Hillsborough County School Board member April Griffin defends vote to oust Superintendent MaryEllen Elia

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Tuesday night, four board members prevailed in voting to terminate Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia.

The move has stirred community-wide controversy because of the hefty price tag for buying out Elia’s contract. The district will pay Elia $1.1 million. That’s two years-worth of salary and her cozy benefits package including two retirement plans, two life insurance policies, health insurance and a car allowance. Elia’s supporters have also pointed out the Superintended is decorated with numerous accolades. The most recent of those is a nomination for National Superintendent of the Year. Elia will find out if she gets to add that to her resume at the end of February just days before her last day of work.

Griffin has been accused of being petty and having a personal vendetta against Elia, but she claims tension within district staff was high and morale low under Elia’s leadership. She also notes that it was a business decision to eliminate a costly contract. Griffin also opens up about other beefs with Elia during this exclusive interview with WMNF and explains that had it been up to her, Elia would have been fired “with cause” and not paid a dime. The board instead voted to terminate “without cause” leaving Elia eligible for the expensive payout.