BY BUDDY NEVINS
Fuzzy math is way too frequent in the Broward County school system like this example:
To save $1.6 million annually, the staff suggests spending roughly $9 million.
“It can’t be $9 million. That’s absurd,” Chair Laurie Rich Levinson said.
First the good news.
Board members agreed this week to move employees out of various leased office space. This includes moving 500 employees out of the Sawgrass Technology Center for an annual savings of $1.645 million.
The saving is close to $2 million-a-year.
Now the bad news.
When member Donna Korn pulled out her calculator, she was surprised: The staff wanted to spend $9 million to save $1.645 million!
The cost was for relocating employees and reconfiguring office space in existing buildings for them.
The staff didn’t say exactly how the money was being spent. Maybe limo rides to the new offices, which would be outfitted with gold-plated bathroom fixtures.
Korn said the $109-a-square foot relocation costs appeared waaay out of line to her.
She should know. She looks at such figures all the time at her real job – commercial real estate agent.
Other member blanched when Korn pointed out the expense.
When asked about how they developed the figures, the school’s property staff did what they do best: hummed and hawed.
Pushed into a corner, they assured members that these were initial figures and said that they would return with more solid estimates in a month.
Taxpayers should congratulate Korn. Former School Board members rarely challenged the phony figures and padded budget spewing from the bureaucracy.
This is what Superintendent Robert Runcie faces as he tries to impose fiscal discipline on the out-of-control staff he inherited.
Runcie and the School Board can’t run the system if they don’t have the facts. Real facts.
The school apparatchiks need to learn that sham spread sheets and pretend projections are over.
If they can’t learn, Runcie shouldn’t move them to new offices. He should move them out the door.