Education official suggests removing Broward Superintendent Dr Vickie Cartwright from her post

FORT LAUDERDALE – The chairman of the state’s Florida Board of Education has suggested Broward Schools Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright be fired over issues described in a grand jury report, which led to the suspension of four board members school, and in his defense of mask mandates.

During a conference call Thursday, Board of Education Chairman Tom Grady asked if Cartwright should be fired. The comment came after a council discussion of how Cartwright defied a COVID mask order Governor Ron DeSantis issued last year that called on parents to decide on the issue of mask use and not school districts.

“I wonder, particularly in Broward since Superintendent Cartwright has already appeared before this board on a show cause order, why the board should not take further action in light of his decision not to hold consider the rules that the board issued and disregard Florida law,” Grady said.

At the time, Florida was reporting about 20,000 COVID cases per day.

Broward and seven other school districts, including Miami-Dade, defied the governor’s mask mandate for students.

Grady also referenced a letter from Education Department member Tim Hay, who suggested that issues identified in the grand jury report related to school safety and a safety and renovation bond program billion dollars could be in the works.

Cartwright was not part of the district when the report was completed in April 2021. It was not released until August 19, 2022.

Last Tuesday, Cartwright updated the school board on steps that had been taken to address the issues discussed in the grand jury report, particularly related to school safety.

In response to his comments, the Broward School District released a statement that said in part:

“In response to a statement made by the Chairman of the State Board of Education earlier this morning (Thursday, September 15, 2022), Superintendent Cartwright has and will continue to abide by all laws. School boards adopt policies that govern school districts based on laws and other factors; superintendents are required to implement policies.

After being hired as Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, Dr. Vickie L. Cartwright had to implement the face covering policy established by the Broward County School Board. Prior to the enactment of the law (HB 1B), the school board and district had already made face coverings optional. The school board and the district followed the law.

Since joining the District in August 2021, nearly five months after the grand jury’s finding, Superintendent Cartwright’s priority has been focused on providing safe learning environments for our students and staff. With this goal in mind, she has made significant improvements to the district’s organizational structure, safety and security, and SMART Bond program management over the past year and continues to implement further improvements.”

The district said it will continue to cooperate with the Department of Education to keep Broward public schools safe.

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