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Our children should not be used as political pawns.

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We as a community wish to go on record that we believe the board’s action in firing Superintendent Brennan Asplen was thoroughly lacking in transparency and is a partisan political move. We believe that this is evidence of the board’s intention to put politics before our children’s education. Our children should not be used as political pawns.

If the school board refuses to reverse its decision on terminating Dr. Asplen, then as the next step, we call for the board to involve the community in a fully transparent recruiting process for the new superintendent. To regain the trust of the community, an independent search committee should be formed. This nonpartisan committee should include parents, students, teachers, and other community members.

We believe that Karen Rose should immediately resign from the Sarasota County school board. Ms. Rose spent decades in our school district as a teacher and a high-level administrator, much of it during the period that the achievement gap was allowed to grow unabated. Yet, she has moved to fire a superintendent who has only been in his position for two years, during which he was confronted with a worldwide pandemic, a massive hurricane, and a dysfunctional school board at the helm. Her attempts to hold him responsible for lack of improvement in the decades old achievement gap is simply absurd.

The public outpouring of support from parents, students, teachers, the media, and the larger community, is further proof that Ms. Rose stands alone at this juncture. It is time for Ms Rose to acknowledge that she is the problem, not Dr. Asplen. And the solution is to fire her, not him.

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