Sarasota Schools Formally Approve Bowden Severance

Todays News

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY NOV 20, 2019

The Sarasota School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a severance agreement with Superintendent Todd Bowden. The embattled district leader will stay on payroll through the end of the year, but remains on administrative leave.

But school officials seem in no rush to start a search for a permanent replacement. The board will start a search now for an interim superintendent. 

School Board member Eric Robinson said rushing to fill the position would be a mistake. “Doing it anytime soon is not in the best interest of district teachers or students,” he said.

School Board member Caroline Zucker stressed that board members need to restore confidence in the school system. That comes after months of struggles with a divided board and the superintendent. “We must show steadfastness in a time of upheaval,” she said. “This is still an A-rated school district.”

Bowden negotiated a separation with the county that provides him 20 weeks of pay and legal costs related to complaints about his handling of sexual harassment allegations against COO Jeff Maultsby, who left his position last month.

The School Board previously approved a controversial contract requiring a 4-1 vote to simply terminate Bowden.

Bowden ultimately drew the ire of the Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association, the Republican Party of Sarasota and the Sarasota Democratic Party, as well as remaining consistently on the outs with two School Board members, Eric Robinson and Bridget Ziegler. 

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