Broward Schools: A Sad History of Mismanagement, Misspending And Corruption





There has been a lot of talk during the current Broward $800 million school bond debate about past problems with classroom construction.

Many voters don’t realize that Broward Schools’ mismanagement, misspending, and downright corruption has been going on for a very long time.

Here is a chronological reminder from the pages of the local newspapers over the past two decades:



  • 1993-94 – Broward school builders, union leaders and a state auditor issued separate reports faulting the construction Another analysis by Coopers & Lybrand’s management consultant in 1994 mixed overall praise with a lengthy list of deficiencies.
  • 1995 — District employees and critics’ complaints prompted the school system’s internal investigators (Special Investigation Unit) to begin a yearlong probe of alleged mismanagement and corruption in the construction No criminal charges were filed, but Ray de la Feuilliez, the associate superintendent for construction, was suspended for 10 days for mismanagement.
  • 1995 – Penny hike in the sales tax for school construction defeated. Observers blame voters mistrust of the School Board to spend the money wisely.
  • Sept 1996 – Subpoenas are showered on the School Board in a wide ranging federal investigation of the system’s construction program.
  • Dec 1996 – School Board plans a $1 billion bond referendum for school construction. Art Kennedy, a former teachers union chief who led the opposition to the 1995 penny sales tax, warned, “It’s still a credibility issue. There has never been a debate about the need; it’s about accountability.”
  •  Jan 1997 – Mike Satz’s office begins a Grand Jury investigation of the school construction problem.
  • April 1997 — School Board delays plans for a bond referendum while the system is under investigation.
  •  Sept 1997 – Bill Hirschman, Sun-Sentinel’s education reporter, poured through 14 boxes of evidence in the Grand Jury investigation. He writes what he found: “A contract steered to a friend of Broward School Board members. A job promised to a friend of Superintendent Frank Petruzielo. School administrators more worried about a politically powerful condominium boss than taxpayers…. The allegations were denied by top officials of the system, but still raise troubling questions about a system described as run by insiders for insiders.”
  • Nov  1997 – All that evidence resulted in a Grand Jury report. It blasted the Broward School Board for the way the school system’s $1.4 billion construction program was handled and said too much power was handed over to Superintendent Frank Petruzielo.
  • Jan 1998 – The Broward School Board is reviving plans for a citizens’ group to serve as a watchdog over its school construction program.
  • May 1998 – A Grand Jury scolded the board for relying too heavily on whatever the superintendent’s staff said about its troubled $1.4 billion construction program. Now, critics are questioning whether the board got the Jury’s message. The staff left out details about a builder’s past spotty past record when they recommended awarding a $34 school building contract last week.
  • Jan 2002 – A state prosecutor plans to reopen a grand jury investigation into the Broward County school construction program to determine whether the school district has solved costly waste and management problems.
  • May, 2003 — Story after story punctuates a damning state grand jury report that contends waste, confusion and mismanagement still plague the Broward school construction program, even after warnings in a 1997 report. “There also is little or no accountability for disastrous school projects. We are now paying for those mistakes,” according to the report released Monday that caps four months of hearings and 17 months of investigation by the office of Broward State Attorney Mike Satz.
  • Sept 2009 – School Board member Bev Gallagher arrested for extortion, wire fraud and bribery charges involving school construction. She is later convicted and serves time in a federal prison.
  • Nov 2009 — The Broward School Board approved a settlement with a former building inspector who said she was fired in retaliation for sounding alarms about building code violations on school construction projects. Charlene Rebecca Blackwood will receive $45,461.25 from the district. The district also will pay $150,000 in Blackwood’s attorney fees.
  • Feb 2011 – Scathing statewide Grand Jury report is released. It is the third Grand Jury investigation of the Broward School Board since 1997. Jurors chided the School Board and other administrators for “gross mismanagement” and “ineptitude,” which could “best be explained by corruption of our officials by contractors, vendors and their lobbyists…Unfortunately based on the history of this Board as an institution, we have no confidence in their ability to make meaningful changes and to adhere to them.” Jurors makes 21 recommendations on changing the way the School Board is governed and does business. The suggestions including banning campaign contributions from vendors and lobbyists, having voters decide whether they want an elected superintendent and creating an independent Inspector General to audit construction. The current School Board ignores the key recommendations.
  • Sept 2011 – Robert Runcie is hired superintendent.


When Runcie arrived, he immediately proposed cutting the number of School Board meetings. Repeated Grand Jury have criticized the Broward school system staff and superintendent for having too much power.

In Aug., 2012, thousands of students and their parents were left waiting for school buses when the transportation system had a meltdown. Chester Tindall, who Runcie was brought from Chicago to run the system, wasn’t forced out until Jan 2013.

Runcie has had little experience in Broward with construction of the size that the bond referendum envisions — $800 million over several years, plus more than $100 million more from the state. His track record on construction he did supervise is spotty, according to critics.

It took Runcie three years to approve and get built a new scoreboard for Blanche Ely High School despite the parents raising $55,000 for it. It was finally lit up during this football season – three years late.

There was money from the state to fix Stranahan and Northeast High Schools, but it was left unspent pending the bond referendum.   Runcie’s opponents say he deliberately delayed the repairs – including leaking roofs – to build more support for the bonds.

School grades for Broward did not outshine, but merely mirrored the rest of the state. More Broward schools now have A grades, but more have F’s.

Meanwhile after he was in Broward for less than two years with one year left to run on his contract, the School Board members gave Runcie a five year extension to Oct 2019. One of the five achievements that was cited in giving him an extension: The school district website was improved.

Has anything changed?

You can decide.



35 Responses to “Broward Schools: A Sad History of Mismanagement, Misspending And Corruption”

  1. Aletheia says:

    No mention of Stephanie Kraft…another filthy stain on the Broward County School Board! Is that because she hasn’t been convicted yet? Hopefully her trial (along with her sleazy husband) will be set before we all pass away!

  2. Alice McGill says:

    That is a fantastic list of the events that have occurred in the Broward School’s construction program. The one positive step Runcie took in December 2012 was to force Tom Lindner, head of school construction, to resign. Lindner had moved into offices on NW 10th Avenue, hired people that never talked to anyone else in the building,and drove a fleet of brand new pickup trucks to and from work with school board gas.
    Lindner got in trouble by spending a million dollars on a project without a valid contract.
    Glad he is gone, but the problems remain if there is no accountability for the spending of the bond dollars.

  3. Where in the world is says:

    the Sentinel?

  4. Former School Board Insider says:

    As a former School Board insider, I can tell you that not only is that list accurate, there are lots more that can be added.

    The Superintendent has changed since some of those prior incidents, the board members have turned over, but most of the staff is still the same, and more importantly, the culture has not changed one iota.

    “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

    My friends don’t understand why I am not supporting this bond. I tell them, unless you know how the district really operates, you wouldn’t trust them, either.

  5. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    True Alice, but Runcie allowed the people who were complicit with Lindner to stay employed. He fired the lowest on the rung, and then hired an entourage to “run” Facilities for millions.

    First, URS, which has a troubled national record as pointed out by Bill Gjebre in Broward Bulldog was the choice of the complicit. Runcie didn’t do anything to stop the outrageous QSEC selection process that Nathalie Lynch-Walsh objected to and made said objections public to Runcie and the Board.

    Then he hired McGladrey to oversee it all for more money.

    Then he brought in someone from Chicago to run Facilities.

    That’s the entourage I refer to.

    Does that sound vaguely familiar to someone on the national scene re: disorganization and bloat?

  6. carolina says:

    The last paragraph of Buddy’s article explains why we have such distrust of “most” of the board members & hopefully the bond request will “bite the dust”.

  7. Mia says:

    Shame on them all! Hopefully the Krafts will go on trial before I retire.

  8. Janus says:

    Was Stephanie Krafts trial date rescheduled until after the vote on the Bond?
    When Mr. Runcie gets into a jam he creates a Vocational Center, South Area Bus Lot and Sunset Learning Center.
    A fear mongering campaign.

  9. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The opponents of the bond are arguing that defeating the bond will result in change. It seems to me that there is no such connection.

    “1995 – Penny hike in the sales tax for school construction defeated” – the opponents say – yet still the argument from these very same opponents is that nothing has changed – a contradiction!

    I don’t see any plausible argument that “this time is different” – no explanation of why what didn’t work in 1995 is magically supposed to work now.

    Denying funds assuredly causes a continuation of the problems with “[non-]working air conditioning, leaking roofs and outdated technology”, and “Failing to renovate, rehabilitate, repair and secure our schools is bad economics and bad social policy”.

    If a plant is dying for lack of water and your only bucket has holes in it, you don’t let the plant die and expect that to fix the holes in the bucket. That makes no sense. Increasing the amount of water delivered to the dying plant will result in more leakage from the bucket, but that’s what has to be done. It’s not the plant’s fault that you haven’t been able to seal off the holes in the bucket!

    The solution is not to penalize children. Our schools and our children clearly need the money. If there are management problems, the way to fix that is to change the management by electing different people to the School Board.

    Looking at recent election results, though, Broward voters just got through re-electing Ann “Nigger Heaven” Murray (51-49) and Abby “Bus Threat” Freedman (52-48).

    We have met the enemy …and he is US!

  10. Alice McGill says:

    @Charlotte Greenbarg

    Glad you have given more information. There is so much that people need to know.

  11. Panda Bear says:

    Education and politics don’t mix. Never did, never will. When politics and lobbyists get admixed with education, things are bound to go wrong. Guaranteed. In an institution where favors are owed, monies are paid, cronyism, greed, favoritism, revenge, vindictiveness, nepotism and prejudice all somehow work together, the results are disastrous. And notice I never mentioned children, teaching, or learning! It’s other factors that come in first and the students are at the very end of the list…if they show up there all, that is, because they’re simply the cover-up for what’s really going on. When will we, as a people, come to see this? When?

  12. Charlotte Greeenbarg says:

    Thanks Alice. You’re right; there are years of mismanagement that haven’t ended.

    HaHaHa’s circular reasoning is exactly why the tax increase needs to be defeated. Yes there are needs, yes the board and the district are still dysfunctional and bloated, yes the incumbents were re-elected. And these are reasons why HaHaHa urges a yes vote?

    Voting yes will simply mean a continuation of all the wrong things. The solution is a no vote which will give leverage for state oversight and an IG.

  13. Ha Ha Ha says:

    This problem is self-inflicted. Voters keep making bad choices in School Board elections, and then they get exactly what they voted for!

    Charlotte, why didn’t state oversight and an IG happen after the sales tax was defeated in 1995? Why exactly would you expect the process of repeating that experience to produce a different result?

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Albert Einstein, (attributed)
    US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955)

  14. Hey Charlotte says:

    Charlotte – You openly supported Ann Murray for reelection and even gave her a campaign donation. Now you criticize that she was reelected? You are a hypocrite to the end.

  15. Juliet Hibbs says:

    Panda Bear. I do see, many see the truth and are in fear. These people hold every bit of security and are never accountable to the crimes against crildren. And so many cover ups…most people think it is crazy. But then all the news, here, other blogs and people all discussing it. I hope we can see safe and secure schools for everyone!

  16. Don't Lose Sight says:

    This article, like so many others, isn’t about Charlotte’s, Mike Ryan’s, Dan Lewis’, John Wayne’s or even Buddy’s opinion. It is about whether or not Broward residents are ready to trust its School Board to utilize $800M taxpayer dollars in an accountable, efficient, equitable, transparent and cost effective manner. All held to a standard that can be duly audited, monitored and dissected by an oversight committee free from political bias. Read the ‘plan”, specifically the “details”. I have. Make up your own mind. As for me and my family the answer is NO.

  17. Charlotte Greeenbarg says:

    I gave Ann Murray a donation very early in the game, and advised her to apologize for what she said, which was outrageous. She did so.

    She was re-elected because her opponent didn’t campaign well outside her comfort zone, along with a blinding conflict of interest.

    The state didn’t institute an oversight committee or IG because local pols prevailed upon the Senate Pres. not to. Our fight is not only with the board, but with the political hacks that support the present system.

    Broward is run by lobbyists who profit at the expense of the taxpayers. They make sure the compliant are elected.

    You do remember that than-Senator Nan Rich kept the state from overseeing the district don’t you?

    Personal insults are always the last refuge of the ignorant.

  18. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    I thought I posed a reply to HaHaHa and Hey Charlotte.

    Ann Murray’s comment was outrageous and she apologized for it. Her opponent had a blinding conflict of interest which may have been the reason. I didn’t see her at the usual community meetings on a regular basis, which may also have been a factor.

    What’s insane is giving the corrupt, inept district money every time and expecting different results. Why didn’t the state put in an oversight committee? Maybe because local pols who are elected by the same lobbyists the board is prevailed upon Senate Pres. Gaetz not to.

    Do you remember the reports that Nan Rich did this while she was still a state Senator?

    If the people who are so in favor of more money for the district would put that energy into contacting the Legislature’s leadership and asking for an IG and oversight, we’d see some changes.

    Until that happens, nothing will change.

  19. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I have NEVER given my e-mail out to anyone but City Commissioners once a year ago AND THEN CHANGED IT TO A SPECIFIC ACCOUNT SO THAT NO POLITICIANS or LOBBYISTS WOULD CONTACT ME. GUESS WHAT? ALAN “THE LOBBYIST” LEVY JUST E-MAILED ME!!!! So tell me, how does a so-called independent committee of LOBBYISTS get my private e-mail address only shared with Broward Beat, the City of Ft. Lauderdale, and journalists at the SUN SENTINEL?

    Since Broward Beat does NOT share e-mail addresses, or journalists a the Sun Sentinel, that LEAVES OUR FT LAUDERDALE CITY HALL as the home of the whorish mole! And I am to trust government?

    WAIT, I attended one meeting as an observer at the Tower Forum and filled out a card and put my e-mail address on it. Would they “sell” or “share” their attendees PERSONAL INFORMATION with the lobbyist crowd around Alan Levy?

    Really a great place Ft. Lauderdale has become! Lobbyists like cockroaches all over!

  20. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @19 – just about any email you send to state or local government instantly becomes a public record. That means the email address you used to send the message also instantly becomes part of the public record.

    @17 & @18 – Charlotte, you’re making progress. You identified not only School Board members but also state legislators and lobbyists as being the essence of the problem. But you still don’t grasp that the exact funding level of the school system is fundamentally unrelated to the process of solving the problem. There’s no plausible scenario under which the amount of money the School Board has to spend doesn’t amount to a really big number. Why do you cling to the belief that the decision of a legislator or the decision of a school board member turns on the question of whether a digit in this really big number is a 7 or a 5 or something else? It’s a false belief!!

    You point to the influence of lobbyists on state legislators and school board members as being the fundamental reason why there is no oversight committee. Do you seriously believe that the exact digits in this really big number are so important that hitting upon the correct digit will cause lobbyists to suddenly act in the public interest?!?

  21. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Are the Alan Levy Lobbyist crowd totally unethical as they push their School Board Bond Issue? I called the advertising firm (an international one with a decent reputation) here in Ft. Lauderdale THEY WERE SHOCKED! ALTHOUGH THE E-MAIL ADDRESS APPEARS TO BE THEIRS, IT IS NOT! IT HAS THEIR MOTTO or SLOGAN, BUT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM!

    Is the Alan Levy Gang totally without ethics? Are they really using a faux advertising firm that is misusing a respectable one’s name for their pro Bond e-mailings to people who NEVER WANT TO TALK TO OR DEAL WITH LOBBYISTS!!!!!


  22. Becky Blackwood says:

    I was hired by Frank Petruzielo in 1996 as a project manager after the first Grand Jury report. I had worked at Miami Dade County Public Schools as a project manager and left there because of the corruption. Six months after I left Miami Dade County schools, an Inspector General was appointed to their construction program. Prior to being approved by the Broward School Board, all new employees met with the Superintendent. When he called my name Petruzielo stated to me, “We are much better than Miami Dade” for which I replied, “We’ll have to wait and see”. Miami Dade, which is a much larger school district, had more than 50 project managers. Broward had 13 to run the 1985 bond program at the time. All of the Facilities project managers and design staff were fired after that Grand Jury report and had to be interviewed if they wanted to get their jobs back. Most of them had been working for Broward schools for more than 15 years.
    Of the 13 project managers, 3 were not rehired. All 3 of the new project managers were from Miami Dade, Tom Cooney who is now a staff attorney (architect, building construction experience and degrees – later law school), an individual who supervised the relocating of portables and myself. Jack Cooper, one of the original project managers was promoted to Senior Supervisor of project managers. Jack’s background before coming to the School District was 5 years in residential construction. He was previously the project manager at Cooper City High School and Country Isles in Weston. The grand jury recommended setting up two departments separate from Facilities – construction managers and inspections and code compliance. Prior to these changes, the inspector and the construction manager were one and the same which created situations where the results were only as good as the experience of the individual. At that time, we had a board members daughter as an inspector and two individuals who had worked for an architect who had a $13 million dollar lawsuit against him by the School Board for deficiencies in 10 prototypic schools. The two individuals were field representatives for this architect and had become construction managers/field inspectors for the District. The School Board won the lawsuit against this architect but only settled for $750,000 because the architect used the same Liability Policy over and over again for each of the ten schools instead of buying one for each as required by his contract. This was brought to the attention of the Associate Superintendent when it originally occurred by never corrected.

    While working as a project manager,I discovered there was no centralized documentation of each school site of their deficiencies. It was necessary to go to each department and request the information which I found archaic. The information was controlled by each Department Head. I also found the Project Specifications only required a 3 year warranty for all roofs – 1 by the State of Florida. After the end of 3 years, District Maintenance roofing assumed the care of the roofs. Most roofing contractors roofs could survive 3 years without care but the roofing department did not hire certified roofers or provide their roofers with any continuing education to do the repairs.

    In 1999, efforts were made by Patrick Renfro who was the Facilities Director to set up a separate roofing department to address roofing problems quickly and preventing continuous damage to the building, furniture and fixtures and decrease instances of mold and mildew. An inspector who is a graduate Architect and holding approximately 13 licenses with major experience in roofing was hired. Renfro was fired by Petruzielo and the roofing department never became a reality.

    I was subpoenaed by Assistant State Attorney John Countryman three times within the year after I was hired. Countryman stated he did not understand anything about construction so he could not determine what was true or not (the grand jury did). He asked me to recommend an expert witness. I recommended college professors in Construction Management because they would not have a conflict of interest. He never hired anyone.

    In 2001, I advised the following State offices of administrative pressure to open schools that had outstanding fire safety violations which by code, prevented occupancy of the buildings: Commissioner of Education, Inspector General’s Office, the Attorney General’s office, the Construction Industry and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The only response was my letter was returned to Superintendent Till who with smoking mirrors and spin responded with inaccurate information.

    I was told by inspectors from the State of Florida OPPEGA department that there would be no investigation of Broward Schools because it would look bad politically to have 2 South Florida School Districts under the watch of an Inspector General.

    In 2001, I and two other inspectors filed a lawsuit against the School Board for whistle-blowing regarding construction mismanagement, harassment and discrimination.

    It took 3 years for this case to come to trial. The School Board offered to settle – $600,000 for me, $400,000 for each of the other two inspectors and $200,000 for the attorney. The two inspectors and I refused to take the public’s money. We wanted to the School Board to enforce building codes. In November 2004, my case (separate from the other two) went to trial. The judge ruled there was mismanagement, harassment and discrimination but the jury decided there was no failure to promote me so the case was lost. Dr. Till, Superintendent at the time stated he really liked me and my problem was I was not liked by the principals and staff because I was uncooperative (I refused to open unsafe schools). Reprimands were submitted into evidence from the School Board that I never saw or signed. Till had threatened to fire me when I demanded teachers and children be removed from South Broward High School when there was no functioning fire alarms, fire sprinklers and incomplete construction. Till had decided he was going to open up South Broward the following week, incomplete and without life safety systems complete, without my inspection staff’s sign off. He had appointed my Director to sign off. This person applied for a Building Official license with the Associate Superintendent Tom Calhoun certifying he had supervised inspectors for 5 years (the director was only promoted 6 months previously and had never supervised inspectors). This person is still an employee of the District.
    In my trial, the jury foreman’s parents were best friends with School Board member Bob Parks. I argued with my attorney who approved him as an alternate. I did apply to several positions with the School Board and at the time of the trial was either 1 or 2 in the final selections but was never given the position. The positions were Facilities Director,Associate Superintendent, and Building Official.

    With two months after the failed trial, I was removed from my office with a SUV officer, gun in tow and told I had 30 minutes to leave and was escorted to the Book Depository to load, unload and sort school books.

    That is where I found out Dr. Till had moved to terminate me with the assistance of my department secretaries and several inspectors (one who is the same inspector from the $750,000 settlement from 10 prototype schools and now the building official). These inspectors cited I made them ill when I supervised them but all of them, in deposition, cited HIPPA laws as to why they could not disclose those illnesses.

    When I was removed from my office, I went to see Jeff Donnelly at the State Attorney’s office with a union official. Jeff informed me he did not have time to investigate the School Board corruption because he was busy with investigating and arresting Ken Jenne for his “theft” of $100,000. The State Attorney, from 1996 to 2010, kept a hands off attitude toward all of these investigations. The FBI were the ones who investigated and brought charges against Bev Gallagher and Stephanie Kraft.

    Facilities Department was not the only department that needed to be investigated. The Building Department beginning in 2000 had its issues, a director with a Building Official’s license using false information; another who did not have the correct license to hold the position even though Ed Marko, School Board attorney, ruled he did; another Building Official who was indicted by the Grand Jury in Miami but charges were dropped only because he corrected a permit he issued which did not meet minimum code and no one died or was injured. He wasn’t familiar with the Florida Building Code because he had relocated from Ohio. Next, an in-house supervisor, who did not meet the job description requirements (had a 2 year technical degree when a bachelors degree in architecture, engineering or construction was required). The Board looked the other way and gave him 3 years to get a degree- he never registered for a class. He was given a $20,000 raise and a car. He lied on his application for a Building Official saying he wanted a provisional building code administrator’s license (the minimum license allowed is areas with small populations) because he worked in a community of less than 75,000. He also was supposed to supervised by a Certified Building Official which did not happen. He was censured by the Department of Business and Professional Regulations and fined before being removed from his position. He issued 350 Temporary Certificates of Occupancy with less than 10 Certificates of Occupancy during his term of 5 years. Next, the new building official was one of the inspectors who lied in deposition on my case, who had been a painting contractor for around 20 years, worked as a field representative for an architect with $13 million dollar lawsuit with the School Board, had a Bachelors Degree of Art and while working in the Building Department attended college during work hours (with my approval) to earn his Masters degree in Building Construction. He stated on his Building Code Administrator’s license application he supervised inspectors for 5 years which he didn’t. He never supervised inspectors when he applied for his Building Code Administrator’s license. This is the person who is presently the Building Official.

    In 2005, the BTU/TSP union hired an attorney to represent me. When I discovered that firm was the same firm that represented the School Board in Tallahassee and complained about a conflict of interest, I was ignored by the Union and the attorney. The School Board’s attorney, Eugene Pettis, the past Florida Bar President, was not successful because the Administrative Judge found I had done nothing wrong in the complaints filed against me in the termination by Dr. Till and later Superintendent Jim Notter. My attorney allowed other false allegations that supposedly occurred during my earlier employment to be included in the testimony and stated it was not necessary to disprove these even though I had documentation from the previous lawsuit to defend their false allegations. These false allegations were mentioned in the Judge’s final ruling but could not be used as evidence because they were not within the required time frame for the lawsuit. So these are still on the record. Needless to say, I was furious with my Union attorney. Eugene Pettis, the School Board’s attorney, filed for two appeals against the Administrative Judge’s ruling stating I had numerous poor evaluations and reprimands (none of which was true). To make certain documents were not added to my file when the termination procedures began, two representatives from the Union and I copied all of the documents in my personnel file. For the wonderful moments of legal practice, my attorney received $149,000 and Mr. Pettis received $150,000. It was very disconcerting during my video deposition with Mr. Pettis when he asked me if I lied and I stated I tried to always tell the truth and he responded, “I lie all of the time”. God Bless Our Legal System.

    The School Board still has problems with the clause they allowed in the Union contract which states the employees with the longer years of employment would be transferred to other departments in which they were “qualified”. Approximately 8 of them were transferred to be inspectors in the Building Department, replacing the inspectors who cited code violations against their projects but which the previous project managers ignored. Another project manager became the head of the District Maintenance department who does know that life cycle costs should be included in determining costs of completing maintenance activities using large equipment. What about the existing project managers and directors who made errors in excess of $500,000 but everyone seems to look the other way?

    There is so much more. Yes, I watched the Needs Assessment and found it to follow standard procedures. But I, too, am concerned about the qualifications of the individuals who will be responsible and the NO ACCOUNTABILITY policy of the School Board which rests on the failure of supervisors to do proper evaluations. I, again, know we need to have our schools fixed, and the ones that are the neediest need to be fixed first. I am again campaigning for a separate roofing department with a “qualified” director and “qualified” employees just like our school district neighbors to the north and south.

    Our Human Resources department needs a separate individual who can separate poor candidates from qualified construction and inspector candidates. We can’t believe everything written on someone’s resume but need to follow up on their actual performance before hiring them.

    Sorry, Buddy, about the length of this comment but this is just a small dot in the overall number of the 60,000 documents accumulated during my time at the District until 2010. There is so much more – Mold and Mildew for one.

  23. Becky Blackwood says:

    Trying to forget the day I was removed, should have said SIU not SUV –

  24. Old McDonald says:

    Alan J. Levy is President and CEO of Great American Farms, an not a lobbyist.

  25. Yesterday's SB Workshop says:

    There is no better reason to vote no, just watch the school board workshop from yesterday. At about 3:30 in the the video the building dept is questioned by board members about all the errors in the needs assessment, where and how the money will be spent. The school board staff still does not know how to get its facts correct, the math was wrong! And we are expected to give them 8oo million? By the way, there is mandatory meeting at the Rock Island Training site for all school support personal on Friday for an hour to hear about the benefits of voting yes on the bond. I will be paid for attending this infomercial. Thank you taxpayer, I voted early and voted NO!

  26. Panda Bear says:

    Each school will get “approximately $100K” for new roofs, doors, windows, kilns, cameras, computers, musical instruments, and so on…whatever they need. It will take 25 years to pay off the bond. By then, everything will have been redone or purchased again due to age, use, abuse and obsoleteness a good 8 times. Where will they get the money to “pay off” the in-the-interim work/purchases needed in the schools after the $800M have disappeared and within the next 25 years!? It’s insane. I’ve already voted NO. Won’t you join me?

  27. Becky Blackwood says:

    It does not surprise me there are errors in the Needs Assessment considering in the information that wss passed out in the previous School Board meetings at the beginning, it was stated this process in other school districts took approximately 2 years. We haven’t even completed the first year yet. The Needs Assessments for each school will be reviewed by the assigned architectural firm contracted to visit each school site and verify the Needs Assessment items are correct. If these items do not need correcting, the funds will be returned to a centralized fund that will use that money for the next highest priority school project.

  28. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    And HaHaHa needs to read the many, many audits that the Office of the Chief Auditor produced that pointed out exactly what was going on.

    And the OCA does get the digits right, and they do mean something. But then you obviously haven’t read any of the reports, so just keep blogging without bothering to learn. It’s much more convenient to make accusations and attack than to take the time to see the truth, which is obviously inconvenient.

    The Grand Jury didn’t see it your way either, and they did see the OCA reports, along with a lot of evidence. That’s inconvenient too.

    Yesterday’s SB Workship, Trevor Colestock, a media specialist who lives in Broward, filed a complaint about spending tax dollars to sell the bond. I hope you’ll tell Buddy who you are so he can let Trevor know about your experience. We really need to nail them on this.

  29. Mrs. Robinson says:

    Where have you gone Buddy Nevins we turn our lonely eyes to you…


    Thanks for your kind words from one of the greatest movies of all times. I was on vacation.

  30. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @ Becky Blackwood – When you write a long article, it’s full of meaty substance and well worth reading!! Nobody needs an author tag in order to tell the difference between a long Becky Blackwood article and a long article from Angelo Castillo. Becky, thanks for your public service and for adding your many insights to this discussion!

    @ Charlotte Greenbarg – you continue to make invalid assumptions. I’m not disagreeing with the work done by either the Audit Committee or the Grand Jury.

    What I have repeatedly pointed out to you, and what you still fail to understand, is that your conclusion (that defeating the bond will cause significant change) does not follow from those premises.

    You essentially advocate cutting off the nose in order to spite the face, which is both seriously counterproductive and strongly indicative of delusional thinking.

    Lobbyists will prosper and act against the public interest whether the bond passes or not. Legislators and School Board members will fail to implement meaningful reforms whether the bond passes or not.

    The real obstacle to effective change in response to the good work done by the Audit Committee, the Grand Juries, etc., is the fact that voters cannot effectively connect these reports to the many bad choices they are making in legislative and School Board elections. And by making those bad choices, they clearly indicate that meaningful reform isn’t something they really care about. Such reform will only happen after voters stop electing criminals, scumbags and airheads to these very important positions.

  31. TYPO ALERT says:

    Dear ha ha Ha
    Per your comments above, why would you as a voter, want to give an additional 800 million to those you describe as less than savory individuals? Isn’t that like giving more crack to a junkie in the hope that they will “Hit Bottom” , find the lord and clean themselves up? Maybe voting NO is a form of tough love that will send a message and force a change in the way business is conducted and even if the bond is passed, my NO vote is my peaceful protest stating that my money shouldn’t be used by a system that I have no faith in.

  32. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The $800M is not for “less than savory individuals”. Those individuals are there and will stay there whether the bond passes or not. They are irrelevant.

    The $800M is for roofs that don’t leak, air conditioning that actually works, technology that’s actually less that 10 years old, etc. – much-needed improvements that will or will not actually benefit the children of Broward County, depending on whether or not the bond passes.

    Making children go to inferior schools just because you don’t like some adults downtown is just irrational. School children have exactly nothing to do with this dispute and they should not become its collateral damage.

  33. Becky Blackwood says:

    To Ha!Ha!
    Trust me the roofs do leak. District Maintenance roofing does repairs without any inspections and without hiring or requiring their staff to become certified roofers or training them how to properly repair roofs. Promotions in District Maintenance is from within – more than likely the supervisors are not trained in the areas they supervise, nor licensed, nor do they have any background in business management that could lower their operating costs. Broward Schools is the largest employer in this county, the sixth largest school district in the United States, yet their business practices are those of a Mom and Pop store – the community should demand better. Yet, the salaries are equal to those of highly qualified trained and experienced individuals who could initiate cost saving measures and performance standards. In 2002, with the advent of the Florida Building Code incorporating educational facilities under their enforcement, attempts have been made to require all required building code inspections be enforced in District Maintenance. That has still not happened = 12 years of non compliance inconsistency. Don’t forget the end result with nonfunctioning HVACs, absence of HVAC controls, leaking roofs is MOLD AND MILDEW and the EPA TOOLS FOR SCHOOLS PROGRAM APPROVED AND ACCEPTED BY THE SCHOOL BOARD IN 2004 TO PROVIDE PROCEDURES TO PREVENT MOLD AND MILDEW WERE DROPPED SEVERAL YEARS AGO. In all fairness to Runcie, where do you start when there have been so many bad and illegal practices for so many years. As to the transportation debacle, Runcie did correct that after the first year of failure. The debacle was in place when Runcie came on board and until the fall opening of school, it did not stand out like a sore thumb. Talk about the Transportation Department’s success the second year of school opening. I want to see that same effort given to the other departments at the School District – why not?
    I have been serving on the Facilities Task Force and have been pushing for a separate roofing department to provide immediate roofing repair, replacement or renovation to decrease the damages to the furniture, fixtures and equipment as well as the building which occurs when the roof has to wait for the school buildings renovations, renovations or repairs. Plus our neighbor school districts are now requiring bidding the maintenance contract with the competitive bid for the roofing project – it would improve the quality of the roof installation and pass on the repairs to the companies (roofing contractor and the roofing manufacturing company)who were responsible for the roof project. It would also eliminate poorly qualified District Maintenance roofing personnel or require them to become certified and trained.

  34. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    HaHaHa, if the money were indeed going to do what you describe, of course it would be appropriate to pass it.

    But it’s not going to be put to the uses needed. Because you’ve got the same people who’ve been incompetent and corrupt still there. Same culture.

    I don’t know how else to say it. Nothing’s changed and won’t until the state and an IG take over.

  35. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Well, Mr. Nevins and Miss Greenbarg, you convinced me about the School Board and to oppose the Bond Issue, but 70% of the voters supported it! Either no one reads the blog or there is something wrong with people’s brains!


    I have told anyone to vote against the bond. I explained that the Superintendent Robert Runcie and the School Board were running a campaign based on lies. I explained that the School Board and Runcie have terrible records in safeguarding the public money. I explained the School Board and Runcie were not interested in having real, independent oversight of the bonds. I was doing this because the mainstream media has long since abandoned most of its day-to-day watchdog functions.

    That said, I also wrote that the school system had a real need for more money. Not surprisingly and largely because of a grass roots effort from the BUILD organization and the PTA, the public choose to support the children’s need.

    I also wrote this: As a journalist, I can’t help but be happy. Kids will get some improvements in schools and I will get good stories, because I know that Runcie and his crew will misspend parts of the peoples bond money.