School Board Holding Unfair Elections


The Broward School Board is holding an unfair election.

There is no way around it.  Due to the Board’s own decision, they will hold this year’s election using 12-year-old districts they know are not equal and thus, not fair.

Board members last year made a decision that they didn’t have time to redistrict before the 2012 elections. They put it off.

Didn’t have time?

Everybody else redistricted.

The Legislature had time to do it for the entire state.  The Broward County Commission redrew its districts to reflect the 2010 Census.

Not the School Board.

The law requires the redistricting to be done in an odd-numbered year.

The Census figures were available soon enough. The  Sun-Sentinel had them in enough time to break them down extensively by March 2011.

The Board had plenty of time to massage the Census and hold public hearings in every one of the seven districts.

Instead, Board members and staff frittered away 2011.

Because of growth over the last 12 years, too many residents are shoved into two Southwest Broward district. Central and northeast Broward districts have too many voters.

The School Board’s own website states “Florida Law requires that the population in each district be ‘as equal as is practicable.’

The Board has been on notice for a year that the districts were woefully unequal.

U. S. Supreme Court William O. Douglas wrote in 1963 decision that, “The conception of political equality from the Declaration of Independence, to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, to the Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Nineteenth Amendments can mean only one thing—-one person, one vote.”

The Broward School Board apparently ignored Douglas’ wise words when they agreed to delay redistricting past the 2012 election.

Unequal Districts

Proper size of district should be as close as possible to 249,724.  Four districts are more than 5 percent bigger or smaller:

  • District 2 (Pembroke Pines, Southwest Ranchers, Miramar, West Park) — 295,413
  • District 3 (Plantation, Fort Lauderdale) — 234,685
  • District 5 (Plantation, Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, Fort Lauderdale, North Lauderdale, Pompano Beach) — 229,436
  • District 7 (Pompano Beach, Deerfield Beach, Coconut Creek) — 233,186

(Source: Broward County Schools.  Only portions of some cities are in the districts.   The other three districts differ from a smaller amount from the goal, which is an average of all districts based on the 2010 Census.There is an election in District 2, 3, 4 ,5 and the two countywide seats in 2012.).


20 Responses to “School Board Holding Unfair Elections”

  1. John Henry says:

    Who cares? Mess with the district lines all you want and in the end we’ll still have a crappy school board with $1billion in debt.

    I hope that new pool at Ft Lauderdale High will REALLY benefit someone besides the contractor that built it.

  2. Jeanne says:

    Having sat in the Board room during the discussion, from my point of view, the decision was purely political.

  3. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    I mean what do you expect a”Grand jury” called them ‘ALL” inept, basiclly useless. So w/ all your degrees and yes some w/ doctrates, way to protect the taxpayer. Shamefull. Although I am hopefully this new Super will change things. God lets hope so. Watchin you all-granted from the sidelines don’t under estimate me guys….. I’m everything you heard and MORE….

  4. Gee Man says:

    Another reason not to vote for the incumbents and that includes the two Republicans who are running, Leach and Corn.

  5. Weston Resident says:

    Bartleman is behind this. This was totally a political decision and this woman was order to do it by her whoremaster lobbyist.

  6. Kevin Tynan says:

    Buddy – If I follow your story the decision was made last year. If so, the comments about the two newest members of the Board seem unfair and not accurate. Blame the folks that shirked their responsibility to the voters and the staff that lacked the fortitude to bring the matter forward. Another example of just kicking the can down the road . . .

  7. Voter says:

    Why would Bartleman care? She is county wide. Her district is the entire county and wouldn’t have changed.
    Many of the new board members spoke against it but it was too late to get it done by the time they got there. One last gift from the old guard of corruption.

  8. Dan Lewis says:

    Buddy, you suggest that due to previous decisions -the School Board can’t draw fair districts in time for the elections. The fact is that if a majority of the School Board wanted to draw districts, they could – in fact, draw and adopt districts quickly.

    Many have the data readily on hand; TJ Reddick/NAACP, Hispanic/Cuban Vote, the County, and just about every elected politician in the State. In addition there are many with the necessary skills to draw a variety of equal district maps quickly. For example, my company can draw several map versions in a matter of days if not hours.

    The School Board should, and could call a meeting, ask for map submittals, direct staff to draw some maps and set a decision schedule to review and approve a final map in the next 45 days.

    What is lacking is the will, not the ability to draw fair district maps. It is simply inexcusable, which sadly for the School Board is the norm.

    Dan Lewis is an expert in this subject, having helped fine-tune several countywide and state redistrictings. I appreciate his contribution. The Board should have been listening to Dan last year.

    However, the School Board contends it is now forbidden by law from doing anything this year. According to the law cited by the Board on its own website, they can only redistrict in odd numbered years. It is Statute 1001.36 (2):

    “2) Any district school board may make any change that it deems necessary in the boundaries of any district school board member residence area at any meeting of the district school board, provided that such changes shall be made only in odd-numbered years and that no change that would affect the residence qualifications of any incumbent member shall disqualify such incumbent member during the term for which he or she is elected.”

  9. Jeanne says:

    Katie Leach and Donna Korn were not on the Board when the decision was made. The other new board members were out numbered by the veteran Board members who knew they would standing for re-election in 2012. Plus the staff recommended , if I am remembering correctly, to put it off.

  10. sidelines says:

    You are the only reporter that has wrote this up. I forwarded to Scott and Browning – 2011 was an ‘odd’ year and it could have been done.

  11. Dan Lewis says:

    As to the state statute cited by the School Board Web Site; 1001.36 (2), It probably violates the US and State Constitutions, as well as numerous Federal and State Court decisions as it is being misapplied by this School Board.

    It is never right or lawful to institutionally violate a person’s right to “one man, one vote” and that is what the School Board is doing. In this instance and as the School Board is applying the Statute, I believe the Statute is unconstitutional and an intentional slap in the voters face.

    Minority voters in south and south west Broward should be particularly outraged, but not surprised.

    FROM BUDDY: I totally agree.

  12. wiat a minute says:

    Lets look at who benefits or thought they would benefit

    Dinnen, she knew she would have an opponent and her best chance to keep the seat was to keep it way it had been. What was her other option chop off republican east fort lauderdale?

    Good, up for reelection why would she want to give up the overage amount of voters who elected her the first time.

    Williams-knew he was gone and there was not a whole lot that would change, so he played along to take care of his pal.

    Bartleman- See as Williams.

    The rest, (at that time) jen jen, thomas, levinson, ruppert, all knew it was best to protect good and dinnen so when the maps were done they would be protected themselves.

    I remember being at the first meeting when Korn took office and she asked why nothing was happening with redistricting.

    The why was because the remaining goold ole dems on the board never saw the resignations of two members and didnt have time after the new appointees were appointed to do a 180.

    It is simple the School Board which was mired in scandal was based on the fact that because there were no checks and balances of the members, since all were “good D’s” they had a rubber stamp to play fast and loose.

    Everyone complains about the State level where all is bad because everything is controlled by one party. Well wake up because our school system was put into debt causing good teachers to lose their jobs because it was controlled by one party as well.

  13. Lewis is right on the money says:

    Dan, you’ll be able to figure out who I am by what I write.

    Buddy’s article is just so much hyperbole. In a manner of speaking and in a simple world, Buddy might be right. But nowhere does he mention what the School Board was doing in 2011.

    Under fire from that tainted grand jury report that reads more like a Bob Norman article rather than a real investigation. The Board was also engaged in showing Ed Marko the door and replacing him.

    And then the need to rid the system of the incompetent Jim Notter (Till was corrupt while Notter met the Peter Principle head on) and replace him with somebody who they thought could do the job, not just another “educational lacky” with a doctorate and no business brains.

    Most of you posters are living in Fantasy Land. You, too, Buddy.

    The School Board was essentially leaderless and yet had a plate that was full to overflowing for 2011.


    I’m sorry the School Board didn’t have time to do its job. Boo Hoo.

    Maybe if members traveled less on our dime, there would have been some time. Maybe if they didn’t expend so much effort fighting an ethics law covering the School Board, they would have had enough time to adhere to the U. S. Constitution’s mandate of one man, one vote.

    Leaderless? The Board has nine members. Doesn’t one of them have the skills to set the agenda. No, they sit around and wait for the superintendent to tell them what to do.

    The County Commission was under attack for corruption. It was arguing with the cities over the ethics law. It was trying to get both the airport expansion and the new courthouse off the ground. It was wrestling with the countywide $1 billion waste contract. Yet it found time to redistrict.

    There is no excuse for injustice….except politics. )

  14. Jeanne says:

    The Redistricting committee is up and running and I have repeatedly tried to post the link with little success. You can find the info on , click departments, click redistricting and all the info is there for the beginnings of the process.

  15. Lewis is right on the money says:

    Boo Hoo my now skinny butt. In 2006, the Board knew the districts were out of balance with Beverly Gallagher’s and Stephanie Kraft’s leading the way. Guess who was Board Chair in 06? Ben Williams. And in 07 it was Beverly Gallagher.

    Politics involved? Williams is a nice guy but he’s clueless. And Mr. Clueless just happened to be chair in, oh, let’s see… 2011.

    But Gallagher knew all along and chose to do nothing. Except take bribes, that is.

    By 2009, the Board was under turmoil with Gallagher’s arrest and projects blowing up in their faces. Would it have been right to wait for the 2010 census? Probably, but some Board members already knew about the disparities.

    The County Commission comparison is unfair. What? Three relatively new members out of nine? School Board – six out of nine members in 2011 were essentially new.

    The majority of the County Commission had already participated in the 2001 redistricting. Not one of the School Board members involved in the 2001 redistricting were on the Board in 2011.

    Leaderless? Absolutely. Did Buddy know everything about his job in his first year as a reporter? I think not. And sorry to burst your bubble on travel, Buddy, but the FSBA trips were all about learning and becoming better Board members.

    If there were any current Board member with the skill to set agendas as chair, I’d have to say it would be Donna Korn. She’s got the background. As for the others, there’s leadership and then there’s leadership. Most came from either the educational community or the parent community. Being chair of any “committee” is a world apart from being chair of the School Board, or even being a Board member.

    It takes time to learn the job. I’ll be kind and say the first term is on the job training.

    You want professionalism in leadership? Then hire professionals, not politicos who need time and experience before they can become what you expect them to be.

    The Constitution’s one man, one vote? What in the world are you smoking?


    I’m really sorry I believe that we elect folks to begin doing their job from day one. This is not rocket science. Somebody prepares maps. The Board votes on it after hearing from the public and the experts.

    Since you brought me up, let me give you a little history. I got hired by the Miami Beach Daily Sun in the early 1970s. It was my first newspaper job. I came in one morning and was covering a story before noon. I was expected to know what I was doing. If I couldn’t deliver, I would have been fired immediately. By the way, I bagged the story. It ran on the front page.

    The same thing at the Fort Lauderdale News. I was sent out the first morning. The deadline was around noon. And I wrote a story that got published the first day. No excuses.

    I believe the readers can see from the defensiveness of this person “close” to the School Board what’s wrong in the Crystal Palace. No one dare criticize the professionals because they know best. That’s why the NUMBER ONE COMPLAINT ABOUT THE SCHOOL SYSTEM received at the Sun-Sentinel over the years I worked was that the Board and staff were isolated, insular and refused to listen to the public.

    The School Board’s redistricting can be summed up by one of the Board’s own “traditional guiding principals” of the process. That guiding principal in the Board’s own documents? “Protection of incumbents.” I don’t make these things up, folks.

  16. Notocorruption says:

    The School Board elections need to be Countywide, not divided into seven artificial districts and two at-large.

  17. Redistrict Now says:

    Redistricting was delayed to save Dinnen. Then she surprised then and decided not to run. Ha Ha.

  18. Notocorruption is right says:

    I believe either this or the last grand jury suggested that the SB go back to being all county-wide. This was discussed by the SB a few years ago and the majority if not all of them disagreed with this proposal. Too easy to sneak things by in individual districts with each person only involved in their own districts, they don’t know what is going on in the rest of the county. I know it is harder to get elected county wide, and more expensive, and opens the door to only having career politicians or people having to raise lots of money then being indebted to their contributors, but I think they would be more responsive to ALL if they were all elected county wide.

  19. Not nice says:

    Rumor has it that Bartleman did not invite one or both of her fellow r’s serving with her to her big kickoff Thursday night. FYI Robin, there are R’s who vote in the Countywide election. We need Red Broward to look into this.

  20. duh says:

    Isnt David Brown running both Sands and Bartleman’s campaigns? Duh, why would she invite Korn?