Bob Parks Leaves The School Board…Finally


If School Board member Bob Parks had a mantra, it was this:  I’m not going to run again.

I heard him say it 12 years ago.  He repeated it like a chant eight years ago.  Four years ago.  And again last year.

Every time he ended up running for re-election until this year.  He intended to run.  He was running.  Then Nora Rupert scared him out of the race.

Rupert will be sworn in Tuesday to replace Parks.  He is leaving…finally.  He was first elected in 1986. 

Parks is getting a lot of kudos.   He deserves some of them.

He also has been a walking, talking argument for term limits for a long time.

I’m not new to this opinion. 

Here is a column I wrote nine years ago in the Sun-Sentinel:

“Bob Parks has many titles — the longest-serving member of the Broward School Board, a doctor of education and a college professor.

Some in Margate say that after this week, he has one more title: a good argument for term limits.

Parks, who was first elected in 1986, lashed out at Margate residents and the city commission at the school board’s weekly meeting. He bragged that he didn’t care what people in Margate thought of him since he gets elected anyway.

‘I don’t care [what they think]. I don’t care,’ he said. Then he smirked and boasted that he ignored city officials in other cities besides Margate, too.

‘Guess what? I still get elected,’ Parks said. ‘What’s the problem?’

Says City Manager Len Golub of Margate: “It’s a heck of an attitude [that] only hurts kids.”

Or here is something I wrote when Parks was the fourth vote as part of a shady deal to approve a new contract for Superintendent Frank Petruzielo:

“The contract deal has the odor of a quid pro quo with the four board members, according to Republicans.

 The chronology is this:

* December 1997 _ Fischler, Oliphant, Parks and Samuels get new election districts _ drawn by a Petruzielo employee _ that protect their re-election chances. The districts do this by being overwhelmingly Democratic.

 * Feb. 3, 1998 _ The four members approve a 3 percent raise to $172,000 and the extension for Petruzielo.”

Or this which another reporter the always-solid Sarah Talalay —  wrote in 1997:

“After nearly two hours of heated debate, the Broward School Board on Tuesday narrowly approved spending $5.6 million for 30.5 acres in far western Pembroke Pines for a school bus depot, rather than $5.1 million for 29 acres.

Board members voted 4-3 to buy the more expensive land at 208th Avenue and Johnson Street in the Chapel Trail Corporate Park.

School District staff recommended the site, pushed by lobbyist George Platt, because they said it offered more space to park buses and was better suited to keep buses away from nearby residents.”

Parks was the swing vote. 

The only problem was that the more expensive property was not properly zoned. The School Board couldn’t get it rezoned. 

The more expensive site was never purchaes, but years were wasted.

Meanwhile, land prices climbed. The Board was forced to buy new property properly zoned at a higher price.

And Parks was the swing vote for this expensive debacle.

I could go on about swamp land purchased and how Parks fought against settling discrimination cases.  I’ll stop here.

Actually, the journalist in me is somewhat sorry to see Parks leave. I got so many good stories from his shortcomings. 

Then again, the cynic in me believes the Broward School Board will be providing good stories for years to come regardless of Parks’ departure

And, of course,  I still have Maureen Dinnen.

19 Responses to “Bob Parks Leaves The School Board…Finally”

  1. Hammerhead says:

    Don’t worry Buddy, something tells me that Parks and his friends are not quite out of the news just yet. The streets are buzzing with stories on how he has only just begun to have his real legacy unveiled. Sure does make you say hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  2. Git R Done says:

    He should have left a few years ago.
    He was always “not” there in person, falling asleep at the dais or pretending to be asleep.
    Too bad he just didn’t have the guts to leave before.
    Maybe now, there will be some attention given to district 7, hopefully

  3. Parent says:

    You forgot Parks votes for Barbara Miller/Neil Sterling. He and Gallagher made them rich and cost the taxpayers money.
    The FBI needs to investigate any projects in Parks district. He made sure every school went to his favorite lobbyists and they managed his campaigns to keep him in office.

  4. JD says:

    Maybe he is next on the list to get a new pair of silver bracelets. As a Broward tax payer I would gladly spend my money on a pair for this guy.

  5. teacher says:

    It’s all in a days work. He was trying to get the stadium named after him at Coconut Creek High Schools–so unethical. Glad he is gone but unfortunately his cronies (principals, business leaders) are still in the mix!

  6. Charlotte Brownfart says:

    Bob did a wonderful job. He should be the first School Board member Emeritus.

  7. Floridan says:

    What to make of this post?

    1) I don’t think Rupert “scared” Parks out of the race. Rather, I believe had he decided to run, he would have been elected. Remember, Rupert received only about 35% of the primary vote, and if Parks had stayed in Williamson and Lansing would not have have run. Why did Parks change his mind? Primarily because he got tired of the fundraising required and how difficult it was in a down economy.

    2) What is it with this call for term limits? Why shouldn’t the electorate have an opportunity to keep the people they want anfd get rid of those they don’t? We have term limits for Florida legislators; does anyone argue that state government has been improved as a result?

    3) Parks has served on the School Board for nearly a quarter of a century. It shouldn’t be too hard to take anyone’s record for that period of time and find some actions that are, in retrospect at least, misguided. Still, if the best you can do is trot out some dubious “quid pro quo” charges made by Republicans against Democrats, I think Park’s legacy is safe.

    4) I am always amused at how so many of your commenters display an astonishing ignorance of how things work in real life.

  8. FactSayer says:

    Good riddance Parks. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  9. Comment About Floridan says:

    I don’t know how many of you notice but Floridan (whoever that is) consistently offers thoughtful and balanced comments. I appreciate that especially in a blog where we see so many simply irresponsible and emotionally tainted comments regarding, what should be, serious matters. That level of banter is what spoils what I think blogging should be about; serious anonymous commentary between people that otherwise would not get the chance to share perspectives worth reading about the issues of our day. Anyhow…to the point.

    In the instance of Parks, I differ with Floridan in only one respect. It is fair to say that Parks stayed at the school board way too long even if he earned his way there through election every time. It is plainly obvious that he lost touch with what his purpose long ago. He became an elitist insider instead of a staunch supporter of what parents and children needed of him. For whatever reasons he has gotten away with it. Good for him. But you cannot live in an environment that flea bitten for so long and not have at least some flea bites to show for it. Not possible.

  10. Dear Floridian says:

    Parks became arrogant and removed from the voters. That is common problem with politicians who stay in office too long. Congress has no term limits and witness how removed from the real lives of voters that it is.
    Opponents of term limits always say that we have term limits already, elections. Such an argument doesn’t recognize that incumbents have an advantage in fund raising and name ID that is almost impossible to overcome. Add to that gerrymandered districts that the School Board draws itself, as Nevins’ article above explains.
    One subpar School Board member was beaten this election — Phyliss Hope. Two left office because they were under arrest (Gallagher is in jail) and Parks was frightened out of the race.
    He was scared out by Rupert. How would you explain he was running and when she started to get traction, he backed out? That
    Rupert got 35 percent doesn’t mean that she would have gotten the same percentage against incumbent Parks without others in the race. She might have picked up all the others vote, too.
    Term limits would bring fresh ideas into the School system. Why not try them?

  11. Broward Cleansweep says:

    Buddy and I agree on something:
    “the always-solid Sarah Talalay”

  12. Dday25 says:


    “Why did Parks change his mind? Primarily because he got tired of the fundraising required and how difficult it was in a down economy.”

    That is not a ringing endorsement for a true leader. Just about anyone can lead when times are easy, it takes a true leader to step up when times are tough. What I read into your statement is that when the going gets tough, the weak walk away.

  13. SimpleMan says:

    Too bad Bob didn’t run. I was looking forward to posting more comments about his fundraising and where his support came from. When I looked at the financial reports from his campaign, I found that 90% of his contributions came from outside his district and mostly from people who did business with the school district. Once the list of his contributers was matched up to the list of people doing business with the district, it would have been a lot of fun to expose the names and connect the dots. Bob knew this and withdrew from the race. He may be a corrupt politician, or he may just have been an unethical one, he certainly was not honorable, but he mostly was not stupid. Bob figured that he got all the easy money out and wanted to walk away before the spotlight got too hot. I, for one, hope that Bob finds himself in the spotlight again real soon and has some explaining to do.

  14. Cya Pops! says:

    Now the contractors will have to find a new stooge to pay off.
    Bob will be working as a lobbyist for Cummings Construction before long..just wait and see.
    And the taxpayers are in hock for Two Billion Dollars. Thanks Bob!

  15. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    I also think if he would have ran, Bob would have won…he opened his account with a sizeable amount of money. I believe he is not the healthiest person and this election could have made him more fragile. He has a real big heart even if he made some mistakes. We all do. Thank you Dr. Parks for the good things that you did.

  16. Hammerhead says:

    Thanks Beth…now we know you’re on crack. He quit because he did not want to chance being indicted during his campaign or having his ‘good’ name slung further into the mud. He has made his bed and now he can lie in it…feathers and all. Beth, puleeeeez!

  17. It's Complicated says:

    @CB 12:15am
    “…School Board member Emeritus.”
    I believe that is the Latin term for a lobbyist?

    @SimpleMan 2:34pm
    I feel your pain. We’ve been cheated(again).

  18. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    Hammerhead, be happy you still have your job, you are definitely a school board employee, so I can see they hire mentally ill people.

  19. FactSayer says:

    Not sure what your point is, but Hammerhead is certainly correct albeit, a little nicer than I would be, and you are dead wrong. Parks is an arrogant, mean old man who proudly declared he did not care what the parents/taxpayers wanted, but did what HE wanted, and rambled like a senile old goat in board meetings. Bethy, perhaps you are mental, or maybe the old goat is your daddy?