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Okaloosa Superintendent appeal moves forward

The official is one of a few to get the ax from DeSantis.

A Senate special master will begin moving forward Monday with an appeal by Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Jackson, who is challenging her suspension by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Dudley Goodlette, a former lawmaker appointed by Senate President Bill Galvano to serve as special master, has scheduled a case-management conference at 11 a.m. Monday at the Capitol.

A letter sent by Goodlette to attorneys indicates the conference will deal with largely procedural issues, such as scheduling a hearing.

In an executive order last month, DeSantis said he was suspending Jackson on the recommendation of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

The Governor pointed, in part, to child-abuse allegations against an Okaloosa County teacher and grand jury findings that were critical of Jackson.

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The executive order said Jackson failed to “provide adequate, necessary and frequent training, a lack of supervision of school district personnel and a failure to implement adequate safeguards, policies and reporting requirements to protect the safety and well-being of the students.”

Under state law, suspended officials can go to the Senate to seek to be reinstated.

Jackson requested a hearing, with her attorney, George Levesque, writing to Galvano that she is “disputing all of the allegations contained” in DeSantis’ executive order.

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