School Board May End Big $$$ Deal With Insider

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

Maybe, just maybe, the Broward County School Board is really changing.

Maybe insiders like big-money real estate mogul Terry Stiles no longer have control of Board members.

On Tuesday School Board members will consider what was unthinkable just a few years ago: End a lease in a Stiles-project.

Considering alternatives to spending $3.124 million annually for leasing office space is an initiate of Superintendent Robert Runcie. 

The biggest lease: $1.645 million-a-year at the Sawgrass Technology Park just south of the Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise. Just under 500 work at the complex, which is owned by Stiles’ company.

Terry Stiles

Look up a list of Broward County insiders and Terry Stiles will be at the top.  He is a premier member of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Good Ol’ Boys Club, a group of wealthy political string-pullers.

Stiles inherited a small residential construction company from his Daddy and turned it into one of the biggest development firms in South Florida. When you build much of downtown Fort Lauderdale and dozens of buildings in the rest of Broward, you earn a place in “The Good Ol’ Boys Club.”

The former scandal-stained School Board wouldn’t dream of cancelling a big lease with Stiles. He’s a regular source of campaign money and an associate of many other contributors.

But the old Board habit of spending to favor plugged-in developers and lobbyists was blasted in a stinging statewide Grand Jury report a few years ago.

(Stiles was not mentioned by the Grand Jury and was never accused of wrong doing.)

That old Board is out of office – in jail or chose not to run again. This is a new Board and a new superintendent.

So instead of pouring money into Stiles’ pocket, Board members will consider moving employees to under-enrolled schools and other system-owned buildings.

Makes sense to me. For instance, 72 of the employees are in psychology services. Shouldn’t they be closer to the students?

We will see if the School Board and Runcie have the backbone to follow through on this.

Or will they take the easy way out and sign a three-year renewal with Stiles, the other option being offered?

We will be watching.

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 (click to enlarge)



8 Responses to “School Board May End Big $$$ Deal With Insider”

  1. s only says:

    Duh! It’s about time to save some $ and put these people in places where there is free space. ( under enrolled schools). Since 10% of our students are now in charter facilities, there should be room in almost EVERY school. An added plus—More adults in school sites = fewer disruptive kids. And they will now see some of the real problems at said school first hand.

  2. Cmon says:

    Didn’t you read that piece of high journalism by Mike Mayo today on Stiles?

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-big-games-mayocol-b010613-20130105,0,5537069.column

    An entire column about the guy(Stiles) who lives in Nick Saban’s old house.

    The part about the Jungle Queen still calling it Saban’s house was riveting.

    Ironic that the column Stiles/Saban and Stiles and the School Board came out today and the most newsworthy was Browardbeat. Not that it is a surprise, Buddy in retirement runs circles around his old paper.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Thanks for your kind comments.

  3. SB insider says:

    Well you’re half right, Buddy. It wasn’t the old SB that was the barrier to getting rid of that Stiles lease, it was the old Superintendent and his old staff. While some of the “old timers” on the Board may have gotten campaign contributions from Stiles, I don’t believe that Stiles was a major contributor to the board members at the time the lease was renewed. That is easily discoverable.

    When the lease was coming due in 2010, staff held two workshops with the Board on May 11 and June 7, 2010. You can see the synopsis of those workshops on the eAgenda. Board members repeatedly asked for other options, but staff was adamant that continuing the lease was the best option.

    If you look at the minutes from the last time that agenda item came up, September 21, 2010, you will see that staff had made a presentation that stressed that the lease was at a “below market rental rate” and that the first three months were free.

    Then-Facilities Supt. Lindner had been directed by the board to look at using the existing portables as an option, but told the Board that the cost to turn the portables into office space was $3 million more than renewing the lease and moving additional staff into that space.

    They basically gave the Board no other options.

    With a new superintendent, and new staff answering to the new superintendent, it should be interesting to see if alternatives are now being presented.

  4. history says:

    Out with the old (insiders) and in with the new (generation of insiders)

  5. Panda Bear says:

    Well, it’s about time! Been sayin’ it for years!
    Now if they’d only listen to the rest….

  6. just saying says:

    Cost to relocate administrative offices into designated school
    area/administrative facilities ($104,389*).* Based on historic cost to relocate 102 Facilities and Construction Management staff from Hortt to Sawgrass Technology Park
    I hear the real cost to move Facilities from Hortt to Sawgrass was closer to $600,000. I’d ask for proof, just saying.

  7. house hunter says:

    I heard the stiles will be building a new home in coolee hammock on north side of new river 1622 Brickell Dr now that utility easements and such were approved by city comm.
    Many transactions of the current stiles’ home in the last 10 years on bcpa.net but the ‘saban” name regognition is bigger with out of towners on Jungle Queen tours.

  8. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    If anyone thinks the then-Sup’t. and staff didn’t answer to what the majority of the then-board wanted, I’ve got some really well-irrigated land I’d like to sell you.

    We all knew those numbers were questionable, to be kind about it, but that was then and this is now.

    And they do want that billion dollar bond issue. Question is, will the public trust them to keep on the straight and narrow if it’s passed?

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