South Florida Sun Sentinel | by Scott Travis and Lisa J. Huriash | May 11, 2021
Robert Runcie will step down as Broward schools superintendent after a divided School Board approved a $743,052 exit package.
His last day is scheduled to be Aug. 10, although he is expected to stop serving as superintendent once an interim replacement is named.
The agreement was approved with a 5 to 4 vote following more than three hours of debate. Runcie supporters on the board called the package fair and respectful, while his critics called it too expensive. They also wanted him to leave sooner.
“This issue has the community very divided. How we handle this can move us forward or set us back,” Board Chairwoman Rosalind Osgood, who negotiated Runcie’s package, told the School Board.
Opposition came from Nora Rupert, Sarah Leonardi, Debbi Hixon and Lori Alhadeff.
Some didn’t want to pay for an extra $80,000 pension on top of other retirement benefits or $25,000 for a lawyer who negotiated on behalf of Runcie. Board member Sarah Leonardi said she was alarmed by the overall $743,000 price tag.
“I want to acknowledge public perception. It’s an astounding amount of money,” Leonardi said.
She also would have preferred he stay 30 days instead of 90.
Board member Laurie Rich Levinson, one of Runcie’s staunches supporters, said the board needed to be aware of optics of how the superintendent is treated on his way out,
“Everyone is watching. The way you treat the CEO, the top person in your organization, is extremely important,” she said. “Potential candidates are paying attention. Those candidates are watching how we behave.”
Here is a breakdown of the costs to the district:
- $112,527 for Runcie’s salary from May 3 to Aug. 9.
- $87,588 for 60 unused vacation days since he started in 2011.
- $145,980 for 816 hours, or roughly 109 days, of unused sick days.
- $145,980 for 20 weeks of severance pay, which is the most allowed under Florida law.
- $107,685 in already-agreed-to pension payments
- $80,000 toward an additional pension that he would have received had he reached 10 years of service in October.
- $35,200 toward two additional employee investment plans.
- $7,109 for eight months of health insurance.
- $25,000 toward legal fees to pay for the lawyer who helped him negotiate his exit.
Image: Diana Runcie, wife of Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, speaks in support of her husband during a School Board meeting on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (Scott Travis)