Broward schools superintendent defends record ahead of vote on whether she is fired

Broward Schools Superintendent Vickie Cartwright gave a final defense of her record, hoping to persuade the School Board not to fire her.

She gave a one-hour presentation Tuesday morning touting her accomplishments. She said graduation rates are up, particularly among minority students. She said she has taken steps to fix the troubled $800 million bond program, address a backlog in public-records requests and improve communication with board members.

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Cartwright said she plans to ask the board to hire an audit firm for $130,000 to review the findings of a statewide grand jury report, released in August, to identify improvements and accountability measures that need to be taken.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Cartwright told the board. “Student achievement is improving. Student safety remains at the forefront. On the SMART bond, we’re making forward momentum. The data speaks for itself.”

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Broward County Schools Superintendent Vickie Cartwright speaks with School Board member Dr. Allen Zeman during a break in Tuesday's Broward County School Board meeting.

She also played a video from a summer meeting of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, where Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the group’s chairman, praised her efforts to improve safety in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

Cartwright didn’t mention that on Monday, a Department of Education official sent a scathing letter, saying the district had failed to turn in safety data the state had requested in late September.

During public comments, Lisa Maxwell, executive director of the Broward Principals and Assistants Association, said Cartwright is not ensuring schools have the safety staff and protocols needed. She asked for the board to fire Cartwright.

“Safety and security continue to be a nightmare. Schools are less safe today than they’ve ever been,” Maxwell said.

There are two proposals to fire Cartwright, one that would allow her stay until late June and one that would end her tenure in 60 days, the minimum notice required under her contract.

This is a developing story, so check back for updates. Click here to have breaking news alerts sent directly to your inbox.