- A scathing report released by a grand jury on Friday recommends the removal of Sen. Rosalind Osgood and four Broward County school board members for acting with incompetence and misconduct
- The jury was impaneled by Gov. Ron DeSantis following the 2018 Parkland shooting
- The same grand jury indicted former Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie on grounds of perjury in 2021, leading to his resignation
- One accused school board member alleges the report is a political tool weaponized against those that expressed support for Runcie
In wake of the 2018 Parkland shooting, a grand jury recommended that Gov. Ron DeSantis oust a state senator and four members of the Broward County school board over allegations of negligence.
After deliberating, the panel of jurors concluded that district officials and the four members of the school board — Patricia Good, Donna Korn, Ann Murray, and Laurie Rich Levinson — had acted with “deceit, misconduct, misfeasance, negligence of duty, and incompetence.” The 122-page report made public on Friday also names former school board chair Rosalind Osgood, a state senator, who left the school board to seek public office.
The listed defendants were also charged by the grand jury with harboring a “fanatical ambition to control data” in order to exploit it “to distort public opinion.” Many of the accusations are connected to a $1 billion school safety program that voters authorized in 2014.
According to the report, the jury’s investigation was directed by a mandate from the Florida Supreme Court. Passed on February 25, 2019, the mandate ordered the examination of four primary allegations against the school board members, administration staff, and public officials including:
- Whether refusal or failure to follow the mandates of school-related safety laws resulted in unnecessary and avoidable risk
- If public figures committed — and continue to commit — fraud through the acceptance of state funds intended to be used on school safety measures while failing to act
- Whether school officials committed fraud by mismanaging or diverting funds intended for school safety initiatives
- If school officials violated state law by systematically underreporting incidents of criminal activity to the state Department of Education.
“This Grand Jury has reached the conclusion that while it certainly could recommend some additional processes, checks and balances, or regulations, it would likely be futile,” the report reads. “This is because the fault ultimately lies with the people charged with leading this enormous bureaucracy and the people elected to hold the bureaucrats to account.”
According to CBS Miami, Levinson believes that the report is meant to confuse voters on whether or not they should vote on a tax increase that is stated to help retain teachers and fund school security. The grand jury, empaneled by DeSantis, however, overviewed multiple instances in which the Broward County School District drastically misused funds.
“I want them to know this is nasty, partisan politics,” said Levinson on a local news appearance. “This Grand Jury is a political tool weaponized against Broward Democrats. The Superintendent was not enough, and they went after all the board members who supported the Superintendent.”
The same Grand Jury last year recommended the removal of Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie, who was indicted on charges of perjury. Following the recommendation, Runcie offered his resignation, stating that he did so to provide “peace” to survivors of the shooting.
“The District has accumulated process on top of process over the years, to the point where almost every administrative action is positively leaded with red tape, reporting requirements, and other administrative ephemera,” the report continued. “But those processes have not changed the fundamental dynamic … The resulting paralysis has created a knock-on effect, costing the taxpayers of Broward County millions of extra dollars as projects fall literal years behind schedule and students continue to be educated in decrepit, moldy, unsafe buildings.”