Seminole County school board seeking answers over member's 11-month absence

Jeffrey Bauer hasn't attended a board meeting since February 2017

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - It has been almost a year since Seminole County School Board member Jeffrey Bauer sat in the school district's chambers and participated in district business.

Now the school board wants to weigh its options and figure out his plans for staying on the job.

District officials told News 6 the last meeting Bauer attended was Feb. 28, 2017. Since then, his seat has been empty.

As first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, the school board now wants to find out when Bauer intends to return to work.

"I would like to ask Dr. Griffin to send an overnight, certified letter to Mr. Bauer asking him to reply to the Board Clerk with his direction regarding his participation in future meetings or board sessions," Seminole County School Board Chairman Amy Lockhart said during Tuesday night's board meeting.

According to past reports, Bauer told the Orlando Political Observer he suffered a stroke in June 2016. He also faced additional medical problems in early 2017, according to a letter sent to Gov. Rick Scott's office after Bauer missed several meetings with the Seminole County State Board of Trustees.

Lockhart said during this week's school board meeting, the district has had some communication with Bauer during the past 11 months, but he never set a date on when he would come back to work.

"I think the superintendent and the board clerk have been told at varying times, not anything in writing but verbally, that there would be an opportunity that Mr. Bauer might be coming back or participating next month or in a few weeks and it keeps getting pushed out," Lockhart said. "We don't have anything in writing with his intentions and I think that would be helpful for everyone to ask for that."

School officials said during his absence, Bauer has still been collecting his paychecks. He earns $41,040 a year.

Parents told News 6 they are frustrated it has taken this long for the board to take action.

"There's got to be communication if something is not right or he's not healthy," parent John Lindsey said.

"We had no idea that this would be going for this long," Lockhart said. 

News 6 tried reaching out to Bauer for comment, but never heard back.

According to the district's attorney, only the governor has the authority to suspend or remove Bauer from his position. The governor's office told News 6, "Our office is reviewing this and welcome recommendations from the Seminole School Board."

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