Fort Laud Commission Cool To School Bonds




If Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners reflect public opinion, the School Board’s $800 million bond issue has problems.

Commissioners refused on Tuesday to schedule a workshop on supporting the bond issue. Or even discussing it.

They expressed fear that the bond referendum would jeopardize another planned vote on a future tax increase — a one cent hike in the sales tax for mass transit. Commissioners also appeared distrustful that the enough of the bond money would be spent on Fort Lauderdale schools.

Commissioner Bobby DuBose asked for the workshop with the school staff to discuss the bond issue.

DuBose said, “Our kids are in dire need. They deserve better.”

But Mayor Jack Seiler expressed doubt that the bond issue would pass because of the “problems” involving past School Boards. “Problems” was  an obvious code word for the two Grand Jury reports which cited widespread misspending, cronyism and mismanagement at the school system.

“It a very difficult bond issue on this ballot…I don’t know if enough time has passed…” Seiler said. “I am concerned they rushed this thing.”

Others at the conference meeting of the commission were concerned the bond referendum endangered a long time goal of Fort Lauderdale to get a one cent sales tax increase for mass transit, which would also require a referendum.

Despite DuBose’s belief that Stranahan and Northeast High Schools serving Fort Lauderdale will get money, commissioners refused to hold a workshop on the bonds until the School Board had a list “in writing” of projects they pledged to fund.


It was this comment from a reader that triggered this post:

at todays city of fort lauderale commission conference dubose brought up the $800,000,000.00 bond and was looking for support from the others to get this passed by voters
plenty of reluctance and downer comments from them
he pushed again a bit talking about school kids in city schools where rain water comes in the buildings and kids get wet and the bond would only add $50. to every property tax bill
lots of sob stories and then in a stretch he mentioned kids from west broward communities are being bussed in to schools on the east because of the programs – academics I suppose – in an effort to elict more sympathy and support
lucky that none of the four have any kids in schools in broward so no skin in the game unless its political skin
dubose finally let it go because hes hoping he’ll go to tallahassee after the vote on the same day in november the scholl bond is DOA thanks to savvy informed and participating voters

until the broward schools learn to be fiscally responsible, stop settling with lawsuits and contractors and vendors and all getting the big payout and tax payers always loosing, then any and all request for bonds will be DOA

28 Responses to “Fort Laud Commission Cool To School Bonds”

  1. they need the bond says:

    I posted a comment yesterday on the
    Tax Money, Employees Will Be Used To Sell Bonds
    after watching the conf. Nice to see that it got this thread started.

    my comment didn’t survive?

    I quoted almost verbatim from the meeting. If my comment herein is posted, suggest all those that aren’t sure of how they stand on the bond, watch the video on the city website.

    Selective first amendment


    Your comment, which first advised me about the commission action, is now located below the article. Thanks for helping inform readers.

  2. Janie says:

    Seiler sends his kids to private Catholic Schools so why should he care about public school kids or gays who want to marry?
    East Broward schools are in trouble and need help.

  3. vangork says:

    when do we start talking about runcie’s dismissal?

  4. bondsaway says:

    With all of the same sex marriage the city is pushing for, perhaps we will not need as many schools in the future……

  5. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    You think the School Bd. gets it. I mean 800 million that we will pay for, no way. So the students are learning on ten(10) yr. old computers-too bad. As far as Comm.Dubose expressing his desire to workshop this desire-forget about it. Comm.Dubose from what I hear in regards to Marriage Equality-word had it more than one “top dog” in Tallahasse had to persuade him to vote yes on the resolution(what Bobby you want the “votes” for State Rep. but you had second(2) thoughts about supporting them(gays). I mean come on. Many thanks to Comm.Bruce Roberts for his support. Ft.lau’s next” Mayor”…..

  6. Notocorruption says:

    The School Board has a tremendous number of fiscal problems and poor leadership. The leadership void is spreading.

    The electorate in Broward County has proven in the past that bond issues or tax increases are never guaranteed to pass. I doubt this bond issue will pass at all. Many School Board employees themselves do not support it despite efforts to the contrary.

    It is widely expected that if the bond issue does not pass, the Superintendent will leave and take his Chicago mob cronies with him elsewhere to destroy another district.

    For the remainder of the real and good, honest, hard-working folks that have managed to survive this tyranny of amateur leadership, it will be welcome news on all fronts.

  7. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    For years, the Broward County School Board has chosen not to share education tax dollars equally with all public school children even though the taxpayers are taxed equally for public education. They pay the same amount in support of public education so that the School Board can allocate that amount to some public school students more than others.

    And then we’re told that’s fair.

    No law requires this practice. No law prohibits them from providing fair and equal funding to every public school. It’s a choice that our School Board has made on their own. And they expect those who are unhappy with that choice to be silent about it.

    It’s a choice aimed only at public charter schools. A choice that punishes the children of parents who exercise their right to choose which public school is best for their own child. It is an abuse of power that places the School Board at odds with an increasing number of parents for doing what they think is best for the future of their own children.

    It is a charge that the School Board denies yet the evidence is in plain sight. It’s clear and it is unmistakable. Only public charter schools are funded less by them even though, by law, they are supposed to be part of what’s called “a uniform system of public education.”

    The burning feeling among parents is growing. Until this School Board funds all public schools on a respectful and equal basis, parents will refuse to pay even a penny more in tax. No matter the need, however reasonable the purpose.

    Discrimination has that effect on people. Inevitably it creates bad blood. It may find temporary refuge between the poorly written pages of law books, but it can never earn the permanent regard or respect of any fair minded person. We don’t need to read law books to tell us what’s wrong. Our mothers taught us that.

    Discriminatory actions pit people against one another instead of equality — which unites them in support of common goals. It is a sad thing to see take place. It is sadder still to see it perpetuate during the long decade that I have been forced to deal with this issue. I’ve seen School Members come and go, some retired, some were given new places to live.

    I’ve seen some new ones sworn for whom I had great hope. And watch them morph into other creatures before my very eyes. Few have had the strength of character to see beyond their choices. It’s been a sad thing to see.

    Yet even they know their choices are not ethical ones. They know we should share equally, just like families do, during times both good and bad. They know it is the honorable and respectful way to do business. They just refuse.

    For ten years in elected office I’ve watched our School Board lobby in Tallahassee, I’ve heard them argue that per student reimbursement rates are unfairly low. And I’ve watched them come and do to public charter schools in Broward what they complain Tallahassee does to them. Treat them unfairly. It is the height of hypocrisy.

    Thing is I happen to believe that public education needs more funding that reaches the classroom.

    I think Runcie has cleaned up the act over there and personally I’d trust him to spend any amount of money we gave him in a stand up way.

    As a citizen, as a taxpayer I am prepared to support that need in every way I can. Because I want our kids to be educated well.

    I’m even eager to do all these things including paying more in tax.

    I want to see our teachers paid better. I want improved school facilities. As a responsible adult, I feel it’s our job to make those things happen so that our children will benefit.

    But how can any School Board ask anybody to make those responsible choices when they themselves refuse to fund each of our kids equally?

    Forget that acting like that is discriminatory. Forget that it’s an abuse of power. It’s incredibly uncool. It’s mean and harsh, it sends out all the wrong messages.

    It divides instead of unite. It subtracts things that need to be added. It’s unfair and unworthy of respect. The excuses are thin and tired. Yet they sit there in their glass tower as if untouched by it all in denial that parents are actually watching them.

    Guess what? We’ve noticed. And that’s a lesson the School Board may need to learn the hard way.

    Stop the pettiness. Stop the excuses. Unite us. Be fair, show respect and we will support you with everything we’ve got.

    Do this not and we will teach you a thing or two.


  8. WellSaid says:

    Comm. Castillo……”Well Said”….keep the heat on BCSB…(you should run for the School Board and give up your Comm. seat as you would do much more good in that position than at PPines…..besides, Schwartz is in control now….)

    Now stop eating the “meatlovers” pizza behind the curtain wall at your Commission meetings. It is giving you heartburn and obvioulsy keeping you up at night.

  9. 'nuff said says:

    Please charge rent to Angelo Castillo
    He writes War and Piece in every comment

    the bond will not pass
    the well is poisoned
    nothing has changed in 20+years and nothing will change as long as the board members and the superintendent are cut from the same cloth as in the past

    Remember the AshBritt deal? Roofing with no licenses? Subbing out to work and taking 10/10 O&P for the brokering of work the prime had no license to do?
    if those at SBBC don’t taxpayers do

    ’nuff said

    Tens of millions of dollars.
    Change orders on EVERY project.
    Design errors on every project.

  10. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    So the Sup’t. has brought in a Chicago friend to head Facilities. And he also hired a firm he highly touted that has a bad national track record for Facilities on the “almost-outsourcing/reform” plan. And then he hired McGladrey, a CPA firm to watch them both. And then he hired a firm to do the needs assessment.

    So from an insider I receive an update. I quote:

    “Ok lets start with last months URS progress report to the board where they admitted that of 9 deliverables due on May 28th they only completed 1 and that 1 was not yet to be reviewed by anyone, but Shelly ask that the board extend their contact. When asked about why they have not started any projects they blamed Jacobs (Mikes project) that they did not provide them with the scope necessary to start the project (problem is the URS contact was approved before Jacobs and the contact have nothing to do with each other). The superintendent told them to provide the district additional paperwork within 7 days and they did not meet the deadline then they told him they were not provided the proper training to fill out the paperwork.

    Nothing has changed, but were trying to change it”

    So now they’re in blaming one another mode. You see, Angelo, it doesn’t matter what they say they’ll do because whatever they say is as water through a sieve.

    And now we have a new group BUILD (Broward United to Invest in Learning and Delivering…futures.)
    No it’s not an investment firm selling futures, it’s a mysteriously funded and membered group that’s advocating for the bond. Henry Rose is one of the leaders, and he is closely associated with charter schools, which want a good share of the money in the unlikely event it passes. So why isn’t BUILD….registered as a PAC and list who the members are and who funds it? Typical of a school district with the history of this one.

  11. Dementia Much? says:

    It is sad to see when “advocates” begin to have senior moments and lose track of their contributions and involvement in things. Or maybe it is selective memory? Who knows.
    URS was chosen through a process called QSEC – a process that was designed by the facilities task force. I was glad to hear that the district chose URS over two of the other firms who broke the cone of silence during the selection. That is a step in the right direction.

  12. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    QSEC was NOT designed by the Facilities Task Force. Hurling personal insults doesn’t make the garbage you’re trying to sell turn into roses.

    QSEC was created (refer to the Herald and Sun-Sentinel)the corrupt Board and Sup’t. I told anyone who would listen that the CRC was dissolved to bend to the will of the big 3. Some of the Board members’ designees were extorting the applicants. But the fix for that wasn’t to disband the group, but to remove the offenders.

    I have the archives and I bet Buddy remembers too. The Sun-Sentinel wrote at length when it happened.

    Advocates were very unhappy when QSEC was created by Bob Parks’ and Beverly Gallagher’s “leadership.”

    When the FBI sting got Ms. Gallagher, and the text messages Board members were sending to their QSEC designees was exposed, a lot of us were vindicated.

    URS was chosen by the Facilities staff. They went through the charade of going through QSEC, and the ensuing follies were just another example of their ineptitude.

    Revisionist history only works when there’s no record of what really happened. Too bad for you.

  13. How long? says:

    Beverly Gallagher has been out of prison for a few months. She served four years in an Illinois prison for taking a doggies bag full of money for her vote. Bob Parks hasn’t been in office on four years. Maureen Dinnen was never convicted or charged with anything although some think she may have helped her kids get a contract or something. Phyllis Hope is flipping burgers somewhere. Mike Garretson is dead and I think Tom Kuntz might be too. Tom Linder was fired. Marko and Notter are gone. David Golt is gone. . Charlotte Greenbarg is even gone.
    How long will the children of Broward County have to serve because of the disfunctional adults?
    How long will students have to go without because of the sins of the past? I don’t mean without wants. I mean without needs.
    How many pounds of flesh will it take?
    How can any human sit back while children sit in classrooms with water pouring in on them?

  14. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear How Long:

    They have come a long way but not far enough. They should voluntarily agree to the oversight of the IG which they arrogantly avoid but need. Submission to that level of scrutiny would instantly bolster their public trust, yet they refuse. This is arrogance.

    Second, they should work harder at serving rather than being served. They work for parents and children, not the other way around. Funding high performing charters equally is a good way to show respect for parent choice.

    There’s an entire series in the Sun Sentinel now about failing charters, most of them start ups. Indeed many of them have failed and we seem to relish putting a lash across their backs for it. But there’s never any mention that these schools are forced to function on a fraction of the money per student that the school board gives to itself.

    We want them to bubble up to a certain standard, but we don’t want to pay for it. And Sun Sentinel helps perpetuate that nonsense instead of writing the true story about how school board does all it can to derail parent choice so it can go back to working less. It’s the line they tow. Propaganda.

    The district wants charters to fail; only rubes and the uniformed believe otherwise. Most in our community sees it now. They consistently see the school board doing all they can to kill charter schools and parent choice. They just refuse to compete willingly to improve education. It is a blood oath. They refuse to accept the fact that they’re not a monopoly anymore. It’s a passive aggressive thing with them. Childish actually. Apparently, it must be beaten out of them.

    They remain evil in that ugly, imperious, intentional kind of way. It’s just all so human and ugly and intimate — and so plainly obvious. It’s impossible to to look at it fairly and disagree.

    They have not submitted to true change there. They have not learned the lesson of humility. They will not truly change until the soul of that organization changes.

    To answer your question, no. They have not done enough to regain the trust of the public. They did some, but still harbor ugly intentions and we parents see it.

    The mere fact that they are asking all residents to tax themselves more, but refuse to share what they hope to collect with ALL public schools EQUALLY tells you — removing all remaining doubt — that their ethics are not where they belong.

    Let me put this very plainly:

    They are asking. All parents. Who are the taxpayers. To all pay more in school tax. So that they can continue. To fund some kids more. Than others. On purpose. Simply because they say so. Based on which attend public district schools. And which go to public charter schools. Which everybody agrees should both be treated. Equally. Because they don’t like charter schools. And lack the integrity to just come out and say so.

    Don’t know how else to say it.

    You’d have to be a jerk to vote for that.

    You’d have to ignore every rule of decency to vote for that.

    Some are OK with it. They feel their kid doesn’t go to a charter school, so it’s OK if the school board discriminates against charters. Thing is tomorrow they may discriminate against your kid. And when that happens, it won’t be OK with me. Leadership means doing what’s right for all kids. It means sharing when times are good or bad, that’s what families do. That’s how they rise up together. That is how we keep families from splitting. School Board wants this split, they insist on it. They don’t want to be family with charters. It’s a moral dilemma in them that must be beaten out of existence.

    That school board must be taught that they needs to earn our votes not just guilt us into offering them. They have not earned it with their actions but I keep hoping they will.


  15. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    If it were only the sins of the past, How Long, there wouldn’t be any problem getting a bond issue passed. But the sins are still with us, unfortunately.

    The board and sup’t. just gave Ashbritt a huge pass on what they owe the district. It’s been documented right on this blog.

    They were also warned about URS’ track record nationally, something that’s available easily for anyone to read. They were given the link along with the information. What happened at QSEC? The usual from Facilities, so much so that the FTF rep raised quite a commotion about it and reported to FTF. But it was well-known that Facilities staff had chosen URS, and only because FTF demanded they go out for firms did they do so.

    Well, first of all, the “piggyback” from Orange county wasn’t exactly what Orange did. Broward staff changed the scoring method, which was the beginning of the problems.

    Then,when they had a tie, instead of using the established, albeit curious, policy of flipping a coin, they suspended the meeting to confer with General Counsel. At that point, totally confused (but should have known better) firms asked board members instead of staff what was going on. Convenient because then staff could say there was improper communication and declare URS winner be default.

    This is all in the present, not the past. But it’s just like the old ways.

    More: So Sup’t. Runcie with the blessing of the board not only has the present Facilities bosses being paid, but also URS. Then he hires, again with blessings, McGladrey to oversee both of them. Now we have 3 entities involved.

    And what happened next wasn’t surprising: When URS didn’t come through with the deliverables the contract said it must, they blamed the needs assessment firm, which was one of the firms disqualified in the QSEC debacle. Incidentally, the needs assessment firm is probably the only one that’s really qualified to run the Facilities Dept.

    And the acting Facilities head wants to extend URS’ contract anyway.

    This is all in the present tense, and just a few examples of why nothing has changed and won’t until voters stop electing the caliber of board members that make up the majority of this one.

  16. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    I did a little research into documents regarding how and why QSEC was created.

    The tape of the Sept. 21, 2004 CRC meeting has Parks and Gallagher upset with CRC scoring and procedures. They both were obviously at the meeting for that purpose. It was during the Miramar High 24 classroom addition project. That’s another story altogether.

    Both the Herald and Sun-Sentinel had pieces about the disembowelment on Nov. 24, 2004 with my quotes.

    On Nov. 26, 2004 the Herald editorialized against the plan to change the group.

    On Dec. 21, 2004 I spoke to the board and left copies of the letter telling them why it was happening, i.e. to give the projects to the favored contractor. Which eventually led to the arrest of Ms. Gallagher.

    After the arrest I got a lot of calls from a lot of people, including Steve Harrison, who had left the Herald for another paper. We laughed because what I predicted would happen did.

    Copies of the above are available to anyone who cares to get them.

  17. Dragon says:

    I am a Ft Lauderdale resident. Our school, Stranahan High School, needs a major overhaul or a new facility. I will walk door to door or do whatever it takes to remove anyone from office that stands in the way of our children having everything they need. Shame on Romney. He is an alumni. He has turned his back on our community once again.

  18. Ha Ha Ha says:

    New Sun-Sentinel Investigative Report:

    Florida’s charter schools: Unsupervised
    Taxpayers, students lose when school operators exploit weak laws

    Sun Sentinel Investigation: Unchecked charter-school operators are exploiting South Florida’s public school system, collecting taxpayer dollars for schools that quickly shut down.

    Profile: South Florida charter schools hire educator banned in New Jersey

    Video: Former charter school insiders complain about a broken system

    Follow the money: School districts often lose track of charter school spending

    Map: In the past five years, 56 South Florida charter schools have closed


    The series is well done and concentrates on the marginal charter operators, not the big players like CharterUSA.

    Is it any surprise the school system loses track of charter school spending? They lose track of their own spending on traditional schools, too…and that has been going on for years.

  19. Hey dragon says:

    Since you are fired up maybe you should direct that ire to the school board who used all the impact fees from development in Fort Lauderdale of the last two decades to pay bond interest and building west county schools while Stranahan and northeast rotted. Still wondering why the commission is skeptical of the money used for east side schools.

  20. Fishing for Cash at the Expense of Kids says:

    The Sun Sentinel won’t do after Charter USA because they are scared of getting Eddie’s underwear in a bundle. Thank goodness for people like Sharon Baron who are willing to speak the truth.

  21. @ Hey Dragon says:

    Are you really talking about two decades ago when you have and entirely new board and superintendent? I was a student at SHS less than two decades ago. Should my employer blame me for something that happened in my firm two decades ago? In the private sector, we learn from our mistakes. We don’t dwell on them nor do we repeat them.

  22. Dragon's own good says:

    If you care about your kids, send them to Saint Thomas or another private school and stop sucking at the public tit.


    I don’t know if this is a joke or not.

    Florida’s Constitution, approved by the voters, declares:

    “The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education and for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of institutions of higher learning and other public education programs that the needs of the people may require.”

    Above contains my underline.

  23. Dragon's own good says:

    Public schools are great for the kids who have parents that are poor, but for gods sake, those that can afford it should do without the new car or the summer trip to Europe and pay for their kids education and not be so selfish by sponging off the public. Have some pride and get off the public tit.

  24. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Dragon, I’m sorry to have to tell you that the board and administration has not paid any attention to the lessons of the past and is very busy repeating them. Buddy’s excellent blog has been pointing this out for a long time. As in the information, for example, about the school board attorney.

  25. Raider? says:

    What an ignorant statement. You clearly must have attended STA yourself. I bet the priests liked you.
    As a business owner I know that the economic survival of the City of Ft Lauderdale as well as Broward County is dependent on the public schools providing high quality education for students so that the citizens of Broward County will be employable.
    I do not have children in the school system. However I pay as much as a teacher’s starting salary in property taxes each year. I will gladly continue to pay it to live in a community of educated people. (Hint, please leave)

  26. All about the west says:

    School board members come and go but the staff remains the same and that is tla big problem. As well as the other problem that only 2 of the 9 members live east of 95. Why should they as a body care now about east side schools if they want to stay elected the majority of them need west side votes.

  27. Becky Blackwood says:

    The District did have their own civil engineer who could design to the water overflows on sidewalks at Northeast High School. District Maintenance may also have staff who could construct the remedy as long as it costs less than $250,000.

    As to the roof there, I have been asking for a separate roofing department since 1998, which would allow instance response for roofing problems such as the one there. Unfortunately, none of the administrators saw a reason for a separate roofing department, even though District Maintenance’s roofing department can only do repairs and no re-roofing because they are unable to pass the necessary inspections to accept any of their roofs. How much is the District paying for a department that is only qualified to reroof portables only and do minor repairs on school buildings when the money could be better spent on a separate roofing department which can respond to poor roofing problems much quicker than waiting for a major building project to correct the problem? Meanwhile, there is major destruction from the water intrusion not only of the building structure but also the furniture, fixtures and equipment. There is also going to be a major problem with mold and mildew which will affect the students, teachers, staff and the public who visit the school.

    Miami Dade County and Palm Beach County schools both have separate roofing departments. Why is Broward always so far behind?

  28. Dragon's own good says:

    @25, I pay what the principal makes in taxes and I agree that we need good public schools for a qualified workforce. I am just glad that they will have someone from Pine Crest, Saint Thomas, or Westminister or Gibbons to be the boss… family has been here over 100 years, not goin anywhere else