On Wednesday the Palm Beach County School Board unanimously approved an official contract for Mike Burke, making him the permanent superintendent of the district. Burke had been serving as the School District of Palm Beach County’s superintendent on an interim basis since late July following the sudden resignation of former Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy.
Since serving as the School District of Palm Beach County’s superintendent on an interim basis, he has faced difficult decisions regarding COVID-19. One of the decisions included mandating facial coverings for students without the ability for them to opt out. The decision went against the Florida Department of Health emergency rule which gives parents and guardians the final say over whether their children should be masked in school. As a result of that violation, the Florida Department of Education is threatening to penalize the school district by withholding state funding equal to monthly school board member salaries — and potentially more — until the district comes into compliance. However, community leaders and board members expressed support for Burke’s appointment and management abilities throughout the process. Burke has been with the School District of Palm Beach County since 1998.