Seperation With Asplen Put Off For Now

Todays News

Screenshot courtesy Sarasota County Schools: Dr. Brennan Asplen.

Dr. Brennan Asplen’s time as Sarasota County Superintendent of Schools appears near its close. But concerns about noticing and a desire to negotiate a severance package means the end of his tenure did not happen on Tuesday night.

That was despite angry and extended comments from the superintendent a week after the School Board moved forward with termination talks the same day two newly elected members were sworn in.

"I have a feeling I'm going to get fired tonight because I can't hold this back,” Asplen said.

He criticized heavily members who accused the district of a lack of transparency and setbacks in scores during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, he criticized School Board member Karen Rose, a former administrator and principal in the schools, who he said has massively decreased communication since August elections guaranteed a new majority would join the board.

“I do feel an adversarial relationship,” Rose said.

The board ultimately voted to put off discussion of potentially firing Asplen without cause. Rather, the board authorized negotiation of a separation agreement with the district, and then holding a meeting at a later date to approve a deal, or if one cannot be reached to fire Asplen without cause.

School Board member Tom Edwards, the only member to vote against termination discussions, raised concerns whether negotiating a deal before the special meeting held Tuesday night violated the law as the board had not authorized a conduit for such talks. He also repeated concerns a firing was coordinated outside the Sunshine Law.

“Dr. Asplen deserved an opportunity to work on things,” Edwards said.

But other members said there were communications problems that could not be overcome. School Board member Tim Enos, who was elected in August, said he heard repeated concerns on the campaign trail. “We needed a change,” he said. 

Screenshot courtesy Sarasota County Schools: Dr. Brennan Asplen.

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