improve her performance.
This past February, the board approved an employment contract for Cartwright with an annual salary of $350,000 through December 31, 2024. Cartwright will stay on for 60 days according to her contract, which states that the board must give her two-month notice ahead of the termination.
Audits involving two school district contracts revealed that longtime vendors were allowed to overcharge the school district and parents at least $1.4 million. One company offered education management and training; the other sold caps and gowns to graduating seniors.
DESANTIS APPOINTED BOARD MEMBERS
In August, Governor DeSantis removed four board members after a review of the Statewide Grand Jury report. The Florida Supreme Court impaneled the grand jury after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shootings in 2018.
The grand jury also recommended the removal of the Chair and Vice Chair citing mismanagement of the school district’s $800 million construction bond program.
Daniel Foganholi, appointed by the governor, proposed the motion to fire Cartwright after hearing the reports from an audit of the school district. Torey Alston, Chair and appointed by the governor, seconded the motion.
NEW BOARD MEMBERS
Only one of the five who voted for the termination will remain on the board. The other four members will be replaced by new board members elected on November 8.
When reporters asked if Cartwright hoped the new board would reinstate her, she said she was looking forward to working with the new board. Allen Zeman, Rodney “Rod” Velez, Jeff Holness, and Brenda Fam, all elected on November 8, will be sworn in on Tuesday.