There was a wave in school districts that spit in parents' faces, according to state Rep. Randy Fine. The people who did that are no longer with us.
Faced with pressure from newly-installed board members, school leaders in the two counties offered to leave voluntarily rather than face a vote of their firings.
The boards in both counties have a majority of conservatives. Although school boards are nonpartisan posts, lines between Democratic and Republican candidates were drawn in many counties through endorsements from each party. The newly-elected board members oppose critical race theory and teach gender orientation in schools.
It's rare for a Florida governor to endorse more than two dozen school board candidates in a single election cycle, but that's exactly what DeSantis did. Most of the candidates DeSantis endorsed won their elections and are now transforming the make up of school district leadership and will have huge influence over policies affecting hundreds of thousands of students in the state.
On the same day that new members of the school board were sworn into office, the boards of the two other Florida districts put the superintendents on notice.
At a special board meeting Tuesday night, members of the Sarasota board called into question the job performance of the district's leader. After four hours of public comment mostly in support of the superintendent, the board members criticized him over student performance in reading, how he hid students and a lack of transparency from him.
On the eve of the board meeting to decide his fate, Asplen offered up his resignation, knowing he wouldn't have a job for long. The superintendent tried to punch holes in the board's critique of him at the meeting.
Asplen told the board that he thought he would be fired after tonight.
He said that some of the board's comments were ridiculous because he had been at the school since 2020. The state gave Sarasota an A grade for both years. A mandatory student masking policy was enacted only three weeks after the election due to the vote of the board in favor of it.
The politics need to be out of the school district. The school district could be the best in the world. We are doing our own thing all the time.
After Asplen spoke to the board, it was obvious that a separation was imminent. The relationship with the schools chief was beyond repair according to the board. The new board chair said that many of the claims were not accurate.
The co- founder of Moms for Liberty said she was very concerned. I don't know how we build a relationship that is respectful and functioning for the right reasons.
There is a similarity between the removal of school leaders in Florida and elsewhere in the country, as well as in the case of the school board in South Carolina. There was a possible political motive behind the move and the board should have been given a chance to fix the problems.
I have to throw out the window. All of us have to look at the tea leaves.
Dozens of people lined up to speak on his behalf at a rally organized by the local teachers union in the area. Local organizers didn't demonstrate when Mark Mullins was pushed out.
The Federation of Teachers wanted to see positive changes in local schools. The district did not do enough to address student discipline issues and teacher vacancies.
There will be no end in sight unless meaningful changes are made to the school system.
New board members helped in the leadership shift. Megan Wright, who was supported in her race by DeSantis, was installed on the board and elected vice chair about four hours before the change.
New board members are getting leadership roles. In Lee County, new board members Armor Persons and Sam Fisher were both elected as chair and vice chair of the school board.
The new-look school boards are now facing the task of finding new leaders with at least three openings in Florida.
The Florida Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, is optimistic that the board members will support teachers and staff. They want the board to pick candidates who are aligned with the community and not only DeSantis.
It is easy to firing. Finding the right person is a difficult task.