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Sarasota Co. Schools superintendent is out, school board members look for healing, fresh start

Posted at 5:58 PM, Nov 19, 2019

SARASOTA, Fla. -- On Tuesday afternoon, the Sarasota County School Board voted unanimously to let go of superintendent Todd Bowden, effective immediately.

This all coming after Bowden was criticized for his lack of action taken a staff member first came to him about being sexually harassed by her supervisor.

"Right now, there is rampant mistrust within this district," said Kathy James, a concerned resident who spoke during public comment.

This all happening in the wake of another sexual misconduct allegation. This time, against a teacher who was arrested Monday and a claim that a complaint was made by a student two years ago but nothing was done.

"Why are we continually reading about problems and never solutions? And just pointing a finger and saying he is gone is not enough," said Rosemary York during public comment.

School Board Member Shirley Brown said although she believes Bowden followed policy when first presented with the sexual harassment complaint, the district needs a fresh start.

"I think that there was just too much negative out there and it was clear that he couldn’t be successful moving on," said Brown.

Part of that fresh start is the board making clear policies of steps to take when there is a sexual harassment complaint.

"They need to know that something is going to be done now, as soon as they file that complaint," said Brown.

The school board hopes to get those new policies in place by January.

Board members have named Mitsi Corcoran as acting superintendent effective immediately.

They are looking at Dr. Bill Vogel who has years of superintendent experience, and possibly other candidates, to step in as interim superintendent.

The board will vote on that December 10.