Another School Board Joke: Group To Prevent Misspending Controlled By Staff, Not Independent As Promised








Ever hear the one about the foxes guarding the hen house.

That old saw comes to mind when reading this week’s resolution on the much-trumpeted School Bond Oversight Committee.

This committee is far from the independent group the School Board claimed would guarantee the $800 million from the bonds would be spent wisely.

What happened to the idea that an independent, outside agency like the Inspector General audit the bond spending?

There is no way that a group created and controlled by the school staff is independent….as Runcie promised so many times.

All the committees under the sway of the school staff and Board are advisory. They are mere window-dressing and their recommendations are routinely ignored, a fate that has greeted the findings of such worthy groups as the Audit Committee.

The Committee proposed in the resolution below is an open invitation for Superintendent Robert Runcie and the school staff  to lobby the organizations with appointment power. They will seek compliant people to be named to the Committee.

The Committee as proposed is flawed because:


  • The chair, the vice chair and a third member will be appointed by the school superintendent, who is unelected. The elected School Board get no appointments.
  • All Runcie has to do to effectively control the Committee is appoint three strong members who through their prestige and personalities won’t be challenged. He has told various insiders that his choice for Chair is former Attorney General Bob Butterworth. How many members will challenge the former Attorney General?
  • There is no prohibition appointing a member who is a lobbyist or who has past, present or future business with the school system.
  • Four more members are from the construction industry and Big Labor with built-in vested interests.
  • Three members are from the faith based community, which is a recipe for controversy. What faith? Muslim? Hindu? Scientology?  Any minister picked slights another religion. And isn’t the public school system supposed to be nonsectarian?
  • The duties of the Committee are not spelled out in the resolution. The actual functions of the Committee won’t be developed until after the November election. School Board is asking voters to trust that the Committee will have any actual power. 
  • The Committee will have 19 members. Creating a very large committee is an old trick that the school system bureaucracy often uses to water down the effectiveness of citizens’ groups. It is extremely difficult for a group that large to make tough decisions or reach a consensus on difficult issues – especially when the chair and vice chair are appointed by the superintendent.


There are some good elements in this committee such as members from The Bar, the Urban League and the charter schools.

But the group clearly is not independent enough from the thumb of the school bureaucracy that has misspent so much tax money in the past.


Bond oversight committee

21 Responses to “Another School Board Joke: Group To Prevent Misspending Controlled By Staff, Not Independent As Promised”

  1. My guess says:

    Don’t be surprised either a large donor to SMART or someone with a couple degrees of separation.

  2. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    How about a kick-ass citizen, an activist who will represent the populace?

  3. Voting No says:

    Dimwits on the School Board like Freedman and Murray will do anything Runcie says. Think about why. Don’t expect a change unless we vote NO

  4. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    And you expected anything different given the way this board has done business?

    That’s what they promised in 1995; same old same old.

  5. chacha says:

    And as ole Karnac knows the train goes clickety clack…just new engineers and riders. Our students see diddly from all the mirrors and whistles!

  6. Alice McGill says:

    Vote NO!
    The infrastructure to come up with a needs assessment, a plan to meet the needs, a budget to do the work, and an accountability system to make sure the work and the budget match already exists. It is simply the opposite of what has been proposed. NO could turn into YES with a bond issue that makes sense.

  7. MST says:

    Is it surprising who will be on the Oversight Committee? To start with, Runcie will appoint the chair, vice chair, and one other person. Does this show transparency? I think not. Then each one of the other groups listed will pick their representative. The committee will meet four times per year to review the information presented to them by facilities. Do I think this committee, being headed by Runcie’s people, will spend the time it takes to break down the money being spent? Unless the facilities department provides paperwork which shows project with amount to be spent and compare it to the money which has been distributed. It takes time and work to go through all of that. Do you think the committee will receive the information at least 2 weeks in advance? Maybe. If at least the things I have pointed out, and I am sure there are many others, the committee will not be effective. I forgot, the Oversight Committee has no POWER.

  8. Sto says:

    Just another reason to vote NO on the bond issue

  9. Shelia for Chairwoman says:

    Sheila Van Hoose runs everything else at the school board at Runcie’s request why not this.

  10. Set Up says:

    So let me get this straight. The School Board members, who were elected by their constituents to ensure that the decisions made are in the best interest of their students, schools and communities, DO NOT get to appoint a representative to this committee? This committee that will “guarantee” that the bond money is spent “wisely.” Yet the Superintendent will appoint the chair, the vice chair and a third member? Sounds like a set up to me! Sounds like the corrupt Superintendent is preparing to pin any future misspending on his Board. Pay out 5 months of his contract or take the fall for his corrupt politics? I’d be demanding his removal!

  11. Red Flag says:

    I agree with “Set Up.” It’s comments like, “And you expected anything different given the way this board has done business” that raise a red flag. The only thing you can hold this Board accountable for is allowing Robert Runcie to stay in that seat and destroy this district. Looks like Mr. Runcie is setting up for the perfect crime. His incompetent staff can’t even provide the Board with a legitimate needs assessment for our schools. The needs assessment is filled with lies about safety slating millions of dollars for single points of entry that have already been installed and lead paint that doesn’t exist. He’s been trusted to hire this incompetent staff and now you are going to allow him to appoint three key members to this Oversight Committee? If the Board members approve this, I’m afraid they have sealed their own fate.

  12. Juliet Hibbs says:

    Mr. Runcie, the Board and the Upper level leadership in the district play word games to mislead! No accident either! All smoke and mirrors…all word play. I can only HOPE and PRAY that this Bond does not pass. If it does….nothing changes! If it does….if the Bond is written correctly, not trust me. If it is clearly spelled out with NO games I would have supported it! But all the lies and word games PROVES they are not trustworthy or are just too weak to do anything to make it better! Just another reason NOT to support the Bond

  13. zgt says:

    I was looking at the composition of the “Oversight” committee. It is composed of 19 people, 3 of which Runcie appoints and 3 from faith based organizations. If I do my math correctly Runcie’s and faith based are 30% of the committee. The School Board is a governmental entity and some where in the constitution it says there is a separation of church and state. Is this even legal in our state? Floridians are not allowed to pray at a public meeting or in a school but 15% of the committee is faith based? Just wondering.

  14. Baloney says:

    Most of the teachers and other employees in the district I and several others talked to are voting NO! They see right through this.

  15. RR Reign of Terror says:

    Runcie’s reign of terror continues. Do the Board members ever wonder why BCPS even has a School Board? The non-elected Superintendent gets to choose three members, not including the other members he will most likely have a hand in selecting. As if there were not enough YES people around him already. School Board members need to take back the reigns. Runcie and his Administrative staff continue their blatant disregard for the Board by spending money without approval, not following policy and not providing a clear and HONEST plan for spending the 800 million dollar bond. The Board can’t possibly be considering allowing Runcie to puppeteer an oversight committee that will guide decisions that the Board members will ultimately be held accountable for.

  16. Richard J Kaplan says:

    I think this is the final straw. I know the schools need the funds and I have desperately wanted to support this effort.

    I have seen the problems in the schools. But then, I have seen the abuse of what is going on with trying to get this passed. There is too much going on about this bond issue that reminds me of the problems with school construction problems of the past.

    I have spoken with Dr. Runcie and others about trying to insure the funds are guaranteed not be misspent. I even recommended that the School Board Members and staff become voluntarily subject to the Inspector General and let him oversee the process.

    Independent, as far as the public is concerned, means not subject to political will. It means independent auditors with legal authority and separate funding to investigate, not interested parties. Virtually every group of this committee has something to gain by serving and steering funds to their interests.

    If you go with this type of committee, not a single organization or person should have any professional or personal relationship with the business of the School Board. The members themselves should be neutrals with no vested interest in the result, other than doing their job.

    To date, everything proposed seems to always come with a catch, a weakness, a flaw. I am not seeing what is needed to provide confidence that public funds will be used as the public expects.

    Maybe in the future the School Board staff will figure a way to do this the right way. But this hasn’t been it.


    Mr. Kaplan is the mayor of Lauderhill.

  17. DeeDee says:

    I hope Mayor Ryan sees how Runcie treats his ideas about an independent committee to audit the bonds. Runcie is a phony and is misleading the county with his broken promises. He broke his promise on the committee so how can we believe anything about the bonds.

  18. Floridan says:

    How about a kick-ass citizen, an activist who will represent the populace?

    If you are nominating yourself . . . no.

  19. Alice McGill says:


    I second that motion.

  20. Sam Fields says:

    For any independent group to really succeed it must have its own budget and staff. If not, they will just be parroting what the School Board bureaucrats feed them.

    They will nned their own General Contractor and constructon lawyer to advise them

    Additionally, they need unfettered access to all those involved in construction. Since they will not have subpoena power, all contracts should guarantee their access to documents, building sites and personnel…including the school bureaucrats.

    One final note on the three “faith based” members. This means that a “public office” will be restricted to those who believe in a “Big Poobah” in the sky. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution states”…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

    I can’t wait for that lawsuit.

  21. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Dear Mr. Nevins and interested citizens. I am afraid that until the members of the Broward County School Board and its Superintendent and senior staff are taken out in handcuffs the County School Board will continue to be one of the worst examples of bad government this side of Emperor Caligula appointing his horst Ingatatis (sic!) a Senator! Why the School Board plays the Central Committee to Runcie’s Stalin is beyond my powers of deduction.
    Sadly, however, the voters returned Freedman and Murray to office, so you know the level of intellect and honesty of the average voter in Broward County.
    It is obvious either the Queen of England or the King of Spain would govern better than the band of low class, low rent, low morals clowns that make up the Broward County School board. Perhaps we should abolish elections to the School board and let the King of Spain or the Queen of England appoint the membership.