SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Sarasota County School District is moving on from its embattled superintendent. On Tuesday, board members voted to accept his resignation, but it comes at a hefty price.
The nameplate for Superintendent Dr. Todd Bowden has now been removed from the chamber. The district is moving on.
“As of today, he’s not here anymore,” said board member Shirley Brown.
The superintendent resigned in disgrace from the fallout involving Assistant Superintendent Jeff Maultsby.
Maultsby was accused of sexually harassing a subordinate and a report found Bowden failed to properly handle the case.
On Tuesday afternoon, board members approved a separation agreement.
Under the deal, Bowden will walk away with severance pay, a reimbursement of legal fees and other funds totaling $240,000.
Many in the community have expressed disappointment over Bowden receiving so much money.
“I feel the frustration, I feel the pain,” said board member Bridget Ziegler. “We have to move forward and financially if we were to quantify an additional day of us not separating, the productivity loss alone in dollars would be significant.”
Board member Shirley Brown feels Bowden has been treated unfairly.
“I don’t think he should’ve lost his position over this,” said Brown. “He followed the procedure, but there’s too much negativity out there in the populace.”
Chief Financial Officer Mitsi Corcoran will take over as acting superintendent, an interim superintendent will be determined during a Dec. 10th board meeting, and officials are hopeful to hire a new superintendent by early summer.
“I think before we go out for a superintendent we have a lot of healing to do, we have a lot of soul searching to do, and I don’t think this should be fast-tracked by any stretch of the imagination because picking a superintendent is such a huge responsibility,” said board member Eric Robinson.
The board also discussed ideas to improve its sexual harassment policies.“The other thing we need to make sure we do if its in regards to sexual harassment, we need to look at federal law and if the name can be withheld under federal law, that we do not release the name of the victim,” said Brown.
Officials are going to look at other districts for inspiration in hopes to put this Bowden controversy in the past.
One of the leading candidates for the interim superintendent is Dr. Bill Vogel. He has extensive education experience and even served as the interim superintendent for Manatee County in 2013.
Another candidate for the interim position is Lori White, the former Sarasota County Superintendent.