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BCPS approves new contract with superintendent Vickie Cartwright

Broward County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright. She is wearing a blue blazer and smiling underneath her coronavirus mask.
Matias J. Ocner
/
Miami Herald
Broward County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Vickie Cartwright attends a School Board meeting at the Kathleen C. Wright Administration Building in Fort Lauderdale on July 28.

The Broward County School Board has voted unanimously to approve a nearly three-year contract with superintendent Vickie Cartwright. She'll be the first woman to hold the post permanently.

Vickie Cartwright has made history in Broward County. The all-female school board of the state’s second largest district made the deal official on Thursday, approving a contract that runs through Dec. 31, 2024.

“It is my great privilege to recognize our new permanent superintendent, the first female superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, Dr. Vickie Cartwright!” Chair Laurie Rich Levinson said as board members applauded.

Cartwright has been BCPS’ interim superintendent since August, and was selected earlier this month to become the district’s permanent leader. After the contract vote, she thanked her family and friends, as well as the board, staff and students of BCPS for their support.

“I’m very excited for this journey as we continue to build upon the great things that happen here in our school district and to pave new pathways of excellence in our school district for the benefit of our students and our community,” Cartwright said. “I’m just very, very grateful.”

Cartwright’s contract runs shorter and pays less than she had wanted. She’ll make $350,000 a year over nearly three years, with the option to renew. The salary is at the bottom of the range advertised for the job, which listed $350,000–365,000.

Board Member Rosalind Osgood questioned whether there could be a pay disparity in Cartwright’s salary compared to what male superintendents are making in similar districts. Levinson, who conducted the contract negotiations, said that she researched pay scales in other large urban districts and said “it’s a fair salary whether it’s a male or a female.”

In neighboring Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Superintendent Jose Dotres is making $370,000 while Palm Beach County Superintendent Mike Burke is making $300,000.

In addition to pay, Cartwright will also receive medical, vision and dental insurance and a vehicle from the district’s fleet. The district will also pay 7% of her base salary into a tax-sheltered annuity.

Board members decided to remove a clause in the contract that would have required Cartwright to have an annual medical examination to determine if she is “physically fit to perform the responsibilities and duties of Superintendent of Schools.”

During public comments, Nathalie Lynch-Walsh, an activist and former board candidate, asked the board to specify in the contract what actions could be taken if the superintendent was arrested. Robert Runcie, the district’s last superintendent, resigned after being charged with felony perjury.

While board members didn’t address the issue specifically, under the contract a majority of the board can remove Cartwright from office without cause at any time, with 60 days’ notice. If she were to be terminated for cause, her term would end immediately.

Kate Payne is WLRN's education reporter