FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Dozens of community leaders and members gathered outside Broward County’s school board headquarters to show support for Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie following his recent arrest on a charge of lying under oath to a grand jury.
7News cameras captured the large group of supporters outside BCPS headquarters, Friday morning.
“I’m here to pledge 100% support for Mr. Runcie,” said Florida State Senator Perry Thurston.
Runcie’s supporters echoed his attorney saying this case is politically motivated.
“It shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone that these allegations originated where I just came from: in Tallahassee,” said Thurston.
Thurston called out Florida’s governor as one of the people behind the superintendent’s arrest.
“Ron DeSantis is the undisputed co-leader of this witch hunt against Mr. Runcie,” he said.
Former Broward County Mayor Dale Holness pointed to the good Runcie has done for the district.
“There were 50 D’s and F schools when he got here. Today, we have 69 A schools, 54 B schools and zero, zero F schools,” he said. “The graduation is at the highest level of the entire country.”
Runcie’s attorney said his client doesn’t know what he said that led to the charge.
Runcie was charged with one count of perjury.
“They couldn’t find any other way but to say he lied,” said Holness.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigators claim “Defendant Robert W. Runcie, while testifying under oath in an official proceeding did make a false statement which Robert W. Runcie did not believe to be true.”
“How do we prove that? And they’re going to take him out of office for that, because they couldn’t find another way?” said Holness. “That’s wrong, very, very wrong.”
The official proceeding was a grand jury DeSantis empaneled a year after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy.
The grand jury was looking into statewide school safety failures and possible mismanagement of safety-related funds.
The Broward County school system is now caught in the middle.
“This is very surprising. The community is majorly impacted,” said Broward County Public School Board Chair Dr. Rosalind Osgood.
Among those showing their support for Runcie on Friday was City Furniture CEO Keith Koenig.
“Bob Runcie has put his head down and worked hard for 10 years. I happen to know him, and I’ve seen the progress that he’s made, and let the whole process play out.”
The rally took place about an hour after Runcie’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the indictment. His attorney said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s charge is vague.
The motion reads in part, “Mr. Runcie hasn’t been told what he allegedly lied about, and the officials indictment makes no mention of what it was.”
Osgood said the members of the board will discuss the recent events and Runcie’s future on Tuesday afternoon.
“We ask the school board to give good judgement in retaining his employment as long as he chooses to stay here, because we know that this community will be better with Robert Runcie leading the school district,” said Miramar Mayor Wayne M. Messam. “You have a community that stands with Bob Runcie. You have a community that questions this indictment.”
7News has reached out to the governor’s office for any comments on the incident.
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