Another Harebrained Scheme From Your Broward Schools



The Broward County school system has found a new way to fritter away their resources and your money.

At the same time School Board members beg for a piece of the federal bailout money, they are moving ahead with an idea that has nothing to do with educating children  building affordable housing.

This is a school system which can’t even build enough classrooms. Yet top bureaucrats are now spending staff times planning the development of 500 units of rental apartments.

That’s not all. They are about to give away millions of dollars in land — owned by you, the taxpayers — to developers!

Developers would use the free land to construct the four rental housing projects. 

The idea is to provide housing for teachers. 

Here is what’s wrong with this proposal:

1. The number of teachers needed in Broward has been declining.

2. The price of homes in Broward has been declining.


So what’s the big need for affordable housing for teachers right now? 


The school system, which has enough trouble educating children, has no business in the housing business.

 According to the Daily Business Review, here is the locations of the land the School Board wants to give away:

  •  the Edgewood neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale near the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. 
  • On the Arthur Ash Middle School campus.
  • A parcel about one mile from the beach in Pompano Beach on a municipal golf course. 
  • A site just north of Sunrise Boulevard on the west side of NW Third Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.

This land would all be handed over to developers.  It is surely worth millions. 

Isn’t this land the property of taxpayers?  Why should it be given to developers?

This smells suspiciously like a way to keep bureaucrats busy and off the unemployment roles during the economic downtown.

It also smells like a gift to the development community during a recession in construction.

And what do  all these smells add up to?  An idea that really stinks.


14 Responses to “Another Harebrained Scheme From Your Broward Schools”

  1. Lawyer with a memory says:

    Wall Street and Detroit are private sector entities seeking federal tax subsidies to survive. The school board “bailout” on the other hand is one of the most stupid ideas I’ve ever heard. Unlike Wall Street and Detroit — businesses which can go under — the school board is a taxing authority. It can raise as much money as it needs simply by RAISING TAXES!!! Perhaps they’ve forgotten about this options ….. or perhaps they are afraid that they would then be accountable to the public for what they do with it.

  2. Marty Rubinstein says:


    You’re right on some points and dead wrong on other points.

    First of all, when teachers make at the 40k level, exactly how much mortgage can they carry?

    Throughout my own careers, the homes that I purchased were about twice my annual salary.
    Actually, $17k vs. 32k and $45k vs. $94k.

    My actual ratios at purchase time were 1.88 and 2.08 respectively. Those are really workable numbers if you think about it.

    Today? $39k vs. $450 at the high, and about $290 at the low.

    Don’t kid yourself. Home prices have fallen, but not nearly as much as you’re suggesting.

    Teachers face a ratio of 7.4 on the low end and 11.5 on the high end. Even if a really small property was valued at $190k, that’s still a ratio of 4.8! It isn’t workable.

    Trading the properties to developers is assenine, and taxpayers should not stand for it.

    The idea I was working on at the School Board would require a change in state law but was essentially this:

    Build commercial rental properties managed by a separate entity, a division responsible for its own “profit” much as bigger companies build divisions responsible for their own profit or loss. Rent out 80% of the units as general rentals, and 20% low cost units to teachers. The idea should turn a profit if managed correctly and that would be a new source of revenue to the school system.

    In that scenario, they’re not giving public property to commercial interests, but solving two needs at once. Affordable housing for teachers and a new revenue stream for schools.

    There are bound to be some kinks that would need to be worked out, but it’s light years above giving away the cow for some low cost milk.

  3. Marty Rubinstein says:

    Want to know what the land is worth to developers? Figure $900k per acre, and that’s on the low side.

  4. Oops!!! says:

    Thank You Buddy for reporting this. It’s such a shame you’re not with the Sun-Sentinel anymore reporting this on the Front page like you used too. This is EXACTLY what is happening and it’s been in the works for years. Even when Till was there. That’s one of the reasons he was fired because of all the backroom deals that the union and others were trying to come up with to impress the Superintendent to bring to the School Board and get it passed. This has to stop and the SBBC has to stop with all their insane, idiotic, stupid, ridiculous crap they keep coming up with all the time. They have continued to raise school taxes 3-5 years on homeowners since they have had to cut down on their budget every year. BUT, they don’t get rid of the upper hired workers that they don’t need, they keep “RAISING THEIR SALARIES”. The BTU has gotten their raises for next year, BUT, they’re not happy because they want a “cost of living increase”. Do other employees who work in other fields get a “cost of living increase? HELL NO and they’re are trying hard to make things work for their families. Why don’t you check out all the Unions in the State and BTU (BROWARD TEACHERS UNION), Pat Santeramo, the President of Browards and other higher up’s working for the Union who are double-dipping while they’re on a “Leave of Absense”… That’s illegal and It’s happening all over the State, It’s sooooo disgusting and to think the politics that has taken a hold of all the School Board Members here in Broward and also the School Boards throughout the State is completely UNNECESSARY!!! Why on earth can employees sign up for the “DROP” program and retire in a 1 year or 2, get their retirement and then come back to work for the SBBC again earning another wage. This is NOT RIGHT TO THE TAXPAYERS OF THIS COUNTY OR THROUGHOUT THE STATE!!! It has to stop. This never happened when you and I went to school here in good ole’ Broward County, ya think??? I think the Sun-Sentinel made a BIG MISTAKE allowing you to be gone. Stay with this and show the people just how much “HISTORY” we do know about this idiotic COUNTY!!! (Marty, You’re dead wrong on this one, it was happening while you were still on the board, but, you were NOT AWARE of the “shit” that was going on behind your back. There were a few of us that did… Sorry…facts are facts!!! One thing I certainly noticed is that NONE of the Board Members UNDERSTOOD THE BUDGET, except myself. I used to be an Auditor and could see what was going on and none of them raised questions. Remember, I was only 1 vote, that’s why I always said “NO” to raising school taxes on homeowners to make up the short-fall because it would affect ALL HOMEOWNERS. BUT, the votes were 8-1 and it always passed. It was soooo upsetting.

  5. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    You go Oops, you certainly seem to know what you are talking about. As for teachers making 40K…I must say it is a worthy position educating our children. BUT they also have full paid benefits and only work 190 days a year….Yes they have plenty of free time to get another job.

    The school board doesn’t have the right to give away property owned by the taxpayers, just like Weston couldn’t create their own school district. School Board needs to stay out of the real estate business. I think it would be interesting to have the School Board notify the public exactly how much vacant land the school board owns. It would certainly help out in these lean times to sell some of them. And THEY OWN PLENTY….Go on Property Appraiser to check it out.

    When Notter was on asking about bailout money to continue the five year plan….I also was disgusted because like Marty said our enrollment is declining, how in the heck could we possible need so many new schools???? duh

    Another waste is rehirinf retirees at the rate they earned when they retired. Policy says if a retiree reenters the school board full time they get paid entry level. Like principals should come back where they started as teachers. There is alot of this going on. And I think it’s ridiculous that many of the schools now have 2 principals……more money down the drain.

  6. Marty Rubinstein says:


    Oops happens to be none other than Darla Carter. That’s why she seems to know what she’s talking about. Darla, I love you dearly but log in with your real name rather than Oops.

    Darla knows very well about the double dipping by Santeramo and Bernie Schultz. And yes there were a lot of things going on that I was unaware of, nor did I care at the time. In the same vein, there were things you were unaware of that I was. That’s what teamwork is all about.

    Each case led to our own decisions to fire Frank Till.

    But never forget first of all, that there were never any attempts to raise taxes during my tenure but once. That was the $3/4 billion fiasco that Till tried to get on the ballot and if you remember, my vote was the deciding vote. Of course it was a resounding “no.”

    That was one good reason for firing Till.

    My other major issue was his refusal to fire at least one manager that I caught in bid rigging (a federal crime, no less.) I won’t mention the offender’s name but he was giving out no bid contracts to companies that were paying for his trips, including a family trip to Disney World.

    I have an e-mail from Frank Till to this individual warning him that Board members were on to him.

    And I quote: “The bd. members are getting other calls on possible contlicts of interest. It could be a tough bd. meeting.” END QUOTE. Dated, by the way, Monday, July 24, 2006 9:08:50 pm.

    Till even warned this guy via e-mail to stop getting himself appointed to boards of directors for companies doing business with Broward Schools…

    A paper trail…

    How brazen (or stupid) can you get?

    Another good reason to fire Till.

    Forget about staff changing numbers again and again to justify Till’s wants.

    Forget about Garretson and Till’s constant recommendations to approve and re-approve the purchase of the swampland in Southwest Ranches even though Garretson admitted that the quality of the land was so poor that his subcontractors could not get their equipment on the property to test the quality.

    Yet while exposing double dipping and other shams, the teachers turned on Darla. By firing Till, the teachers turned on me.

    Stephanie was dead wrong. We should have fired Till for cause and exposed everything.

    Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox, but I still stand by my earlier posting on the housing solution for teachers and extra revenue.

  7. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    Wow Marty you seem to know about the double-dipping, etc., Why aren’t these people exposed to the taxpapers??? If you know its going on and you don’t expose them you are guilty as well. There is so much waste in that School System and favoritism it’s sickening to me a tax payer. Well at least somebody got to Bev and supervisors no longer drive school board vehicles out of Broward to their homes up the coast everyday.

  8. Marty Rubinstein says:


    It’s being brought out here. Darla has raised the issue from the Dais time and time again. Directly in public but nobody seems to care (except you of course.)

    I had been ranting about Till’s exploits publicly back then, but nobody cared. I exposed Till’s incompetence two years before we fired him and the community didn’t care.

    The only group that cared was the Ft. Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. And all they wanted to do was protect Till at ANY COST.

    The good news was that a year and a half ago, one or two of them were brought down by their own arrogance and incompetence.

    Sorry you’re so shocked but that’s life. As I said in hindsight, we should have fired Till for cause, but I suspect Stephanie was afraid of the media circus that would have followed.

    The good news is that Till and others left a paper trail of at least e-mail that’s easy enough to follow for anyone that cares.

    There’s more than enough evidence to put two and two together. Santeramo’s salary & Schultz’s salary from Broward Schools are public record. I suspect they won’t cooperate on their Union salaries.

    Meanwhile, I’ve done my duty to the taxpayers both during and after my tenure. The individual who took those free trips and attempted to engage in bid rigging before I caught him is long gone, but it took me exposing him in public to get Notter to terminate him.

    I’ve also exposed what I termed as the sham of the teacher contract in public. It was printed on my website. It was printed as a letter to the editor in the Sun Sentinel. It became a Sun Sentinel Editorial last year and still the union insists on screwing teachers with less than 18 years on the job.

    And I’ve publicly criticized teachers for being dumb enough (yes, I said it) to permit BTU to screw them with crap raises while giving steps 18 – 21 just about ALL OF THE MONEY.

    But it IS one of the reasons why Notter and the Board are fighting step raises for next year.

    I’ve done more than my share. I’ve given a good deal of my adult life to kids, schools and the community at large. Oh, I’ll weigh in from time to time, but I’ve moved on to other projects other goals.

    At this point in my life I owe absolutely nothing to anybody. I do things for people I like and care about and make life difficult for those I don’t.

    The state of my physical health prevents me from running for anything again. Since I no longer need anybody’s vote, I can speak my mind without wondering if I’ll piss anybody off. But I’ll always tell the truth.

    If you want to pick up the banner, have at it. I’m tired. But I’ll help if I have a mind to.

  9. Marty Rubinstein says:

    The idea of Federal bailout money for Broward Schools is patently ridiculous. In fact, I have an even more appropriate word for it:

    C H U T Z P A H

    With a very long history of waste and abuse of public funds, the last thing the school system needs is more of the same.

    We might as well supply a drunk with a case of whiskey.

    Case in point: Will Ft. Lauderdale High’s renovation project ever be completed? 7 years overdue and $10 million over budget when I left the board.

    And the project had just been restarted essentially from scratch.

    Has the project for electronic documentation conversion ever been completed? Two years late at a cost of more than $4 million extra.

    That was the one with the attempted bid rigging. The one that Till sat on for two years while costs mounted.

    Has anything ever been done with the swampland in Southwest Ranches? $5 million wasted.

    How many countless projects are still years behind schedule and significantly over budget simply because of rising costs?

    Have maintenance folks stopped wasting taxpayer time at titty bars?

    If any bailout money gets to the school system, they might as well hand out whiskey to the drunks in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. At least some people wll get something substantial out of it.



    Wake up call!

  10. please marty says:

    marty, try getting a job or some other activity rather than responding to blog posts. i know you must be bored by not having elected office but come on…

  11. Marty Rubinstein says:

    Actually, I’m retired and having fun.

    And telling it like it is…

  12. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    You are right on the spot Marty and really know more than I thought you did. I enjoy reading so keep on writing.

  13. S. Only says:

    You go Marty!—btw—-how can we get TEACHERS to weigh in on these discussions?

  14. Marty Rubinstein says:

    S. Only…

    Just spread the word that Buddy’s back and his blogs are open for discussion as long as things don’t get out of hand. I have a dog in the current teacher contract fight and I’d really like to get them involved in ways other than “I need a raise.”

    Most teachers won’t like to hear what I say (or maybe just the way I say it.) But they need to hear it nonetheless. I’ve read other contracts and BTU is absolutely the worst when it comes to paying junior teachers. Since they make up about 90% of the bargaining unit, they should not stand for it one moment longer.


    I know what you thought and I’ve heard it all before. But there’s a real difference between facts and fantasies that others would have you believe. Yes, I didn’t blather on and on while on the dais and that was personal style.

    Think of it as a cross between John Adams (a personal hero) and Mark Twain.

    Adams basically said that the members of the Continental Congress would debate a proposal to set the sum of two plus two equal to five. They’d debate, each to prove their expertise for two solid days before they actually took a vote.

    Mark Twain, on the other hand, said this: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

    My personal style as an elected official was John Adams’ disdain for overabundant speech and respect for Twain’s opinion.