Leon County School (LCS) board members, during the July 9th LCS Board Meeting, unanimously approved the appointment of David Solz as the new Astoria Park Elementary School principal, despite an ongoing investigation by the Florida Department of Education (DOE) into events that led to his dismissal as Gilchrist Elementary School principal less than a year ago.
Also, there were no questions by School Board members at the meeting related to the appointment.
The FDOE investigation – first reported by Tallahassee Reports – was started after an internal investigation by LCS concluded that Solz had an “inappropriate relationship with a married teacher” that he supervised.
LCS also found Solz had violated school policy with regards to the use of school resources.
Dee Dee Rasmussen, the Board’s vice chair and District 4 representative, said the appointment and employment of school officials, such as principals, are solely at the discretion of the LCS superintendent, Rocky Hanna.
She said board members’ only grounds to vote against an appointment by Hanna is “if there are legally sufficient grounds to do so, and, to the best of our knowledge, that doesn’t exist at this time.”
However, LCS did confirm an FDOE investigation was ongoing.
In a response to a public records request by Tallahassee Reports, dated July 15, 2018, LCS Technology & Information Services’ Julie Jernigan said, “We cannot release any information while the DOE investigation has not concluded.”
Rasmussen said she met with legal counsel in the past about this matter but not immediately prior to the vote.
“We didn’t have sufficient grounds to vote against his appointment,” Rasmussen said.
She continued, “It is important to note, he did self-report. He was disciplined and removed from his position for some time (since September 2018). On the advise of legal counsel, we did not have any legal grounds to vote otherwise.”
District 1 board member Alva Striplin declined to comment on the matter, other than to say it was an unanimous vote and standard procedure.
District 5’s Georgia “Joy” Bowen, simply said it was completely the prerogative of the superintendent. Other board members were unreachable for comment.
Rasmussen suggested questions about Solz’ appointment were best answered by Hanna.
Tallahassee Reports plans on reaching out to Superintendent Hanna.