Broward Politics: Teacher’s Union Attempt To Buy A School Board Seat






The Koch brothers influence elections with their billions.

Charles and David Koch are examples of too much money in politics.

But what about the Broward Teachers Union’s current attempt to buy a Broward School Board election?

The only different between the Koch Brothers and the BTU in tactics are the numbers. The Koch spend billions and the BTU has spent tens of thousands.

Both special interests use faceless political action committee to spread their message.

And silly me. I thought a teachers’ union like the BTU would be more transparent and above board. Boy, was I wrong judging from the School Board’s District 3 which includes parts of Dania, Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors, Oakland Park and Pompano.

Four mailers received by voters in the last few weeks carried the union message, but were hidden behind a shadowy Tallahassee political committee.

Three others were paid for openly by the BTU Committee on Political Education, a PAC which receives much of its money from members.



BTU President Anna Fusco





The beneficiary of this BTU push:

Sarah Leonardi,  a School Board candidate.

Make no mistake. The BTU is a special interest. With a special interest agenda.

You can’t decry hidden special interest money in campaigns without including the BTU’s money.

Yes, unions largely exist to win more for members. More money. More benefits.

More than the 7 percent bonus and 2 percent raise teachers are already getting. Leonardi wants more, more, more for teachers. That is understandable when one considers that the teachers’ union is fueling her campaign.

The board “needs to listen to the teachers,” Leonardi is quoted in the Sun-Sentinel.

Almost everybody believes teachers should be better paid.

Teachers are one of the motherhood-and-apple pie of American politics, along with first responders like firefighters and police.

Does a bigger teacher raise beyond 9 percent make financial sense now while the school system needs every penny to cope with the coronavirus?

Yes, the BTU and its candidate Leonardi say.

Hold off for now, says Leonardi’s opponent Heather Brinkworth, a School Board member.

Brinkworth says the system should postpone any additional raise until it sees how much is left after the coronavirus crisis.

That fiscal restraint is one reason cited by the Sun-Sentinel when they endorsed Brinkworth’s re-election. *

Just before coronavirus closed the schools, the BTU packed a School Board meeting with 1,000 teachers. Despite the pressure on Board members like Brinkworth facing reelection, the BTU lost. The Board voted 6-3 against hiking teachers pay more than 9 percent already promised.

Brinkworth is paying for that vote.

The union’s blizzard of ads targeting Brinkworth appears to be the BTU’s revenge, part of an effort to intimidate Board members who dare stand up to union demands.

BTU President Anna Fusco, and by extension Leonardi, must know that there will probably be no money for an additional teacher raise.

Here is a reality check:

Thousands of Broward residents are facing financial disaster because of the coronavirus.

They lost their jobs. They face foreclosure. They face eviction.

Credit card bills and car payments are past due.

There are lines for food stamps. Lines for free food.

And we ain’t seen nothing yet, many fear.

Bigger raises for teachers? Or fiscal restraint until we see how it all shakes out?

Voters will answer that one soon in east central  Broward, where the choice for School Board is Brinkworth and Leonardi.



* Sun-Sentinel links are often kept behind a pay wall.


Broward Teachers Union political operation’s latest contribution report lists donations to the Citizen’s Action and the Donner Group. Citizens Action,, which uses a Tallahassee mail drop as its address, is responsible for mailers including the attack ads against Heather Brinkworth. Veteran political operative Keith Donner of the Donner Group in Miami is chairman of Citizen’s Action and works with the BTU political arm. The BTU spent nearly $100,000 in July alone on Citizen’s Action and Donner, but it can not be shown from state records whether it was all spent to promote Leonardi’s campaign in central-east Broward. The BTU political arm has given thousands more to the two entities in previous years. 


22 Responses to “Broward Politics: Teacher’s Union Attempt To Buy A School Board Seat”

  1. Anna Fusco = Donald Trump says:

    Anna Fusco is a disgusting thug. I left the union two years ago because I could not be part of an organization whose leader behaves this way.

  2. Ghost of Tony G says:

    BTU hasn’t improved much since I left. Clink clink

  3. Robin Rothman says:

    Are you kidding me? Stop blaming teachers. Brinkworth and others have been anti-teachers. Money has vanished. Schools are for kids and kids learn from/with those who teach curriculum. Everyone and everything else is to support that – but the SBBC does not get that right. They seem to think that kids come last, crappy contracts and subcontractors, and administrator’s interests come first. Lost money, no school supplies for kids unless they look good in print or on TV. WE NEED THE CHILDREN OF BROWARD TO GET A BETTER EDUCATION AND WITH THE PEOPLE ON THE BOARD DOING THE SAME THINGS OVER AND OVER AGAIN WE WILL CONTINUE TO TURN OUT KIDS WHO COULD DO MUCH MUCH MORE IF THE TEACHERS WERE ABLE TO TEACH. We need a major shake up and the teachers of broward, who are also citizens and parents of Broward, support Anna Fusco and the BTU. We should put our money where our mouths are. Koch Brothers? Really? I support the BTU and new eyes and minds on that school board. Now as always stop blaming teachers. Teachers did not cause the economic problems nor are teachers exempt from those same problems.

  4. A slice of apple pie says:

    The scariest part about politics within BTU is that the BTU President must remain on friendly terms with the School Board Superintendent. School Board members can be easy targets to attack, but the Superintendent is given a pass on many issues. Why?, because the Superintendent can stall any negotiations indefinitely and School Board members have defined terms of service.
    Therefore, some teachers and students are toiling in neglected buildings that were to be repaired or updated with bond monies voted on by the public years ago. The quality of the delivery of instruction can vary drastically from school to school. And, the Superintendent has his own “PAC”, the downtown power brokers that have no idea what teachers and students really need. The downtown “PAC” only needs bogus numbers supplied by the Superintendent to look good on paper.

  5. Ironic voter says:

    I’ve been waiting months for someone to catch on to this. Thank you, Buddy.

  6. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    No one seems to catr the Broward Publuc School systrm IN THE MAIN is lousry with high school graduates NOT going on the scientic academic medical or first class higher efucation.We are educating Amazone n Walmart n Publix warehouse n clerks. Look at the doctors in Broward. They live in Palm Beach County n send their kids to private school.BUT IT IS THE VOTERS who support POLITICAL TYPES NOT CITIZENS who know n care about FIRST CLASS EDUCATION.

  7. Teacher says:

    Is there anything about teaching in Broward County better since Fusco took over? We give the BTU our money and it is like throwing it down the toilet.

  8. Damian Frankel says:

    Leonardi is a teacher. Keep that in mind when you vote.

  9. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    #6.I beg your pardon working for Amazon is a great job.I would love to hang up the scissors and work there.

  10. Leah Felder says:

    Leonardi SUCKSSSS!!!

  11. Ironic voter says:

    Can school board members teach in the county during their term?


    In the past, one member employed by the Miami-Dade School Board got his salary, but didn’t have to work.He also got a salary for being on the School Board. So this Board member got two salaries.

    I don’t know what Leonardi intends to do or if what happened in the past is even legal today. It’s an interesting question.

  12. A mother says:

    Agree with #1` and #1 The BTU is worth;ess I will put that aside to vote for Leonardi because we need new blood on the School Board. The same nine puppets of Runcie have been their too long. We need an entire new School Board and Leonardi is a start!

  13. Scott Travis says:

    Ironic voter, No absolutely not. That would be a massive conflict of interest. They cannot teach while on the School Board. They can go on leave and can return to teaching when they are no longer on the board. The School Board approves Nora Rupert’s leave every year.


    Scott Travis is the Sun-Sentinel’s ace reporter who does a terrific job covering the Broward School Board.

    Thank you for the information.

  14. vangork says:

    Buddy, you had me at “silly you”..

  15. Rico Petrocelli says:

    While I’m NO fan of the SBBC or its administration,and its wasteful spending habits…Buddy, is anyone political Surprised?

    Police, Fire, EMS, Union Workers, &…Teachers will support the Candidate they believe will do the BEST for the members.

    What’s the difference here? Union wants bla bla bla…

    What about the Teachers Union Supporting 1 sheriff then switching endorsements? That;s gonna send a mixed message, No?

    And…it’s only just begun..

    Rico Petrocelli
    Plantation Councilman 2005-2009

  16. TruthBeTold says:

    Fusco and her BTU Gang don’t care about anyone but themselves, showing off their bullying tactics……meanwhile Runcie and his Gang use them. The sad part is that our children pay the price.

  17. Dragon Pride says:

    Brinkworth was a teacher prior to becoming a school board member. She is also a Stranahan High School alumni.

  18. Ireallyknow says:

    Fusco is so unprofessional. She is foul mouthed, a chameleon and a bully. She turned on the parents of MSD, endorsing Scott Israel and also Board members that did nothing but pass PROMISE. I cringe when she stands up and speaks with her gross jeans and too tight stained shirts. Certainly not one bit of class.

  19. A Teacher says:

    Still not sure where the 9% raise came from…referendum money still isn’t decided for this year, and depending on where you were in years of experience, it varied widely. The only thing you could bank on was the 2%.

    The real issue is, teachers don’t seem to be the first place the district puts their money. We were the only ones directly working with the district’s main customers in the fourth quarter – the students. The multimillion dollar buildings sat still. Like many in other positions. Teachers salary should be the first priority.

  20. Veteran Teacher says:

    As others have mentioned, there is no 9% raise. Buddy needs to do some better research. However, I will never defend Fusco. She’s a corrupt bully who will no doubt end up like the rest of the BTU presidents, walked out in handcuffs.


    I got my figures from the Sun-Sentinel, which quoted Leonardi.

    “During the Sun Sentinel interview, Leonardi made the School Board sound unreasonable for refusing to add more than a 2% raise atop a 7.5% “bonus” raise for teachers this year. The bonus comes from the additional property tax that local voters approved in 2018 to raise teacher pay.”

  21. Zachary Taylor says:

    Heather Brinkworth has always supported teachers. Heather is doing an outstanding job on the board. I am glad BTU did not endorse her. That means she can vote her conscience. Leonardi will be tied to the ideas of the union. I want someone in the position that votes for all the children and employees of the school district. Heather was a teacher and BTU is denying that. Who wants to vote for someone who does not put the truth first

  22. Ironic Voter says:

    I don’t see Leonardi on the Nova High School directory.