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Broward Schools Chief Leaving At End of School Year

And in another change in the superintendent merry-go-round: Jim Notter, superintendent of Broward County schools since August 2007, has said he plans to retire by the end of the school year.

Notter's career with the 257,000-student district started in 1986, but the past few years have been rocky: the district is facing budget cuts, Florida is among the states passing controversial teacher merit pay measures (see my colleague Steve Sawchuk's recent blog post for more on that) and a grand jury just released a 51-page report highly critical of the what it called corruption in the district. The report also took shots at Notter's leadership:

The [school] board's meddling into details that should be within the purview of the Superintendent has not helped the district deal with critical issues; instead it has worsened existing problems and created new ones. The superintendent also bears responsibility for allowing the meddling and interference to continue. Broward County in particular needs a strong superintendent to stand up to the board and remind them where the line is that separates the functions and responsibilities of the board and superintendent. Previous superintendents have done so to one degree or another and have suffered the consequences; something the current Superintendent is apparently unwilling to risk.

After the report was released, Notter said he was not planning to retire or resign. After his surprise announcement Tuesday, though, he said that he had actually been thinking about stepping down for three or four months, but his move had nothing to do with the report.

""With everything going on in the state of Florida, with everything going on in Broward County ... it's the right thing to do," he told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

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