Sarasota school board votes to accept separation agreement for Superintendent Brennan Asplen

The Sarasota County school board decided to follow through with the move they initiated almost a month ago. They shocked the community by motioning to fire Superintendent Dr. Brennan Asplen. 

Last week, the superintendent negotiated a separation agreement with the school district, and Tuesday evening, the board voted to accept the agreement. 

The board also voted to name assistant superintendent Chris Renouf as acting superintendent until an interim can be hired. The board said it wants to gather community input before making that decision.

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Asplen had dozens of supporters in the audience at Tuesday's meeting, but the board – now mostly made up of conservatives – did not change its mind. Before the school board voted Asplen out, dozens of people on both sides made their voices heard. 

The board's surprising move a few weeks ago to terminate Asplen happened after newly elected board members were sworn in, giving conservatives a 4-1 majority. 

They said in parting ways with the now former superintendent, they were making sure parents' voices were heard. 

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Many people, including teachers, spoke out in favor of Asplen, pointing out the progress students have made during his short two and a half years in leadership, which included the pandemic year. 

In his final remarks Tuesday, which came after the vote to approve his separation passed, Asplen said, "We must stay the course, focus on the goals... earnest gratitude, respect, and praise... ...but mostly to our students of Sarasota County schools."

He also made it clear he felt this was a poorly thought-out political attack orchestrated by Board Chairperson Bridget Ziegler.