Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Todd Bowden has asked discussions on his contract to be delayed until after School Board elections. Three members of the board face opposition in an Aug. 28 county-wide election, and one election may go to a November runoff.

Bowden's statement in full:

“As we rapidly approach the beginning of the 2018—2019 school year, I want to take a moment and reflect on all of the successes of this past year. Our 15th consecutive “A” grade, the 4-percentage point increase from 2016-17 to 2017-18, the renewal of the referendum – none of these milestones would have been possible without the effort and valuable support of our district’s teachers. I had the pleasure of addressing our administrative, operational and instructional leaders recently at our Summer Leadership Institute. The energy and passion in the room was contagious, and it was clear to me that our district, without a doubt, has the most committed educators championing for educational excellence. Our community’s students are at the heart of what we do, and they are the driving force for our policies. 

That is why I have written to the School Board, requesting that they delay any discussions concerning my employment contract until after the start of school and after the board elections have concluded. The primary focus of time and energy should be on our students and teachers. Though there are a myriad of diverse opinions and methodologies among the current School Board members, I have confidence in their operational prowess and ability to rise above any divisive distractions. We are all equally focused on positively elevating our district and its students to their highest collective potential. Great work has already been done, but there are more opportunities on the horizon to further close, and hopefully eventually eradicate, the achievement gap among our diverse and unique student population. I look forward to collaborating with our School Board to increasingly meet and exceed the needs of our students and their families.

I am committed to the academic, civic and emotional growth of our students. The strategies we’ve employed since I assumed the job of superintendent are working and it’s exciting to see our students thrive. I am thankful to the supportive community of Sarasota for valuing our students and standing alongside district educators to ensure continued opportunities for all. I am honored to serve as the Superintendent of Sarasota County Schools.”