Franklin Sands Attacks When He Should Act


The headlines were bleak for education.

“It’s a crisis, the Broward schools finance director was quoted.


“It’s depressing, a School Board member told the press.

Broward was blaming the Legislature for a $40 million shortfall for education. Classes might have to be cut.  Salaries couldn’t keep up. 

The year was 1986.

The governor was Bob Graham, a Democrat.  The Legislature was more than two-to-one Democratic.

That’s why when I read Florida House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands news release today that the Republicans are to blame for about 400 teachers being laid off, I have to laugh.

Democratic and Republican-led Legislatures have ignored the state’s school system as long as I can remember.

Florida’s tax system has been broken for decades.  Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have done enough to fix it.

Sands’ news release is more interesting for what it doesn’t mention.

It doesn’t mention that with more than 3,000 less students, the school system can’t possibly need as many teachers.

It doesn’t mention that the Legislature facing billions in less revenue due to the recession still managed to increase funding per student by $28, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

It doesn’t mention school administrators.

The school system is one of the most top-heavy government in Broward.  There are associates-of-this and assistants-of-that all over the place.

What about laying off some of these administrators?  There must be less paper to push with 400 fewer teachers to manage.

Like Sands, I’m not a fan of the Republican-led Legislature. Their refusal to consider new education funding even in boom times was short-sighted and wrong.

But I haven’t been a fan of any Legislature since the 1970s when I first went to Tallahassee.  Democratic Legislatures were just as unwilling to spend the money to move Florida from near the tail end of state school systems.

As the Democratic House leader, Sands’ job consists largely of attacking Republicans for anything and everything.

But it’s a job that really doesn’t do much to solve the problem. Does it?

Instead of sending out news releases, Sands had better start thinking up ways to pay for education next year.  Because everybody in Tallahassee agrees on this:

The 2010 budget will be even tighter.

17 Responses to “Franklin Sands Attacks When He Should Act”

  1. Git R Done says:

    OMG, it’s always about the Dems vs Repub.
    Can’t we just all look to see if something can be fixed?
    I totally agree with you Buddy, this has been going on for DECADES.
    It has to STOP!!
    Besides, Graham has allowed for unions to get their salaries from “leave of absences” which was written in their documents, does that make any sense? NOT… Someone has to look into all of this nonsense

  2. Debbie Weinstein says:

    Is this the same Franklin Sands who put all of his eggs in one basket with Bernie Madoff? Is this the same Franklin Sands who lost every dime he had and must now return to the work force?

    If this is the same greedy Franklin Sands, then why listen to him? He is nothing but a greedy jealous and now broke Democrat who seeks to spread blame on the school board. I wonder what Franklin Sands has to say about our good sheriff Al Lamberti?

  3. Marty Rubinstein says:


    The number is 16,000 over the last four years, not 3,000

    It’s worse than you imagine. First of all, 396 teachers is only the beginning. With student enrollment expected to continue declining over the next five years, expect teacher layoffs to continue.

    But it’s not as though the layoffs are leaving students without teachers. Do the math. 16,000 divided by 22 yields 727 teachers that are no longer assigned to classrooms.

    Of course, it’s always that simple considering attrition and the re-tasking of teachers, but you get the point.

    What I couldn’t say as a Board member but I can say now is that SBBC is not a welfare organization for teachers. Hence the layoff of 396.

    Of course if it’s strictly about money and not about untasked teachers, the board can opt to cut that number in half by laying off teachers earning $90k rather than two teachers making $40k. But of course, BTU will have a cow.

    The Republicans, dastardly as they might be in underfunding public schools are not responsible for this.

    The Democrats are not responsible for this even if it provides plenty of fodder for crying foul.

    The constant exodus of students is the only culprit especially since FEFP dollars are set to provide funding for schools based on 20th day population.

    Forget about the Legislature’s constant cutting school funds, this particular number works out to $107 million fewer dollars since 2005 simply because those students no longer attend Broward schools.

    If anybody can justify paying for a teacher without students to teach I’d like to read it here.

    If you look at this year’s org chart (it’s online) the elimination of administrator jobs amounts to almost $10 million.

    Out of a $2+ BILLION operations budget, teachers alone consume about $1.4 BILLION in salaries and benefits. The cost of the remainder of employees don’t amount to a hill of beans in comparison.

    And yes, there’s probably more at the top end that can be cut, but the numbers just don’t work out to that big of a difference.

    Now… as to the original reason for the post.

    Maureen Dinnen answered a question last night at the DEC meeting that I’ve been itching to ask.

    That question is; “what’s the status of Ft. Lauderdale High School’s phased replacement?”

    The answer is that it’s not finished and won’t be in the foreseeable future.

    Why is this important? It’s one of the reasons I chose to fire Frank Till.

    Fort Lauderdale High was scheduled for phased replacement starting in 1997. When I visited in 2005, only one building had been constructed and it was in the wrong place. The building was not yet finished.

    Eight years!

    Shortly after that visit, the Board voted to push the project ahead by “greasing” it with another $10 million.

    According to Dinnen last night, it’s still not finished. To me, that’s $10 million down the drain.

    I tended to think at that time that eight years undone was nothing less than criminal.

    After four more years still undone (and I don’t care if only one light switch still needs to be installed) I have to call for an independent auditor with the power of criminal indictment.

    I was once told as a “new” School Board member that everybody in construction is afraid to do things because “somebody is looking over their shoulder.”

    Now I know why.

    I’d say it’s time for Notter do do you-know-what or get off the pot. And since it’s Dinnen’s district, it’s her job to see that he gets it done.

    Money? Dinnen and Notter are just going to have to dig it out of other projects approved and funded in the last few years but not yet started.

  4. Marty Rubinstein says:

    Whoops! The third paragraph should read: “It’s NOT always that simple.”

  5. alert says:


  6. alert says:

    And by the way, Marty….it is the fourth paragraph….and how come you had no problem accepting contributions from the same construction companies you are now complaining about? You are a vision in your own mind.

  7. silly question says:

    there does not seem to be a downturn in people playing the lottery? maybe they could use that money for education HAHAHAHAHAHA.

  8. Stephanie Kraft says:

    Buddy, I would like to know what data you have to support your statement that the “school system is the most top-heavy government in Broward.” Have you actually looked at and compared other governmental budgets?

    Our most recent district budget (as of last year) can be found here:

    On page 234 of the pdf, page 210 of the actual document, there is a pie chart which shows that district administrative staff (downtown and the areas) encompass only .42% of our total budget. School administrative staff (principals and APs) comprise 2.61% of our budget. Instructional and support staff comprise about 97% of our budget (96.97% to be accurate) as of last year.

    I challenge you to find another governmental budget that has only .42% alloted to administrative costs. Further, as Marty pointed out, Superintendent Notter cut 59 positions from his org chart last month. This resulted in a 10.34% reduction in the administrative budget for the coming year.

    Thus, that .42% figure will be even lower for this coming year’s budget. Again, I challenge you to look at other governmental budgets and then tell us that the school district has the most top-heavy budget in government in Broward.

    I agree with you. I went too far with the word “most.” I should have said “one of the most.” I have changed it at your suggestion.
    Maybe I’m too cynical, but I find it hard to believe any figures produced by the school system. My experience is that they tend to be self-serving and prove anything the administrators set out to prove.
    The language of Notter’s summary is telling: “three new positions and 62 eliminated positions…” The key is what happened to the individuals in these eliminated positions? Did administrators get laid off in any significant numbers?
    How about the hundreds classified as teachers but doing administrative jobs?
    Regardless of what figures Notter produces — and I think he is doing a good job — nobody believes that the school system doesn’t have too many administrators. That includes parents and employees inside the system, who must deal with a mind-numbing bureaucratic maze to get anything done.
    When a system can afford to put five armed guards at your meeting to protect the board members against a bunch of female parents in the audience, there is still fat that needs to be cut?

  9. Marty Rubinstein says:

    I always love snide comments from people without a clue.

    Alert, if you’re such an angel why don’t you run for office and show the rest of us how it’s done.

    But thanks for giving me the opportunity to expand.

    I don’t know if the company contributed and at this point I really don’t care.

    What’s right is still right.

    If the construction company itself is criminally involved then they should be prosecuted as well.

    My comment was targeted toward staff since it’s their job to manage projects. I also don’t care if the project was CM at Risk (turnkey) or design-build.

    And the SBBC project staff has a real reputation for incompetence.

    Till and Notter still had the ultimate responsibility as did the Construction Department supervisory staff (Garretson and his predecessors.)

    Without the external auditor that I suggested in the last posting all that we’ll ever get in the way of answers is finger pointing and to quote: “It’s not my fault because…”

    Dinnen needs to gather the guts to stand up and make the call for investigation either at the next Board meeting or at a press conference.

    The system’s too big for a single individual to manage with ultimate responsibility. I suspected it with Till. Notter’s proving it.

    Notter’s error is not getting rid of Till’s incompetent staff.

    Changing the system means changing the very statutes that govern Florida School Boards.

    The system needs an additional option of splitting responsibilities between a Superintendent and a CEO, both reporting to the School Board.

    This would give the system two distinct advantages:

    The Superintendent would no longer be responsible for operations and be fully able to concentrate on education like the job was meant to be.

    The CEO would be hired on his or her ability to run the organization efficiently.

  10. alert says:

    MARTY you lost to hope.they rejected were not wanted in your district,HOPE crushed you and thank god we only had one term,you could talk all your non sense but nobdy listens,including your district who showed you the highway.when you fired till you picked Notter as the savior ,now you dont like him this is crazy

  11. Marty Rubinstein says:

    Like I said, you don’t have a clue.

    Didn’t vote for Notter as interim and certainly wasn’t part of the board that hired him.

    At least I have real knowledge of the system rather than assenine opinion.

    So go ahead, get yourself elected and show us how it should be done.

    Either that or stuff your opinion where the sun doesn’t shine.

  12. ALERT says:

    to loser you appointed notter ,you talk a good game but you did nothing on the school board,that is why you got slammed and throwin out of your district,and by the way the citzen of your district thought you were so knowledgeable they fired your stuff it where the moon dont shine.

  13. Two things says:

    This whole D vs R thing is getting old, however from what I’ve read and heard, I believe that the D’s did put out a lot of ideas that were shot down. Buddy, I’d like to see the whole press statement because I would think there would be a lot more to it. Do you have it to post? Also, Debbie Weinstein- you are just terrible. If Franklin Sands is written about here- it is Franklin Sands the Dem leader; his personal life has nothing to do with this. Why would you be so horrible to throw that up in this conversation. You should be ashamed of yourself. And FYI while I dont know him all that well, I do know that Franklin is a great person – and yes the Madoff situation was unfortunate, but it is no one’s business but his and his family’s. Your comment is just unnecessary.


    Here is the news release:


    June 16, 2009 (850) 488-9622


    House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands Says Republican Leaders

    Failed to Adequately Fund Public Schools

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands (D-Weston) issued the following statement in response to layoff notices being received this week by approximately 400 Broward County School District teachers:

    “No one should be confused. There is only one simple reason why 400 teachers are losing their jobs in Broward County — Republican legislative leaders have refused to adequately fund public schools,” said Leader Sands. “At the same time that Republican leaders eagerly cut taxes that only millionaires, special interests and large corporations paid, they also callously reduced the state’s contribution to schools.

    “It is outrageous that Republican legislative leaders are praising themselves for increasing per-student state education funding by a scant $28 over last year,” said Sands. “If they think that’s such a big achievement, they are delirious. All that the Legislature has done is raise state education funding to the level that it was in Fiscal Year 2006-07—or nearly three years ago.

    “These decisions undoubtedly will have a severe impact on the future of our state,” he added. “By failing to adequately fund public schools, we are guaranteeing that our state will fail to develop a well-qualified, well-educated workforce for the new economy of the 21st Century.

    “Instead of paying for the state’s public school system, Republicans have attempted to dismantle it with vouchers that send children to religious schools and forcing school boards to increase local taxes to make ends meet.”


  14. brandi says:

    Marty–Give it up already. I agree with Alert……where were you during your one term tenure when all you did was play solitaire on your school board computer during the meetings and play puppet to Stephanie Kraft? I was there… I know….stop trying to be a big person because you are not even big enough to be a small tadpole in the pond. That is, of course, except in your own mind.

  15. Debbie Weinstein says:

    If Franklin Sands can mismanage his own money, just think of what he will do with the taxpayers.

  16. I'm Not So Sure says:

    Buddy, my problem with this is two fold. I generally agree that education must always be an area that receives priority funding from the state, and that Florida’s trackrecord has been weak on educational funding in comparison to other states. However I also worry that in Broward the way our School Board spends is very wasteful. Yet, if you read today’s headlines, education standards have never been better. And that’s all that really matters to me. So I really don’t know that giving them more money is the answer to anything. Perhaps they can do more for kids with less money and this entire argument of getting education more money is a bunch of BS.

  17. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    For 30+ years I worked at the SBBC every single year had a budget crisis so what is new. Then the lottery like silly question asked..should have brought more money but it just supplanted other money. The casinos are doing great no drop in revenue there, have you been lately. Then there is the drop in enrollment because people can’t afford to live here with families soooooooo all of our taxes are getting raised, those of us who have been loyal and worked and paid our dues not will be punished by Save Our Homestead tax increase. And Broward Schools is really top heavy. Why is there a Facilities Department when there are no new schools being built or any in the future plan.?????