Donald fennoy Donald Fennoy, courtesy Palm Beach County School District

FIRE FENNOY? Palm Beach County School Board Has Power To Ax Superintendent

Boca Raton COVID-19 Delray Beach Florida News Palm Beach County Palm Beach County Schools




BOCA RATON, FL ( — Members of the Palm Beach County School Board are apparently so annoyed with school superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy that an effort may be made to remove him from his post.

The school board does not need “cause” to fire Fennoy from his $290,000 a year job. We have published his complete contract, below.

Fennoy came under fire at a school board meeting last week when it was revealed that the school district has failed to develop a workable COVID-19 plan for students and teachers. It’s so bad that after weeks of telling the community that schools would open for in-person learning just a week after Palm Beach County itself moved to “phase 2,” Fennoy sought an extension. That extension was granted by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

It’s so bad that after weeks of telling the community that schools would open for in-person learning just a week after Palm Beach County itself moved to “phase 2,” Fennoy sought an extension. That extension was granted by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

While COVID-19 planning should have been underway over the summer, Fennoy’s top lieutenants: Keith Oswald (Deputy Superintendent), Dr. Peter Licata (Regional Superintendent) and Dr. Gonzalo LaCava (Human Resources) were all vying for the school superintendent job in Sarasota County. It’s unclear how much of their attention was focused on the process which required multiple interviews. The Sarasota County School Board hired another candidate.

Among the issues facing Palm Beach County: education continuity, teacher staffing for remote and in-person education, and physical school preparation. These issues all fall under the purviews of Fennoy, Licata, Lacava and Oswald.

Just two weeks from schools opening for in-person education, there is no plan for teachers who wish to teach remotely due to health or other reasons, there is a significant lack of PPE for students and teachers, there is no one checking KN95 mask donations made by community members to determine if they’re on the FDA’s “banned” list, there is no universal lunch room plan, there is no plan to socially distance children on school buses, and plexiglass dividers are largely absent from schools.

There are also several reports from teachers and bus drivers that the school district is out of disinfectant. The school system must use “approved” cleaners — not off the shelf items found in “big box” stores.

“This is not a school district ready to prevent COVID-19 spread,” said a school official with knowledge of the situation. “This is a slow moving disaster in the making.” has learned from several people familiar with the situation that at least some board members are privately “fuming” at Fennoy’s lack of preparedness. His comment last week suggesting that it’s okay because this is “new to all of us” only made the situation worse.

“His job is to prepare,” said a source. “He’s failing.”

Fennoy’s complete employment contract is below. This one paragraph is key. It gives the Board the ability to fire him at any time, for any reason.

TERMINATION WITHOUT CAUSE. BOARD may dismiss SUPERINTENDENT, by a super-majority vote of the entire seven-member BOARD (defined as a minimum of five (5) votes), during the term of the AGREEMENT without cause. The Board agenda item to consider the termination without cause shall be publicly noticed at least five (5) business days in advance (i.e. at a minimum, notice will be given on Thursday for an agenda item on the meeting for the following Wednesday). In the event of such termination without cause, SUPERINTENDENT may: (i) waive all rights to contest or challenge BOARD’s decision and, in consideration of such waiver, will accept a lump sum amount, calculated as of the effective date of BOARD’s termination, equal to twenty (20) weeks salary, (“Severance Pay”) plus accrued sick and annual leave, and such other benefits required by law, in full satisfaction of BOARD’s obligations hereunder and otherwise and in full release of any and all claims against BOARD under this AGREEMENT or otherwise, to the maximum extent allowable by law; or (ii) exercise his right to challenge as set forth herein. In the event SUPERINTENDENT challenges the termination, Severance Pay shall be withheld until the resolution of the dispute and/or litigation and paid out according to an agreed settlement or judgment.

There is currently NO item regarding Dr. Fennoy’s employment on any pending Palm Beach County School Board meeting agenda.


Are Palm Beach County Schools Open For In-Person Learning?

Palm Beach County schools open for in-person learning on September 21st, 2020. There is significant concern that under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy, the district is not ready to safely manage students and teachers in the midst of COVID-19.


Paul Saperstein


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