Manatee School Chair Supports Superintendent

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY OCT 10, 2019

Manatee County School Board Chair Dave Miner said he’s standing by Superintendent Cynthia Saunders. His support comes after the state Education Practices Committee rejected a settlement over alleged inflation of graduation rates.

“I have all the faith in Superintendent Saunders,” Miner said. “She always has done a great job, and really the charges were way over the top.”

Saunders herself released a written statement to media Tuesday about the state decision.

“The proposed settlement with the Florida Department of Education, reached last spring, regrettably was not finalized during a meeting of the Education Practices Commission,” she said. “As I explore all further options in this matter, I remain confident that I will prevail on the merits. I am grateful for the continued support and my focus remains on the mission of providing the best possible education for all Manatee County students.”

Saunders had been accused of inflating graduation rates by shifting certain students to home-schooling status. But state investigators ultimately reached a settlement where Saunders did not admit wrongdoing but agreed to a $750 fine and two years probation.

Manatee County Schools previously released a statement denying any intentional wrongdoing. “At no time did Ms. Saunders direct staff to inflate graduation rates and improperly code students. The record clearly shows the opposite of any intent to purposefully skew numbers,” reads a 2018 statement.

Photo courtesy Manatee County Schools: Cynthia Saunders.

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