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Monday, January 24, 2022

Broward Schools Superintendent fired

CSMS Magazine Staff WritersA vote of 5 to 4 against Dr. Frank Till, the nation’s sixth largest school district superintendent, removed him from his post yesterday after 7 years in office. The vote came after a crucial, highly anticipated board meeting in which Dr. Till knew his faith was already sealed even before the meeting got underway.The vote was sharply split, underscoring the deep division among the board members on the touchy issue of firing the schools’ chief. Citing a poor relationship with the School Board, going in to the meeting, the members seemed predetermined to get rid of Dr. TillBut the accusation seemed to carry little weight by comparison to what the School District was able to accomplish under his tenure.Not withstanding the reconstruction and repair of schools after Hurricane Wilma, under his leadership, the district got its biggest boom in years not only in student population growth, but also in academic improvement. The FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) scores are proof of that.This has led many to believe that Dr. Till’s firing had a lot to do with personal vendetta than it had to do with his performance on the job. His last day will be Nov. 17th, seven months before the end of his $234,000 contract.”This is about not having confidence in the man I hired seven years ago to run this district,” said member Stephanie Kraft, who led the push to oust Till. “This is a culmination of years of expressing my concerns about his leadership, and a lack of ability to work through those concerns or have them addressed and corrected.”Her sentiments were echoed by Robin Bartleman, Darla Carter, Marty Rubinstein and Bob Parks, who joined Kraft in ousting Till.”Clearly, I didn’t get along with five board members, including one that just got fired by the public,” said Till after the vote, referring to Carter’s re-election loss last month. “When one door closes, another one opens. I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done. I’m cool. It’s good.”However, Board Chairman, Benjamin Williams and 3 other members disagreed with the vote, saying that “Till deserved better than a sudden dismissal.” The other 3 members were Beverly Gallagher, Maureen Dinnen and Albert Jones.”We are one of the best large urban districts,” said Dinnen. “And that’s not comparing us to Palm Beach, that’s comparing us to New York and Chicago and L.A. and Las Vegas. I think this is a terrible way to treat somebody who inherited a messy situation and has done a wonderful job of cleaning up those messes.”This views seemed to have shared by the impressive show of support from so many who were present yesterday afternoon. They were union leaders, parents, businessmen, developers and other elected officials.”I’m going to do something I don’t normally do,” said Dan Reynolds, president of the Federation of Public Employees, the district’s union for non-instructional employees. “I’m going to beg you not to do this. You’re going to demoralize the workforce.”But the outcome of the vote clearly demonstrated that was not enough to reverse the vote on Till’s behalf. “When the vote was announced, Till’s supporters jumped to their feet, some grumbled and others yelled out,” confirmed the Sun Sentinel, Broward County’s largest publication.The question is now: who is going to replace him? This is something that did not appear as a concern to those who adamantly opposed Till and ultimately opted to terminate him. The search for a new superintendent can take months. Next week, board members will discuss hiring a search firm and Till’s immediate replacement. In CSMS Magazine, we will be closely watching.

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