Robert Runcie keeps job as Broward schools chief

Robert Runcie, the embattled superintendent who’s come under increasing criticism since the Parkland shooting, survived an attempt to topple him from his post Tuesday.

The vote came shortly before 6 p.m. after nearly seven hours of debate. Six of his nine School Board bosses voted to keep Runcie in the job he’s had since 2011.

Lori Alhadeff, the Parkland parent whose daughter was killed last year in the Feb. 14 massacre, voted to fire the superintendent along with board members Nora Rupert and Robin Bartleman. Six board members — Chairwoman Heather Brinkworth, Ann Murray, Laurie Rich Levinson, Patti Good, Rosalind Osgood and Donna Korn — voted to keep the superintendent.

Runcie said he was determined to move forward and fix the woes plaguing the district.

“He cannot be at every school and every place at all times,” she said. “I understand the shooting happened. But let me tell you, there’s a lot of things that happen at different schools. The people he put in charge should be held responsible. This man should keep his job.”

The long line of supporters urging the school board to stand by their superintendent included Broward Commissioner Dale Holness, Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, Lauderdale Lakes Mayor Hazelle Rogers and West Park Vice Mayor Brian Johnson.

“This community suffered a great tragedy,” Holness said. “We all feel the pain. We continue to share the grief and suffering of everyone who lost someone in that tragedy. We ought to be bringing about healing. This will not bring about healing.”

But Fort Lauderdale activist Charlie King said the school shooting has helped shine a spotlight on the incompetence plaguing the district.

“If you don’t fire him now, I don’t know when,” King said. “I want to see change. He promised change. He’s an enigma. He’s a smart man. Why he never followed through, I don’t know.”

The debate over whether to keep Runcie has turned into a huge racial divide, with black supporters accusing his critics of being racially motivated.

His critics, which include dozens of white Parkland parents, say Runcie’s race has nothing to do with it.

“I don’t think any of us looking for change care what color he is. It makes me so upset this is what it’s turned into,” said Debbi Hixon, widow of Chris Hixon.

Max Schachter, a Parkland parent whose son Alex was killed in the shooting, urged the board to fire Runcie and stop making excuses for his failures.

“We need new leadership in this district,” he said. “Our kids are not secure, and they’re not learning.”

One woman blamed Runcie and his team for the Parkland shooting.