DeSantis-supported school board members fire superintendents in sign of political shift


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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) John Locher/AP

DeSantis-supported school board members fire superintendents in sign of political shift

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The Florida school board members endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) during the 2022 election have fired or forced out multiple district superintendents almost immediately after taking their seats on their respective boards.

In the lead-up to the 2022 election, DeSantis endorsed a host of conservative school board candidates, the vast majority of which went on to win. Now, barely settled into their new positions, these new conservative school board members have made their presence felt, with several boards moving to fire their district superintendents.


On Tuesday, the Sarasota School Board approved a motion to begin severance negotiations with district superintendent Brennan Asplen, making a clear statement that the board’s new conservative majority intended to take the district’s policy in a different direction.

The motion followed the board’s meeting last week where the new school board members were sworn in and immediately took steps to fire Asplen, who resigned himself to the unemployment line.

“Though my wife and I were highly disappointed and plummeted into emotional turmoil by last Tuesday’s motion, after much reflection over the Thanksgiving holiday, it is with a heavy heart that I have accepted the fact that I will soon be separated by the school board as a collaborative relationship does not appear to be attainable,” Asplen said Monday, according to FOX13.

Similarly, the Brevard County School Board announced they would be reassessing the contract of district superintendent Mark Mullins immediately after two new board members were sworn in last week. Mullins agreed to resign and enter severance negotiations rather than be expelled from his post by the board.

“I admire and respect the thousands of Brevard Public Schools employees who go to work each day with the mission of serving our students with excellence as the standard. Their dedication is a reason Brevard Public Schools is one of the highest performing school districts in the state.” Mullins said, according to Florida Today. “Although the majority of this board desires to go in a different leadership direction, I will always be a fan of Team BPS.”


In Broward County, five members of the school board who had been appointed by DeSantis voted to fire superintendent Vickie Cartwright at one of their final meetings earlier this month. Four of the five DeSantis-appointed members were replaced in the school board election this year, tipping the balance of the board back to a more liberal bent. The newly elected members could reinstate Cartwright as the termination is not final for 60 days.

The swift actions by the new membership of the Sarasota and Brevard school boards echo similar moves by a new conservative majority in the South Carolina county of Berkeley, where the board’s new leadership fired the district’s superintendent and hired his replacement hours after being sworn in. The board also passed a resolution banning critical race theory.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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