Broward Politics: Fight Over Schools’ Future Part of County’s Changing Demographics






This cry was resounding through Broward’s political world 12 years ago: “Throw out the Broward School Board and the incompetent superintendent!”

The year was 2006. On the chopping block was Broward Schools Superintendent Frank Till, a spectacularly inept leader. 


Frank Till 


Till was fired by the School Board, despite his frenzied support from Broward’s downtown Fort Lauderdale business community.

Flash forward to this week and some members of the business community were again throwing a life preserver to a beleaguer and deeply flawed School Superintendent — Robert “Bob” Runcie. The business types participated in a news conference to publicly back Runcie.

The news conference was bizarre and unconvincing.

Members of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance and Broward Workshop would never employ an executive who:

  • Bungled a $800 million financing plan. 
  • Botched the public response to a shooting massacre.
  • Repeatedly and publicly lied to his bosses.

Runcie has done all this and worse.


Robert Runcie



Yet there they were, a handful of Broward’s most visible business types, telling the media that Runcie was terrific. 

Broward Workshop Czar Keith Koenig of City Furniture was quoted: 

“If we lose Bob Runcie, the school system across Broward County will go backwards cause they’ll be a long search to find another…If you try to find someone with his qualifications, his background, and his skills, you’d be looking for a needle in a haystack.”

Read between the lines. 

Business types like Koenig value stability. Maybe more than anything else. 

The reason? It is easier to sell Broward as a location for economic development when there is a stable political structure. Economic development means more furniture moves out the doors of City Furniture. 

Removing Runcie would cause instability in the community, Koenig is warning.


Keith Koenig



There is also an ugly subtext to this support for Runcie. 

The superintendent is black. 

The lily-white business would never publicly attack a black superintendent. They don’t want to be labeled racist. 

Runcie’s weak liberal bosses on the School Board are cowed by him for the same reason. They fear they will be labeled bigoted if they fire him.

Frank Till was white, so race wasn’t a factor in his firing 12 years ago.  There has been a dramatic demographic shift in Broward since then. 

Blacks now comprise roughly one-half of the Democratic registration. Democrats dominate the Broward political structure. 

With numbers come political strength. 

A black is now superintendent of schools. The increasingly strong black political leadership will not surrender the superintendent’s position. After all the superintendent controls many millions and much patronage, like the hiring of principals. 

But the black political leadership or the downtown Fort Lauderdale business community will not decide Runcie’s fate. 

Voters will. 

Will they vote for the incumbent Board members? Board members Laurie Rich Levinson, Ann Murray and Donna Korn have kept Runcie in his job despite the numerous problems with the schools.

Or will voters throw out the School Board and take the first steps towards cleaning house?

We will soon find out. 

18 Responses to “Broward Politics: Fight Over Schools’ Future Part of County’s Changing Demographics”

  1. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    I don’ t give a rats asd what who’ s who of whoville supports Runcie.

    Another issue Mr.Runcie guaranteed Ft.lau city msn.Lee Feldman all police resource ofgicers woyld be taken care of- all set huh.BS.Now beginning of school year and Ft.lau has to pay for resource officers? Why.So Ft.lau has to pay Ft.lau police officers ocertime to make up the difference at broward schools.

    So who pays for Runcie inadequate running of the schools – you do Ft.lau.

    So say Mr.Jones retired, say living on the Galt is paying for a school police officer say in Weston or Pompano or any other school in the county.Not fair.

    County should be paying.Not asking Lee Feldman to pick up the slack.Unreal.

    Then Runcie and this bozo school bd.atty they file contempt against SunSentinel reporters.Yo what scare them.Harass them.

    Ps. sir i instructed these reporters esp Brittany Walman to counter sue your ass for a million dollars.I say Brittany shit.Call Runcie and school bd.atty.bluff.Stay strong.Yes, yed Mr.Runcie must go.Who cares what Swindell says here.You pay for these resource officers.You pay legal bills for Brittany.Put up.Who cares what Swindell states..Get your check book out there Mr.Swindell not Ft.lau tax payers..

  2. Just One Vote says:

    Unfortunately all school board members are not up for re-election so cleaning house is cleaning out only half the board.
    And the last thing these”leaders of the business community” want is a superintendent that is smart, competent and forward thinking that demands a quality education for students and safe and well maintained school properties with tax dollars spent wisely.

  3. Flip the board says:

    Buddy you are spot on. This is EXACTLY what happened with Till years ago. If you recall, and I’m sure you do, the so-called business community was very vocal about supporting Till, to the extent that one of them hired him after he was fired to work with one of their agencies. Then, after he left and went to another school district, that same businessman revealed that Till was, in fact, totally inept.

    This is also almost exactly what happened in 1998 when Petrozuelo was the superintendent. Two incumbents and several challengers ran on a “get rid of the superintendent” platform and won in August. Before they were even sworn in in November, Petrozuelo found another job and was gone by the end of the year.

    It is totally a good idea to “flip the board” every couple of years. There’s a reason why most superintendents in large urban districts don’t last very long. The problem is, while superintendents change, and board members change, the problems in a large district like Broward are deeper than just the superintendent or the board members. There is a culture in the district with many employees to just do whatever they always do, regardless of who is in charge. Still, it is a good idea to shake up the system every five years or so.

  4. J says:

    Just as you published it, this comes out.,amp.html#click=

    The race baiters of Broward County are at it hard. Shevrin Jones Is leading the charge. Race is no excuse for incompetence.

  5. Señor Sensor says:

    Señor Koenig should hire Runcie as head of his City Furniture sales team on a commission basis salary, lets see how long he would last.

    @1 Both Lee Feldman and Runcie are liars.

  6. Charles King says:

    It’s almost like you have to be easily manipulated inept morons like Frank Till and Jim Notter with the IQs similar to potted plants or a non moron owned and operated by the Black Democrat Party Establishment to be the Broward Superintendent of schools recently. The one job requirement seems to be to preserve the unacceptable status quo and keep the tax hikes coming and the property tax money heading west to the guard gated western suburbs. As for Broward Workshop hypocrite Downtown business leaders like Keith Koenig, all they care about is keeping the development impact fees for new residential towers owed to the School Board as ridiculously low as they are now. And the more underperforming and half-filled the schools are the better the developers’ lobbyists’ argument for no or low development impact fees. I wonder what Fort Lauderdale public school Keith Koenig’s kids are attending that’s got him so in love the stability of the current regime?

  7. Runcie lied says:

    The school report that was printed in full by the Sun-Sentinel proved that Runcie lied to the public. Only the dishonest leaders in the business community are ok with that. The rest of us think Runcie should go. Our children are too important. And all the cheap furniture from China won’t change that.

  8. NW Broward MODO says:

    City Furniture also commonly known as “Shitty” Furniture has LOUSY reviews.

    Runcie has LOUSY reviews- for good reason.

    Perhaps Koenig would find Runcie to be a good fit for City Furniture’s customer relations department. He can engage in “thoughtful conversation” with those who express dissatisfaction with their purchases. The Runz: ” I think that this calls for pause. Let me put you on hold……”

  9. A Watchful Parent says:

    Not all school board members up for election have been drinking the Runcie Kool-Aid. The Sun-Sentinel endorsed Nora Rupert saying “Rupert is one of the few board members who challenges Runcie on attention to detail and communications. Voters should re-elect Rupert.”

    I live in District 7 and have seen Nora work hard in individual schools to raise their graduation rates and provide students not going to college with better skills and training that employees want. I support Nora and encourage my neighbors in Pompano to vote for her as well.

  10. A reader says:

    So, if the “big shots” running the county behind the scenes do not want to run Runcie back to Chicago because that would portray Broward as politically unstable, does that attitude apply to the incompetent Brenda Snipes and Brenda Forman as well?

    If so, those “big shots” enable the incompetence of government employees to waste other peoples’ money as in the taxpayers. Elitism rules Broward.

    Vote for School Board candidates who will stand up to Runcie and give control of the School Board to the people who pay for it.

  11. Paul Tanner says:

    Buddy, Buddy, Buddy. 1st off, I hope you have been well. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I think at least you should your facts straight.

    City Furniture sells to the retail customer. Broward County for school age children and corresponding families is shrinking. The only growth for a retail furniture is from new urban density which caters to millennials, who are 10 years away from starting families. And the Broward County School Board is as relevant to them as actual newspapers.

    What Keith Koenig does for his community is what he hopes to be best for this community. He, like you and me, have watch our home grow large and very populated from when we were running around in 1980. Your cynicism is is understandable. But your premise is wrong and your facts don’t align. Generally you’re better than that.


    Paul, I hope you and your family is well, too.

    To address your comment, everybody needs furniture, whether they have children or not. Broward is building homes — rentals, condos and some single family — like crazy and somebody is expected to live in them.

    Your comment, “Broward County for school age children and corresponding families is shrinking.”

    The statement is wrong. There were 256,872 students in the public school system in 2010. There were 271,517 last school year. Private and parochial school enrollment has increased, too.

    The enrollment increase in the public schools is equivalent to roughly 7 new high schools, or 30 new elementary schools.

    The fastest growing population in Broward County are blacks, many of them from Haiti, Jamaica and other islands. Thirty percent (30%) of Broward’s population is now black. Many of them have families. These newcomers largely live west of Interstate 95 and not in the “new urban density” that Fort Lauderdale is creating downtown and in other areas.

  12. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #2.Just watched this hearing yesterday with Judge Scherer( Bill ” Grand Wizard” Scherer daughter- oh i can connect the dots).

    I was very impressed with the Sun- Sentinel atty representing both Brittany and Paula( guys she did brillantly- sleep well tonite- u r in good hands).I esp.liked when the SS atty.stated info received and the member of public giving the tip and or info is no way related per say to stealing redacted info and or doing anything illegal.The source gave them that info in reference to lifting the redaction.

    And no i disagree with Judge Scherer its not like her using a black sharpie and the Paper using some kinda of lighting device to lift the magic marker.No because its a false analogy.Brittany and or Paula did not discover this redaction lift it was a member of the public.

    These two reporters committed no crime.Here the school bd atty.Oh yes did u see when she stated( loved it) we never or are intent was never to hold Brittany in contempt, we just wanted to notify u judge of the info that u wanted censured was released.You bozo could have accomplished that without your contempt threat( backfired on you- yes with the majority of the school more than just disgusted with u).

    Then Judge Scherer when no more rabbits to pull out of her hat makes the ethics claim.Ethics.Really.Do u really think u would be a sitting judge( at your age) if it wasn.t for your fathers connections.But we preach ethics from the bench..

  13. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #1.Correction Mr Runcie states he would reimburse Ft.lau for the overtime that Ft.lau police will occur in save guarding schools.Get the check first Mr.Feldman.

  14. rob says:

    To #11: We ALL have a dog in this fight — whether we have kids attending public school, private school … or no kids at all.

    The dismal state of public schools in Broward County — and the repeated mismanagement of many administrations — has an adverse impact on the economic vitality of our community. You’d think hard-nosed business folks would see the obvious facts and demand some accountability from those spending their tax dollars. I suppose they prefer the soft bigotry of low expectations, instead.

    Pulling your kids out of the public schools and enrolling them in St Thomas Aquinas doesn’t relieve you of civic responsibilities. I guess some folks just can’t see the big picture.

  15. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #14 Enroll these children in Catholic grammar school.No way.These so called priests more like pigs that need to be slaughtered( yes Jack)….

  16. fake news 069 says:

    Who will run on changing the lines of the school boundaries? The gerrymandering and bussing in from other neighborhoods is worse than the 60s and 70s. Basically 90% of schools past elementary are awful now in broward because the district feels as though they need to put kids from very impoverished areas with those in middle class communities. This is NOT a race issue, middle class blacks don’t want to send their kids to those schools either!

  17. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    Just saw in the Sun- Sentinel another front page story on this whole contempt bs.

    Plus the drama over the redactions word for word.Guys lets move on.The SS atty.did a great job on behalf of Brittany and Paula.However, don’ t arrogant because this judge is livid.

    Im concerned Judge Scherer will out of spite no less actuaaly reexamine the contempt , that Judge Scherer decided she take it( contempt) under advertisement.Meaning piss her off and she could very easily give either one of these reporters 1,10, 30 days in the county jail.Yes, she has that authorization and authority.Oh don.t get me wrong the Sun Sentinel shined like a new penny.However, there is nothing more concerning than a womans scorn, or gay man for that matter.I think its best we move on gals…

  18. Catsinacradle says:

    Koenig’s kids went to Catholic school straight through. He is a good man, but completely misguided on this. Maybe Runcie wants to use City furniture for all of those high end jobs and offices in the Crystal Palace. Levinson, Murray, and Korn all need to go If not, there will be another tragedy.