The Hernando County School Board is biting back after a recent controversial decision by the superintendent to fire every single teacher at a failing elementary school.
At a Tuesday night meeting, the board voted 3-2 to fire superintendent Lori Romano, according to Bay News 9. Members of the board declined to give their official reasoning for Romano's termination, but it is believed to be related to her decision to fire nearly 50 teachers at a local elementary school.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, board member Linda Prescott said her vote to fire Romano stemmed from the fact that she made her April 13 decision to fire the teachers at Moton Elementary School without giving the board or the teachers union a heads up.
Upset Hernando residents attended an April 24 school board meeting to protest the across-the-board dismissal of every teacher at the school. Bay News 9 reports that Moton received a D rating for the past two years and has been one Florida's lowest-performing schools. At the time, Romano said drastic action had to be taken.
"By pink-slipping an entire school, what you have done, whether you meant it or not, is you sent the message and insinuation that these teachers are just not good enough," said Tiffany Fiore-Frost, who took the podium at the meeting to voice her displeasure, according to Bay News 9. "As a fellow educator, I find that very insulting."
As a result of Romano's decision, tenured teachers will be relocated to other Hernando County schools, but newer teachers will need to apply with the district again.
This isn't the first time Romano's leadership has been called into question. A local group called Fix Hernando County created a Change.org petition calling for Romano to be removed as superintendent two years ago.
"She has created an atmosphere where teachers are afraid of speaking out due to her intimidating behavior," the petition read. "We believe that she has, through her decisions, actions, and leadership style, created an unfavorable work environment which has, and will continue to have, a negative impact on the learning process."
Romano was appointed to her position as superintendent in 2013. She worked with the Florida Department of Education for nine years before working as the director of adult, community, secondary and virtual education with Martin County and Stuart County in Florida.
The Hernando County School Board will present Romano with her official termination letter at a June 26 meeting. She will have 10 days to contest the board's decision.