Florida state school board chair resigns in protest

T. Willard Fair, the chairman of the Florida State Board of Education, has resigned to protest Gov. Rick Scott’s move to force Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith out of office, The Associated Press is reporting.

Fair, who was term limited, said a move to conduct a┬ánational search to replace Smith was bogus. In his letter of resignation, Fair wrote that a national search “flies in the face of reality that Governor Scott will choose his new commissioner.

As the AP notes, Fair was term limited but stayed on because Scott has not yet appointed his successor. Fair also complained that the governor didn’t tell the board that he wanted a change in education commissioners until two days after Smith announced his pending resignation. In his letter to the board, Smith said his resignation would be effective June 10. “The time has come,” Smith wrote, “to allow our newly elected Governor to have input through the State Board of Education on the type of leader to pursue his goals for education.”