Miriam Oliphant Failed State Test After School Salary Doubled

Poor Miriam Oliphant. People always said the former School Board member and elections supervisor wasn't too bright, and now it looks like she's going to lose her cushy job at the School Board for failing a math test.

Oliphant, after being run out of her elected position as Broward County Supervisor of Elections in epic fashion, was quietly given a job as a guidance counselor at the School Board, where she also once held elected office. Records show she was hired in July 2007 at a starting salary of $35,600. 

Oliphant was hired by the School Board on the basis of a two-year temporary teaching certificate that expired on June 30, 2009, according to information just issued by the School Board's human relations department. She was given two years by the state to pass four exams to get properly certified. According to the board, she passed the essay, reading, and language-arts portions of the test earlier this year but failed the math test, which has caused her to lose the certification. Therefore, she's on the chopping block and is expected to be laid off by the board next Tuesday, along with 122 other teachers who failed to renew their certification.

News that Oliphant may be losing her job raises some questions about how she got it in the first place -- and how her salary ballooned in a very short time. School Board records show that after Oliphant was hired at $35,000, her salary jumped up to $42,450 just six months later. Six months after that, July 2008, she was given an even heftier bump, to $75,200.

That's right -- in a year's time, Oliphant's School Board salary more than doubled. I'm not sure that's the regular track for most area educators. (The Herald politics blog gives the board explanation here). For the record, I always felt that while Oliphant wasn't a great elected official, she was basically the victim of a witch hunt when she was elections supervisor. Her removal from office by Gov. Jeb Bush was finalized by a vote of the Legislature in 2005.

But it looks like she wound up getting a fairly soft landing until she messed it up with the failed test. You think maybe her political connections paid off for her?

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Bob Norman
Contact: Bob Norman