Broward School Board votes to keep Runcie in his job as superintendent

In a somewhat divided show of support, the Broward County School Board voted 6 to 3 on Tuesday against the measure to fire Superintendent Robert Runcie.

Robin Bartleman and Nora Rupert were the only School Board members to side with first-year board member Lori Alhadeff on her proposal to terminate Runcie’s contract with cause, effective immediately. Alhadeff’s daughter, Alyssa, was among the 17 people killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school shooting last year.

Alhadeff told the Miami Herald in an email last week that Runcie has demonstrated “a history of poor leadership.”

“The urgency to do this now is because the district is spiraling out of control,” she said. “There was no one final straw; it’s a culmination of failures.”

Runcie has been dogged by criticism for his leadership through events leading up to and after the Stoneman Douglas shooting. The Broward School Board has been the subject of several investigations, the latest coming from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ approved request to impanel a statewide grand jury to examine if school districts are in compliance with school safety requirements.

It was improbable that DeSantis could suspend Runcie from his appointed position, unlike former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, who was elected.

“Leadership is not in my view about cutting and run when it gets really tough,” Runcie said last week at a town hall meeting in Coral Springs. “It’s my responsibility given the fact that this occurred under my watch as superintendent, I need to fix it.”

Broward’s African American community has largely voiced its support for Runcie, including the Fort Lauderdale/Broward branch of the NAACP and local activists and parishes. Many came by bus to the town hall to rally behind Runcie, who they credit for curbing the school-to-prison pipeline and increasing the graduation rate among black boys.

Runcie came to the Broward County school district as superintendent in 2011. In November 2017, his contract was extended for the second time by the School Board to expire June 2023.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.