Tallahassee Watchdog Group: Broward Schools Concealing Cost Overruns, Other Negative Info

 

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

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.

Surprised?

I suspect that this is just the beginning of Runcie and School Board’s dissembling and broken promises.

 

XXXXX

 



7 Responses to “Tallahassee Watchdog Group: Broward Schools Concealing Cost Overruns, Other Negative Info”

  1. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Their troubles have just begun. I’ve been communicating with Tallahassee about this for some time.

  2. A reader says:

    The SBBC has layers and layers of people responsible for building maintenance. Assistant principals are assigned that duty instead of being able to concentrate on education of students. Custodians and their superiors, district and area maintenance, project managers, various layers in administration trailing all the way up to the Superintendent are responsible for keeping school buildings an environment in which teachers can teach and students can learn.

    Broward County has failed miserably in building maintenance under the direction of Runcie.

    Where do the work orders when repairs are needed at each school go? Who decides which work orders are honored? Who decides which work orders need an estimate because of the scope of the work needed? Who sends in the work orders and follows up on the progress?

    Each School Board member is assigned to specific schools. Is politics in control of what schools are maintained and repaired? Who silences the School Board members whose school buildings are in complete collapse? Why would they allow themselves to be silenced? Politics? The School Board seats have traditionally been a stepping stone to other political offices.

    Too many questions, no answers from Runcie or his minions.

    The students in Broward County deserve better.

  3. Same Old Same Old says:

    Suspicious Status Reports – A status report that lacks consistency and specifics, can signify a failure to measure and control

  4. Charles King says:

    Is this guy bad at his job or what? Maybe the ladies of the School Board should muster up the courage to fire the guy already instead of wasting still more time with mangers that take orders instead of giving them.

  5. Zachery Taylor says:

    I was encouraged by the BOC meeting. I watched it from home. First the information from taxwatch finally had some meat in the report. The members of the committee were asking hard questions. It will be interesting to see how the school board members react to the information. If it is viewed as everything is fine, then the voters need to start thinking about their school board members who are up for re-election in 2018.

  6. Broward Workshop Who? says:

    Buddy,
    As a follow up why don’t you ask the Broward Workshop leadership to provide some feedback on FL TaxWatch’s report and what steps they are willing to take to support the school district in implementing those recommendations. All they seem to do is blindly support superintendents in Broward County without knowing any details. Many of them were at a recent school board meeting asking/intimidating the administration’s critics to back off.

    Broward Workshop ED Kareen Boutros, Chair James Donnelly, ViceChair Keith Koenig, Secretary Steve Hudson and Treasure Juliet Roulhac and Alan Levy,
    What do you have to say about this report?
    Crickets………

  7. An Old Timer Project Executive says:

    The most common cause of troubled projects, from my experience, is that the scope is not well defined or well understood.” —Nah Wee Yang,

    To know when your project is in peril is essential—but knowing why is a different matter. Like a crime scene, troubled projects are flush with clues.

    Some of the trigger events that should lead to an assessment include missing key milestones, loss of a vital resource, extreme cost overruns and multiple change requests.

    Among the most important of those details is how the project scope was communicated to key project stakeholders.

    To leave no room for guesswork, the written scope should clearly define what the end deliverable will include—and what it will not.

    A scope in which project requirements are vague or incomplete raises a major red flag and ripe for failure.

    A status report that lacks consistency and specifics, such as performance measurement baselines, work-in-progress metrics or completion criteria, can signify a failure to measure and control—which often spells trouble for projects.

    To truly track a project’s status on regular reports, attention needs to look for objective measures, such as cost and schedule performance indices, to assess a project’s current health and its progress.

    Vague or missing metrics isn’t the only warning sign, but optimistic language that glosses over the specifics is also a tell tail sign.

    Unconstrained Constraints Deviations from the project timeline and budget are inevitable. But understanding how much wiggle room is available—and where delays and cost overruns can be made up—keeps a project out of the red zone.

    If you don’t have a detailed project schedule, the chance of the project failing is increased exponentially.

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