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Broward School Board Approves $743K Severance Deal For Embattled Supt. Robert Runcie In 5-4 Vote

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Broward County School Board has voted five to four to accept the separation agreement that will end embattled Superintendent Robert Runcie's run with the school district.

Runcie's last day with the district will be August 10.

The discussion, which was originally set to be only an hour, lasted more than three hours before the final vote.

The settlement, hashed out on Monday between Runcie's lawyer and School Board Chair Dr. Rosalind Osgood, totals some $743,000. It includes 90 days salary, 20 weeks' severance, accrued sick and vacation time, medical and dental benefits, a maximum of $25,000 in legal fees for the exit negotiations, and $80,000 for the state retirement system. The deal is contingent on Runcie successfully fighting the perjury charge against him.

The separation agreement also includes the district paying for legal fees connected to the criminal case.  However, Runcie would have to pay the legal funds back if he isn't successful.

Runcie offered to resign in late April after a grand jury investigating the circumstances surrounding the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School indicted him on a perjury charge.

He was accused of lying to a grand jury investigating how districts spend money on safety issues.  The grand jury was formed after the Parkland tragedy.

School board members Lori Alhadeff, Debra Hixon, Sarah Leonardi, and Nora Rupert voted against it.

Alhadeff's daughter was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre and so was Hixon's husband, Chris, who was the athletic director.

Leonardi, who is a teacher, said the final package was too expensive.

"I talk to teachers and it would take a lot of years to earn that much money. They were taken aback," she said.

"It's very important that the takeaway not be we are giving all this money to Mr. Runcie, because that's not accurate," said Dr. Rosalind Osgood, who is the board chair and was lead person from the board on the negotiations.

"There are certain expenses that are due like benefits, health care providers that we have an obligation to pay to those entities," she said on Monday after carving out the package.

Runcie has overseen the district, which is the nation's sixth largest public school district with more than 270,000 students, for nearly 10 years.  He has weathered criticism of his handling of school safety both before the tragedy and afterwards. He has vowed he would be vindicated of the perjury charge that grand jurors leveled against him on April 21.

"It was important to me that what we bring forward is fair to Mr. Runcie, it protects the school board as well as bring the community to a place we can move forward," said Osgood.

A workshop discussion on finding an interim superintendent also took place on Tuesday.

After much debate on whether the candidate should be someone currently working for the district or someone from the outside, there was consensus on appointing someone internally, according to Communications Chief Kathy Koch.

The full board would have to vote on the interim search at a regular meeting.


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