Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), has suspended four Broward County School Board Members for “incompetence and neglect of duty”, misfeasance, or malfeasance,” as detailed by a grand jury appointed after the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland.
DeSantis voted to suspend Patricia Good, Donna Korn and Ann Murray from the school board, following the recommendation of the twenty-first statewide grand jury.
Rosalind Osgood was also recommended for suspension. However, she resigned in March to run as a state senator.
DeSantis voted to suspend four of the four safety alarms and appoint four new replacements, citing the findings of the grand jury that a safety system with the potential to save lives was “was and is such low priority that it remains uninstalled in multiple schools” and that “students continue being educated in unsafe and aging, decrepit and moldy buildings that were supposed have been renovated years back.”
He said, “We are grateful for the members of jury who have devoted countless hours to this task and we hope that this suspension brings Parkland another step towards justice.”
DeSantis’s Office also stated that the school board members had committed “inexcusable acts” and displayed a “pattern to embolden unacceptable behavior, including mismanagement and fraud, throughout the district.”
Tory Alston, former Commissioner of Broward County Board of County Commissioners and President of Indelible Solutions was appointed by the governor. Manual “Nandy”, A. Serrano, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and Director of Governance for Kaufman Lynn Construction Ryan Reiter is Ryan Reiter. Kevin Tynan, an attorney with Richardson and Tynan, was a former member of South Broward Hospital District and Broward County School Board.
The grand jury was appointed by Florida’s Supreme Court to investigate whether school board members were deceitful or fraud in mismanaging funds.
It was found that although the board knew of the problems with the SMART program, Superintendent Robert Runcie refused to take action.
The majority of those on the board who were suspended supported Runcie, who was eventually indicted by a grand jury in April 2021.
The grand jury found many problems with Runcie. These included the mismanagement of a $800 million bond referendum, failing to renovate schools and delaying fire alarm installation, Runcie’s repeated lies to the school boards and an “almost fanatical desire” for the school board to manage its image.
Multiple school board elections in Florida saw a number of school boards flip from liberal to conservative during the August 23 primary elections. This included Miami-Dade County’s which is the largest school district with a conservative majority.