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Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie To Plead Not Guilty To Perjury Charge

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Broward school board has scheduled a discussion on the arrest of Superintendent Robert Runcie at their workshop next Tuesday.

The agenda item was added after at least two current school board members had asked for an emergency meeting.

The district is grappling with the unprecedented arrest of their leader Wednesday. Runcie has been superintendent nearly a decade.

An attorney for Runcie said he plans to plead not guilty to a charge of perjury in an official proceeding.

After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, a statewide grand jury was empaneled to investigate school safety.

According to the indictment, Runcie, 59, is accused of making a false statement, which he himself did not believe to be true in regard to the material matter. That material matter is whether the school district was following school-related safety laws and mismanaging funds solicited for school safety initiatives put in place after the Parkland massacre that claimed 17 lives.

READ: Robert Runcie Indictment

Runcie's attorneys released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:

"It is a sad day in Broward County and across Florida when politics become more important than the interests of our students. Superintendent Runcie has fully cooperated with law enforcement throughout this statewide grand jury process. This morning, we received a copy of an indictment that does not shed any light on what false statement is alleged to have been made.

"He will continue to be transparent with the Board, the parents and the public with any new information he receives. Mr. Runcie will enter a plea of not guilty to the charge. We are confident that he will be exonerated and he intends to continue to carry out his responsibilities with the highest level of integrity and moral standards, as he has done for nearly ten years in his role as Superintendent."

Regardless of the indictment, school board members say the focus is on the children and staff.

"What came to mind to me, were our students and our employees and the community at large," said school board member Sarah Leonardi about hearing the news of Runcie's arrest. "I think that the charges are serious I think that accountability is important and I think that we still need all the facts. For me, students and educators are front and center and that's what I continue to focus on."

Also arrested was Broward County School Board General Counsel Barbara Myrick, 72. She is charged with unlawful disclosure of statewide grand jury proceedings, a felony.

READ: Barbara Myrick Indictment

Attorney David Weinstein said while on the surface the grand jury indictments look bad, when it comes to a legal proceeding, things aren't as cut and dry.

"When I was able to take a look at the charges, there's some questions about what was said and how it was said, which may make it difficult to prove the allegations," he said.

Broward County Public Schools put out this statement after the 59-year-old's arrest:

"The School Board of Broward County, Florida (SBBC) will provide transparency, accountability and integrity as we continue to focus on delivering the highest quality educational experience for our students, teachers, and staff. As legal processes continue, Broward County Public Schools will operate as normal under the District's leadership team."

Broward County is the nation's sixth-largest school district with more than 270,000 students.

A spokesperson says Runcie is out of the office for a few days on already planned time off.

He is due back at his desk Monday.

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