State lawmakers were flanked by several South Florida business leaders along with Broward School Board Member Dr. Rosalind Osgood, outside the Broward County School Board's administration building Tuesday morning. They took part in what was dubbed the #StandwithRuncie press conference, as opponents call for Superintendent Robert Runcie to be fired or step down.
Florida State Representatives Shevrin Jones and Bobby Dubose were joined by some of Runcie's supporters, who say the head of Broward County Public Schools is being used as a political scapegoat in the aftermath of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which ended the lives of 17 students and staff members. Many calling for Runcie's job are a part of the Parkland community feeling the deepest heartache -- six months after the massacre on Valentine's Day. In recent weeks, critics have quesioned Runcie and the school board's ability to efficiently step up security and implement guidelines across the county, as Broward students head back to school this week.
Supporters like Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Dan Lindblade touted Runcie's leadership in the face of adversity, saying "I could think of no other superintendent who I would rather have at the helm right now." Lindblade's comments were echoed by more than a dozen other leaders on hand for the press conference. Bob Swindell, President of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, said "Superintendent Runcie is the most innovative superintendent in the United States. It would be a tragic loss for this community, if he were ever to consider leaving."
As supporters and opponents have their say, Runcie's fate may come down to August 28 when voters head to the polls. Five seats on the Broward County School Board are up for grabs and that may change who's on the school board. The school board holds the power to fire or hire a superintendent.