The severance negotiations between the Broward County School Board and Superintendent Robert Runcie, along with school board attorney Barbara Myrick, began Wednesday morning.
Runcie and Myrick were each indicted by a grand jury and offered to resign their positions.
The agreement with Myrick has been completed and the Board will vote on it Thursday. The agreement with Runcie is not yet finished, with negotiations scheduled to resume Monday morning.
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The process is being conducted in a conference room, with School Board Chair Dr. Rosalind Osgood representing the board, with help from Miami-Dade County Public Schools attorney Walter Harvey, who is providing his services pro bono.
“Under Mr. Runcie’s leadership, student achievement has improved,” said Runcie’s lawyer, Sherry Culves, at the start of the meeting. “He remains steadfast in his position that he will be vindicated of the indictment against him.”
“As we move through this process, it’s very important to the board that we are fair to Mr. Runcie and fair to the school district,” Osgood said to reporters after the meeting.
Runcie is proposing to give his 90 days notice, then take the 63 vacation and sick days he has accrued, which would take him to October as an employee and also past the ten-year service mark. That would allow him to claim retirement pension from the state of Florida. There’s an as-yet unsettled disagreement over whether the Board would have to contribute $80,000 or $400,000 to that fund.
The School Board would also have to pay him 20 weeks of salary, about $137,000, plus benefits. The total is roughly $200,000.
“You must treat Mr. Runcie fairly and respectfully, not just for him but for you, your ability to recruit top-notch candidates depends on it,” Culves said.
It was a clear warning to the Board that anyone interested in being the next superintendent of Broward County Public Schools is undoubtedly watching how this process unfolds.
“We certainly don’t want to send a message to other employees that we don’t care about them, that we’re not gonna be fair with them, so I am very pleased with the way that this process is going, I’m very pleased with the transparency and I will continue to operate in that manner,” Osgood said.
Assuming an agreement is reached on Monday, the Board will vote on it on Tuesday.