School Board: Abby Freedman On The Ropes? Runcie’s Future Hinges On Election





The Northwest Broward County School Board race clouds my crystal ball.

Incumbent Abby Freedman should be the favorite. She’s got money. She’s got a high-powered friend in Sheriff Scott Israel. She’s good looking and she’s the incumbent.

sherff and freeman

Abby Freedman and Scott Israel


But that incumbency is working against her and activists in Parkland, Coral Springs and Tamarac sense an upset.

She is one of three incumbent School Board members who have a tough re-election fight. Superintendent Robert Runcie’s future depends on the results of those three elections.

The honeymoon is clearly over for Runcie.  This summer for the first time in three years,  skeptical School Board members have been grilling Runcie and even turning down his proposals.

Two members have stood by the superintendent — Freedman and Ann Murray.

Both are in real danger of being defeated on Tuesday. That can’t be good for Runcie.  

Freedman and Murray’s loss would cause him problems, possibly even his job of that comes up for a vote.

The third incumbent Heather Brinkworth is a critic of Runcie. Her loss would presumably make him happy.

It is Freedman’s re-election that has gotten voters most excited. Thirty and Forty-Something parents, a demographic notoriously uninterested in elections, are out campaigning.

The results: Challenger Bob Mayersohn is “coming on strong,” according to one political observer in Northwest Broward. That’s a surprise since Mayersohn, who lost to Freedman two years ago, originally wasn’t given much of a chance this time around.

Freedman record has dogged her.

Some key support melted away from Freedman this time around based on her conduct since her election in 2012. Parkland Mayor Michael Udine, still angry about her threat to bus his city’s students to east Broward, is working for Mayersohn.

Udine is not the only Parkland parent working against Freedman, who also lives in Parkland. A number of them remain livid that she ignored their complaints about the threat of busing.

They formed a largely anti-Freedman Facebook group entitled Parkland United For Neighborhood Schools.  It currently has over 1,250 members.

Amy Rose, Freedman’s campaign consultant, had a different take on the Parkland Facebook group and the hubbub over busing.

“As for that Parkland Unites Facebook group, even by their own count only 370 or so of them are actually voters in District 4. As of the other day, only 44 of them had actually voted, and that number included my own vote! It’s probably up a little since then, but when the polls close Tuesday my guess is that Facebook group will make up about 200 or less of the approximately 11,000 votes that will be cast in the race, or about 2%,” Rose e-mailed me on Aug. 23, the day this was posted.

Some voters have other beefs with Freedman.  She supported a 23.5 percent raise for three administrators while teachers and others were getting roughly 2.5 percent.

These were two of the three points in a stinging negative ad that landed in Northwest Broward mailboxes this week.



The ads is credited to Floridians For Ethics. The Fort Lauderdale group is chaired by Broward Democratic activist Sean Phillippi. The registered agent is Nick Steffens, another Democratic activist.

Steffens is supporting Mayersohn and gave money to him.

Mayersohn has spent $23,346 through early August. Freedman has spent $15,931.

I get the real sense that Freedman is on the ropes.  She manages to come up with a victory, she will limp into the downtown Fort Lauderdale School Board HQ battered and bloody.

And I would bet she will be greeted by a smiling Robert Runcie.





25 Responses to “School Board: Abby Freedman On The Ropes? Runcie’s Future Hinges On Election”

  1. Goodbye Abby says:

    Freedman is an arrogant prima donna who tells us what we should do with our children while she sends her own son to an expensive private school. Hypocrite.

  2. Cindy Lou Who says:

    The people who have lived out here for a long time are well aware of who has been involved in school meetings and activities and who has not. Despite her claims of being actively involved, we are all asking each other when was that? She didn’t even read the report about ESE services…but we know the only kids she is concerned about are her own. Her involvement in the last two years has nothing to do with the all the children of district 4, but has everything to do with getting what she needs for her kids alone. She is marginally informed and pulling her son out of the neighborhood middle school was a slap in the face to the teachers who stumped for her last time around. And if she feels so strongly about EOCs, why hasn’t she fought against them for all children? Self serving is the operative word.

  3. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Maybe Abby can call her Pentagon friends and order an air-strike.

  4. No CrAbby says:

    Nice job on FAKE Democrat Palm Cards in North Broward. Just a few mistakes tho,
    Governor should be at top, not third. And SB race #4 Freedman and #.7 St Clare, hilarious and desperate. I will make sure to show Bob and Nora how desperate you are getting. It is not a registered PAC and will report on monday Abby’s part in this. Jeez, she and St Clare have to make up their own endorsement card! Go Bob Go!

  5. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    I will not tell a parent where to send their child to school but for a public elected schoolboard member to send their child to private school raises both questions n concerns. Regarding the senior staff and dr runcie, they r financially educationally n technology inept and should be replaced

  6. Sean Phillippi says:

    I had nothing to do with this mail piece. I am not on any side of this race. I just let a friend use the PC that I am Chairman of. My only involvement was looking at the final mail piece to make sure that it didn’t break any laws. That is it. This will be my only comment on this article.

  7. What's up with dat? says:

    Buddy, while Sheriff Israel is in a picture with Abby, he’s done similar shits with Bib. And very telling, even though Sheriff Israel swore Abby Freedman into office in 2013, HE DID NOT ENDORSE HER in 2014.

    If you’ve lost the support of the guy who swore you into office less than two years ago, you’ve really pissed off a bunch of people.

    I can’t figure out where this race lands, but BOb crushed her with endorsements, has been competitive with money, there’s an ECO out there doing last minute mail against Abby, and he’s got volunteers out at the polls. It takes a lot to get Yuppie Parklanders to go stand outside in August handing out literature.

  8. What's up with dat? says:

    Shots with Bob….stupid lack of autocorrect.

  9. Just One vote says:

    Heather Brinkworth (at large) got my vote yesterday at early voting.
    Sadly if Runcie supporters are defeated the taxpayers will PAY OUT A HUGE SEVERANCE package when we send him and his crew packing.

    Taxpayers loose again.

  10. No Spine. says:

    Mr. Phillippi:
    I’m sorry, but your political committee -of which you are Chairman- paid for this attack ad.

    You have clearly taken a side.

    And you should, because it looks like Mr. Mayersohn’s may be the only campaign you’re associated with this cycle that will actually win.

    Hopefully Ms. Miller and Ms. Rose will be gentle with the lashings.

    a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.

  11. Notocorruption says:

    Good looking? Oh, please. I love the cigarettes and coffee voice, washed down with a fifth of some hard liquor. Bye, bye Freedman.

  12. to funny says:

    as usual Scott Israel has to get involved since he loves to be in pictures even though there are many negative things about Freeman especially her backing this Chigo tactics of Runcie and her baking him to give the 23.5 percent increase to 3 of his administrators and whats funny is she sends her son to a private school. They definitely need to vote her out and I am sure Israel will find her a job

  13. Tony G says:

    Scott Israel in her corner. .. that ought to put the final nail in her coffin!

  14. Mommy Who Votes says:

    Abby Freedman is about doing right by students, parents, teachers and communities in the field of public education. She doesn’t give a hoot about those in the business of public education for their own selfish gain.

    How telling is their ruse that a school member should to stop being a good parent and not send their kid to a local public school even if they have access to a school they think will better educate their child? Where is it written that in order to help improve public education, your son or daughter must be condemned to use that system?

    It is transparent hogwash.

    Abby Freedman is going to be re-elected in a landslide because she is doing her work honestly, with purpose. Parents see that she’s looking out for the right interests and they are the ones who cast the votes. They know Abby is on their side and fights for them against those whose agenda puts educating children way low on the list of priorities.

    Give ’em hell Abby. We’re with you.

  15. Wwwwhhhhhhaaaattttt says:

    I think there is going to be an upset in the Levinson race too. What happens if Lisa Spince wins the race?

  16. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Knowing both of them, I hope if Bob’s elected he’ll prove to be what everyone hopes for, and that’s it not a case of the lesser evil.

  17. No Abby says:

    #14. Abby get off the blogs, you have a race to worry about! She cares only about herself and is never prepared for a meeting. She will never read a full report but rely on summaries and staff to do her job. Hell, her secretary knows more about issues and shows up more than Abby. District 4 deserves more. Bob better win!!! And Abby remind Amy it is the Democratic Party, not Democrat Party when printing fake endorsements!!!

  18. Bobby says:

    “She’s good looking…”

    Are we talking about the same person?


    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  19. Using sean logic says:

    My car was used in a drive by shooting last night. I checked to make sure the tag updated, breaks worked,steering fluid, no illegal tint and the lights all worked so the car was legal to be on the road before my buds took it out. I saw the guns and a note saying who they were going to kill. Hey not my issue the car was legal when they used it.

  20. Irony says:

    I think the actual definition of irony is someone calling someone else a coward while posting anonymously.

  21. Juliet Hibbs says:

    Mommy Who Votes
    I can only say

    Hello Abby Freedman!! Like how about your PROMISE to look into my case after you were elected. I provided the case to you because David Golt REFUSED May 22, 2013. You called me that night and asked for my case Nothing!!!! oh no, you did threaten to MAKE all the children (other than your own, of course) suffer LONG bus rides, so you, YOU spoiled child, could get your way. You NEED to lose your seat! You dont care! All about the power and all that comes with it.

    Or you have NOT been paying attention!

  22. 1001informedvotes says:

    As usual people tend to forget the good things that people have done.

    Abby Freedman was the board member who stopped the board from changing the grading scale when some board members wanted to make 50% the lowest grade a kid could earn and take away 0-49% as a grade. A kid could not turn in work and still receive 50% credit. She was the only one to point out that this would be looked upon as grade inflation and would hurt our kids applying to college. It would have also greatly impacted the ability for a teacher to run their classroom.

    Abby voted against the board awarding the workman’s comp insurance contract to an individual without going through the RFP process.

    Abby has campaigned and advocated against the state EOC’s being 30% of the final grade. She has been the only board member to advocate against this.

    Abby was the first to notice the overcrowding issue in Parkland and that it was going to get much worse. Even the Parkland Education Advisory Board (that Bob is a member of) missed this. Admittedly her solution was very bad and upset people. Before Abby, no one was paying attention; because of Abby people focused on solutions.

    Bob points to his endorsements but never tells us voters specifically what he will do. He has run twice and been told no-thanks by voters. That means something. He is not any different then he was before. He has run on a platform of “Abby made Parkland parents mad” over an idea that that has been long since dropped. Bob has not run his campaign on the issues facing the district, or specific plans or ideas he brings to the table. If you are going to base your vote off of a person bringing a bad idea to the table that doesn’t fit or work out then you can not elect Bob either.

    Bob advocates for a policy that would allow students who purposefully ditch classes and skip school to not face any consequences. Ask him about it; he is quite clear that there should be no distinction between an excused and an unexcused absence. Think of the consequences of this….it would be staggering. Any student could decide to skip a class where a test is being given and take an extra day (or two) to get the answers from their friends. Abby thinks that the teachers are capable of deciding themselves if they should accept work from an unexcused absence.

    Abby supports the concept that teachers should be in control of how to run their class. She is effective and she is not afraid to tell people when there is a problem.

  23. Michael Udine says:

    I can assure you that the statement below is not factually, correct. The minutes of the Parkland EAB and the Parkland City Commission, confirm that Parkland was well aware of what was going on in the Wedge. We stated many times that we understood the need for the new student stations and schools. PARKLAND WAS TOLD BY THE SCHOOL BOARD, that it was not the case and there was enough capacity. IT WAS PARKLAND that demanded that the land be set aside and deeded to the school board for future schools. In fact, the school board repeatedly said they didn’t think more schools up in the Wedge, were necessary. Those are the facts and they are well documented in Parkland EAB, City Commission and Broward Planning Council minutes.

    “Abby was the first to notice the overcrowding issue in Parkland and that it was going to get much worse. Even the Parkland Education Advisory Board (that Bob is a member of) missed this. Admittedly her solution was very bad and upset people. Before Abby, no one was paying attention; because of Abby people focused on solutions.”

  24. Chuckie says:

    Time to clean house.

  25. No Abby says:

    Hilarious! No teachers want Abby back. Her “accomplishments ” are so vague you really had to look to find something. All board members advocated on lowering 30% EOCs, please, long before she even got there. And what committees does she sit on representing the school board voted on by her colleagues? Can’t think of one. She is an empty seat . Go Bob go!