« Herald/Times video: Marco Rubio swipes at Charlie Crist | Main | Meek calls Crist a 'fence-sitter' »

School district explains Oliphant's massive pay hike

The Broward School District says Miriam Oliphant didn't get any special treatment when she received a 77 percent pay raise as a guidance counselor.

Here's the skinny: In December 2007 the ousted Supervisor of Elections was hired as a substitute teacher. A couple weeks later she was hired as a guidance counselor earning about $42,450. But by mid-2008 her salary rose to $75,000.

During that time, Oliphant submitted documentation about her relevant prior work history which included 23 years with the Broward courts. Oliphant worked at the public defender's office and provided counseling and referrals for families, crime victims and inmates. That experience -- not her time on the school board or as supervisor -- qualified her to be paid as a top-scale teacher, said Lynn Strong, associate superintendent for human resources.

Oliphant had temporary certification but failed the math portion of the test to continue her certification. That's why she landed on the list of 123 teachers slated to be laidoff by the school board Tuesday.

"From what I understand she has done a phenomenal job with students and families at Whiddon-Rogers,'' Strong said, referring to the education center where Oliphant worked."It's just that we apply the same standard to every employee in the district and she didn't pass her certification. We are not allowed by Florida statute to continue to pay her an instructional salary because she does not meet the minimum certification requirements.''

In 2003, Gov. Jeb Bush suspended Oliphant from her supervisor job after she botched the 2002 primary.