BY BUDDY NEVINS
Florida TaxWatch blasted Broward Schools this week for hiding information about the $800 million construction bond project from the public.
The school system is concealing which construction projects are “likely to be delayed and those projects that are likely to require additional funding,” the non-profit Tallahassee-based watchdog group wrote in a report released on Monday.
The non-profit Tallahassee-based watchdog group appears to be saying what Browardbeat.com already disclosed:
The school system will be unable to live up to promises made to voters during the 2014 bond referendum. The projects will take much more than $800 million to finish.
One of the biggest promises were repeated pledges by School Superintendent Robert Runcie and the School Board that the bond construction program would be “transparent.”
Yet the non-profit watchdog group found much information was not being given the public.
Robert Runcie: Concealing Construction Cost Overruns
“Of great concern, however, are the District’s reports of cost overruns and delayed projects. Despite repeated recommendations from Florida TaxWatch, the District fails to identify those projects likely to be delayed and those projects that are likely to require additional funding. The absence of an agreed-upon reporting template does not excuse the District from its obligation to report this information, as well as detailed corrective actions necessary to get these projects back on schedule and back on budget,” Florida TaxWatch wrote.
Describing itself as an “independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute… (that) works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government,” the group is monitoring the county’s $800 million bond program.
Florida TaxWatch also stated that the data the school system did provide is sometimes “odd.”
“Florida TaxWatch finds it odd that the number of projects identified as ‘complete’ or in ‘construction’ in Table 4 decreased from the quarter ending September 30, 2016 to the quarter ending December 31, 2016. Common sense dictates that these numbers should increase or stay the same over time, but not decrease. This decrease was confirmed by comparing the two reports.”
The group also wrote that Runcie’s staff was not providing enough information on how much of the construction program is going to minority businesses.
You can read the complete report here.
I suspect that this is just the beginning of Runcie and School Board’s dissembling and broken promises.