Donating Blood Helps Broward Students Graduate


Corruption run deep at the School Board, right into the service hours that seniors must earn to graduate.

Why are students allowed to fulfill the service hours required for graduation by donating blood?

Hmmmmm. Let me guess.

Perhaps because disgraced former School Board member Beverly Gallagher earned $50,000-a-year working for Community Blood Centers.

It was a job that lobbyist Neil Sterling helped her get. Sterling is the group’s lobbyist and the major lobbyist at the School Board.

High school students must complete at least 40 hours of community involvement called service hours to graduate from a Broward public school. The school system has a list of 28 guidelines describing the requirements.

Number 28 is: A student may receive service hours credit for the time donating blood at an off-campus facility or after school. Donation of blood during the student’s school day does not qualify for service learning. However, a student who donates blood at a church/synagogue blood drive is eligible for service learning credit.

Miami Dade School’s explanation of student service hours does not mention blood donations. Miami Dade does not guide students into donating blood.

I listened to the tape of the workshop meeting in 2007 where the service hours were discussed.

(Memo to the School Board Commission on Education Excellence through Integrity, Public Ethics and Transparency:

The minutes are not available on the website. The minutes can be purchased at the Superintendent’s Office in downtown Fort Lauderdale, but they are almost worthless. They are so sketchy that there is no way to tell how decisions were reached.

The recordings of the meetings can only be listened to if you travel to downtown Fort Lauderdale, pay $6 per tape and take them home.  The tape is a cassette, an outdated format.

They really don’t make it easy to find out what they are doing!)

On the tape, only two members discussed allowing students to donate blood Stephanie Kraft and a female voice that is muffled, but I believe is Bev Gallagher.

Kraft led the discussion. She is under investigation because her husband, Mitch Kraft, worked for blood bank/development lobbyist Sterling at the same time Stephanie Kraft was voting for his clients.

Kraft wanted to clarify the policy on blood donations.  Including blood donations on the list was originally suggested by the staff…at least that is the School Board’s story. 

There was no indication on the tape nor in the backup documents why the staff decided to include blood donations, but I can guess.

 Kraft? Gallagher?

The other Board member speaking  Gallagher? wanted students to get credit for rounding up other blood donors.

Much of the rest of the meeting was spent discussing whether to allow service hours for students volunteering on political campaigns. They allowed it, but some worried that students would work for campaigns that were not in keeping with the School System’s “values.

Members wisely exempted their own campaigns.

The Miami Dade guidelines also don’t mention political campaigns.

Besides specifically suggesting students donate blood to get credit, this exercise by the School Board demonstrated another problem. They micromanage.

Members should back off. They don’t need to suggest that students donate blood or work on political campaigns. They need to allow students to demonstrate creativity by making their own decisions about where to volunteer. Making decisions is a lesson in itself.

But micromanaging the unimportant stuff is one of the few things the School Board does well. And while the Board wastes hours discussing students’ volunteer work,  millions are misspent on construction, purchasing and other pet projects for their lobbyist friends.

5 Responses to “Donating Blood Helps Broward Students Graduate”

  1. Git R Done says:

    In some cases this is just sad. Some students cannot donate blood because of their condition, disability or something else.
    What about kids who are Diabetics? This is so stupid to do to our students and then they get special credit, how dumb is that? WOW…Besides, this is all about money as everything is, down at the ole’ SBBC building. YIKES…

  2. Educator says:

    The service hours arrangement makes sense.
    If only 1,000 high school students donate blood, this could mean $50,000 to the blood bank at $50-a-bottle. That would pay Gallagher’s salary for a year.
    I have no doubt that Gallagher told the staff to do this because she had no qualms about telling the staff to vote for a construction company that was bribing her.

  3. Why says:

    Your experience with the minutes and tapes of the meeting are not unusual. The Board has always wanted as little scrutiny as possible. Phyliss Hope said they had too much attention from the public and press and that’s the way all of them feel. They just are smarter than her and won’t say it.

  4. Floridan says:

    Allowing students to donate blood as partial fulfillment of their community service hours requirement should be judged on its own merits. Comm. Kraft may or may not have directly benefited from this, but that’s another issue.

    I think a good case can be made that donating blood is beneficial to both the student and the community at large, and is therefore at least as worthwhile as many projects students participate in for community service hours.

  5. A Good Start says:

    The loss of Kraft and Gallagher from the School Board is a good start toward getting that organization on a better footing. What we need now is some fresh, bright, talent to replace them who want to make a difference for the kids. Leaders who are less interested in drywall contracts and who gets them than in making the public school bureaucracy work for kids and operate honorably.