School Administrators Overspent $3 Million Without Approval





Broward School Board members, sensitive to charges that they are not spending wisely as a $800 million bond referendum approaches, cracked down this week on administrators who overspent a maintenance contract by more than $3 million.

The School Board turned down administrators’ request to approve the $3 million overspending retroactively.



Robert Runcie

Robert Runcie: His support dwindling?


The original September 2011 contract was $975,000. Administrators this week asked for an increase in their spending authority to $3,975,000 to cover money they overspent.

That’s more than 300 percent increase without authorization,  member Donna Korn pointed out.

“I’m perplexed,” Korn said.

“It should not have been overspent,” member Nora Rupert said.

“On who’s authority was it overspent?” Rupert asked.

“The policy dictated that the staff didn’t have to bring this back to the Board,” answered Maurice Woods, the school system’s operations chief.

Board members asked how many more contracts have been overspent.

“What additional ones do we have?” asked member Heather Brinkworth.

“There may be a few more that trickle in,” Woods conceded.

“If that’s the best answer you have, you really don’t know,” Brinkworth fired back.

The spending debacle couldn’t have come at a worse time.

In less than three months, voters are being asked to approve $800 million in new schools bonds which would raise property taxes. The school system’s pro-bonds campaign hinges on the promise that the $800 million will be spent judiciously.

The School Board changed the policy in March that allowed administrators to overspend contracts. Under the new policy, administrators must ask the Board before spending occurs.

Administrators have been ignoring the new policy, according to Board members.

Laurie Rich Levinson said administrators in the future must do “a much better job of forecasting” costs before signing contracts. She demanded any increases come back to the Board for approval before money is spent.


Support For Runcie Uncertain 


Runcie was largely silent, preferring to let a string of administrators attempt to defend the overspending.

But the hour-long scolding by the Board had ominous implications for Runcie. His support on the Board seems to be eroding as the summer heads towards fall.

Levinson’s criticism, in particular, is very telling. Long a strong supporter of Runcie, this is the second time this summer she has publically disapproved of the superintendent’s actions.

She earlier condemned Runcie for raising the salaries of three of his close administrators 22.5 percent.

The Board held out the promise to Runcie that they may approve the $3 million in overspending in the future.

First, the superintendent must do penance.

Runcie was ordered to meet with each member separately and give a full explanation of why the money was overspent.



25 Responses to “School Administrators Overspent $3 Million Without Approval”

  1. District Employee says:

    Is anyone of stature going to formally oppose Runcie’s bonds? Make sure you tell us where to donate money

  2. Michael Reese says:

    Levinson can start criticizing Runcie now that her mommie has lost the governor’s race.


    Laurie Rich Levinson’s mother is Nan Rich, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

  3. Sharon Graham says:

    I am the teacher who spoke to the board on Tuesday and called them on the continued corruption, lies, and deceit for which this county is known. The very collusion the grand jury sighted them for three or four years ago has never ceased and the people who stand up and call them on their deceitfulness, are targeted with harassment. It is happening right now in my school to individuals who dared to stand up for what is proper and right!

  4. The School Board Better fire Runcie says:

    If Runcie was working for my company he would be fired. This is egregious and warrants his immediate termination for GOOD CAUSE.

  5. Rico Petrocelli says:

    If I were Runcie I would be quiet also. Overspending $3 million dollars on a $975.000.00 project without approval? What kind of original contract would allow that? Someone had to sign off on it from the School Board, and now someone has to be held accountable.

    This is only one of the reasons why the $800 million will go down in flames. By not holding anyone accountable is tantamount to condoning this act as “Business as Usual” The Grand Jury Report was quite specific as to what has happened in the past, and that Change was necessary!

    To: #1 District Employee, we are not alone in this fight, and the SBBC is using the teachers,employees, students and parents to achieve this goal on approval of the bond.

    Broward Voters MUST be educated in this fight for a 30 year Bond (tax). I for one will join anyone who wants to assist and get the message out, to offset the School Boards “brainwashing” of the electorate in their favor. 954-931-0242 is my number, how serious is everyone who is against this? Let me know, an organized group vs an organized group will be the only way to assure “our” victory in defeating this $800 million Bond.

    Buddy, thanks for allowing me the space to “vent” and organize…

    Rico Petrocelli
    Former Councilman
    City of Plantation

  6. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    Ok, everything about the co school board wasting money handover fist, so who is going to donate money to block the bond issue? NO ONE!

    Who will voluneer to hold house parties to organize an information campaign NO ONE!

    Who will distribute literature ? NO ONE!

    Who will give out literature or hold signs on electipn day? NO ONE!

    So, as someone who has done all these i say to the critics, blame the public who does NOT

  7. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    But when Pembroke Pines charter schools asks for $2.4 million to keep us from going broke, they don’t want to help. They say they don’t have the money then we see a story like this one.

    Folks, that’s just not right. Ask the parents what they think is fair. Ask them since they’re the ones paying the taxes around here.


  8. another NO vote for bond says:

    “….Broward Voters MUST be educated in this fight for a 30 year Bond (tax)….”

    I read it was a fifty (50) year bond tagged to the property tax bill.

    Either way, 30 or 50, its dead. There is no way voters will approve this.

    Also, where do we look to find more info on the $900k contract that ballooned to $3million. It has to be some kind of construction contract.

  9. Ignoring Policy? says:

    Administrators ignoring policy and bypassing the Board is nothing new for this regime. Runcie and his arrogant staff seem to forget who they work for! It’s about time the Board realizes they are being set up by Runcie to take the fall for all of the lies and corruption. Let’s just hope the voters realize that Runcie wants new Board members so he can play them for a year or two! I’m impressed that Heather Brinkworth, who joined the board this year, is not afraid to question this smug staff! I watched the entire meeting and keep going back through the clips to see how many times Runcie and his administrators either change their answers or get defensive when they are called out for their blatant disregard for the Board! Get rid of him!!

  10. Mark Halpert says:

    This is an outright case of lack of controls — exactly what the district has been called out for — the School Board needs to have some Business Folks who know how to gain control — this looks bad, it is bad and the Superintendent needs to have a new set of controls with the audit team given grader powers.

    First, the board needs to know how many more of these surprises there are, then they need to establish controls and they need to act fast if the voters are expected to approve an $800 million bond issue

  11. Over it! says:

    Tuesday’s meeting uncovered administrative overspending without Board approval, a lost court case due to staff withholding pertinent information from the Board, disregard for policy 4.9 by Runcie and his administrators and the debacle some refer to as the facilities department. I’d like to say to Messier, who threw a little tantrum when Board members decided to direct questions toward Jacobs Project Management Company because you and your team could not answer the questions truthfully. NO, the Board did not hire you, Runcie did. You were brought in from Chicago like all of the other incompetents! You were expected to clean up the facilities mess but instead chose to use old, inaccurate facilities records to determine where an 800 million dollar bond would be spent without ever stepping foot on a campus. It’s becoming laughable every time Runcie suggests holding workshops to address policies he has no intention of ever following! The only workshop you should be having is one to change the Administrator’s titles to better fit their job description…

    Robert Runcie “SERPENT of Broward County Schools”

    Maurice Woods “Chief ILLEGAL Operations Officer”

    Desmond Blackburn “Chief ZERO Accountability Officer”

    Derek Messier “Chief Facilities and CORRUPTION Officer”

    Jeffery Moquin “Chief of INTIMIDATING staff”

    Sadly, schools will never get the money they need as long as Runcie and his arrogant administrative staff sit in those seats! Employees know you are lying and are terrified to speak out, the stakeholders are disgusted every time a new lie is uncovered and the Board members are growing tired of being the scapegoats!

  12. Over it would like to add... says:

    Another lie exposed! At Tuesday’s Board meeting Runcie first stated there was only one case that was ruled in favor of the employee. He later said, “one or two cases.” Apparently even the media knows when Runcie speaks they’d better investigate!! One or two turned out to be 10 out of 12 cases…

    “Broward County schools have been firing and suspending teachers for reasons that state administrative law judges increasingly say are baseless.

    The judges, who hear appeals of employee discipline cases, have determined in 10 out of their last 12 closed cases involving Broward teachers that the punishment was either too harsh or entirely without merit.”,0,3572433.story

  13. Sam The Sham says:

    “Runcie was ordered to meet with each member separately and give a full explanation of why the money was overspent. ”

    Why? Why doesn’t he tell the entire board PUBLICLY what happened? Why doesn’t he tell why these administrators who overspent are not being disciplined or fired? How does he account for this $2.25 Million slipping through HIS fingers?

  14. Uh-oh! says:

    I wonder if Reiley’s team (love them) does audits of the work orders to make sure the tools, batteries, lighting, air conditioners etc. actually make it to the school, or if the products mysteriously disappear.

    So the district read the Minority/Women Business Enterprise Specialist I, II, III job description last week. Rather than posting the I level, they posted the job at the highest III level. Salary is $56,541 – $80,962. I have been in classrooms this week for core subjects where the students have NO TEXTBOOKS. Runcie and School Board – get your priorities straight. Your core mission is to educate our kids. Please start asking yourselves, do charter schools have or need all the positions we have? How is this position contributing to the core mission of education? Rather than having this position, you could add 80 computers to classrooms EVERY year or add five teacher aides.

  15. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    The chickens….have come home….to roost.

    Nothing has changed, including the lobbyists involved. Follow the money.

    I’m eager to see what the bloggers who anonymously libel those of us who have been warning about this type of abuse, misfeasance and malfeasance.

  16. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Sorry, left out “have to say.”

  17. More of The Same Corruption says:

    Lobbyists Judy Stern, Barbara Miller and George Platt are working to pass the bonds. Enough said.

  18. Kristall Palass says:

    Runcie is not Dr Runcie, he has no doctoral degree, no educator certification, and obviously little expertise in education.
    He was a poir choice from the beginning.
    He was an exec at one of the worst school systems in the country, Chicago. What he did bring from there was the practice of cronyism and paying big salaries to people with big titles and major incompetence.

  19. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Not to mention that the “scoldings” were for show, because once the money has been spent, whether or not the board approves.

    It’s a done deal; they have to approve it. And the same people are still in charge at Facilities.

  20. Becky Blackwood says:

    Unless there is accountability of the employee or employee(s) and their supervisors, this situation will continue to happen. Runcie is where the buck stops but where did the buck begin? Remember many of today’s employees were the employees under previous superintendents and under which the 3 grand juries based their criticisms.

  21. Juliet Hibbs says:

    This is NOT new information. Just again! Who got paid or will?? Runcie should be fired with GOOD cause. So many employees NEVER even got the right to object to what was happening to them. I am ONE of those…union in the pocket of the board. Board in Runcies pocket and all upper level leadership lies….many…that DON’T know what is going on in the departments they HEAD,had other businesses,could these people be doing THAT business instead of the JOBS they are supposed to do.

    One example of this is Dr. Martin-Ogburn the former head of EEO (Equal Educational Opportunity office) LIED (check out hibbsforchange on Youtube or to see) about the boy being denied his right to a service dog…which is a FEDERAL law. But law means nothing to them, students, staff, tax payers all mean NOTHING to them! They are corrupt and ONLY care about self and their friends, of course.
    These people are DISGRACEFUL leaders and need to go. Like Dr. Osgood, after 2 years on the board, she often says she is still new and learning. employees get 90 days, a one year contract, new crappier insurance, get hunted and have NO security and this ignorant woman is STILL new after

  22. Juliet Hibbs says:

    20 months. Sorry!

    As always, thank you so much for all of your reporting! You are the place to get truth in Broward

  23. Mia says:

    More people need to listen to Ms. Hibbs! She knows what she is talking about. I’ve watched this same show running again and again.

  24. Triedtotellyoulastyear says:

    How about administrators that are putting their children on free and reduced lunch, illegally, and no one is doing a damn thing about it. Does the $800 million cover that too?

  25. Triedtotellyoulastyear says:

    Clean house of all of these monsters!!!