FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Broward School Board will meet Wednesday to conduct their final interviews with the two finalists for the superintendent position and take a vote.
The two finalists for the job are interim Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright and Michael Gaal.
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Cartwright, a lifelong educator, has been leading the district since former Superintendent Robert Runcie left after he was charged with perjury related to a criminal corruption case against a former employee.
Gaal is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel. While he has never taught K through 12, Gaal says he was a pilot instructor in the Air Force and he has held top school administrator positions in Washington, D.C., and Oakland, California.
Cartwright and Gaal answered questions at a public forum Tuesday night, expressing why they thought they were the right person for the job.
“I was very impressed with both of them,” said Tracey Morganelli.
“I understand that throughout our district there have been issues, but we need to get together to get forward-thinking so that all students are included,” said Vaughn Howard.
Among the questions asked of the candidates at the forum was how they would deal with budget allocation.
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“When we had more than 30 percent concentration of students not meeting state standards, we didn’t just give them a linear increase in funds, we gave them an exponential increase in funds because the overwhelming concentration of not meeting state standards requires more than just one more thing, it often requires many more things,” said Gaal.
“One of the things that’s very important is to evaluate the budget you currently have and look for those areas of opportunities in order to have operational efficiency within your budget. It’s also taking a look at how we providing services, how are we going out and ensuring that the needs of all students are being met,” said Cartwright.
Both Cartwright and Gaal also shared details of their personal life and why they want the job.
“We need a person in this position that understands what it takes, has experience in implementing those steps, and moving us forward so that we are again united as one district,” said Cartwright.
“I seek to come to Broward County to be part of the solution of some long systemic problems,” said Gaal.
Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco said the forum was simply to appease certain people and to her, it was pretty clear who should be leading the district.
“Everybody knows I wrote a letter of support for Vickie Cartwright and we have spoken very clearly that we want a candidate that has walked in our shoes for many decades and understands public education,” she said.
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Wednesday’s School Board meeting gets underway at 10 a.m.