School Board Member’s Thug-Like Threats: Throwback To Bad Ol’ Days





I’ve got a reading assignment for School Board member Abby Freedman: The 2011 statewide Grand Jury report on the Broward schools.

A nasty fight between Freedman and parents she represents in Northwest Broward is really the same-old, same-old political interference that the Grand Jury criticized.

Going against her own staff, Freedman is threatening to bus elementary students from Parkland to Deerfield Beach and Pompano Beach…unless she gets a new school for Parkland.

Freedman believes a new elementary is needed to handle expected growth. Word from some residents is that she has been talking to charter school companies.

But are the threats necessary? Parkland has land set aside and money set aside for a school when it is needed.

The specter of busing seems to be aimed at both the Board staff and developers. Residents say she wants developers to build at least a charter school.

Mayor Michael Udine of Parkland says sales of new homes are drying up because of Freedman’s threats. Some buyers are considering asking for their deposits back.

“This is using the children of Parkland for political aims,” Udine says. “This is blatant public extortion.”

Not only is it extortion. It violates everything the Grand Jury warned about in its scathing investigative report.

Board members are not supposed to use muscle to get schools built in their district!!!

If Freedman is a Cliff Notes type, I’ll save her the time of reading the whole report. Here are select portions of the Grand Jury’s comments:

“As serious as the problems are at the District, the problems with the Board are even worse. The Board has demonstrated an appalling lack of both leadership and awareness. Rather than focusing on the big picture and looking to the challenges of the future, they have mired themselves in the day-to-day running of the District, a task for which they are singularly unqualified. Their lack of background or expertise does not deter them from intruding into decisions… pushing unnecessary building projects in direct opposition to the advice of district officials.”

“Board members (are) losing sight of the big picture when it stated in F.S.1001.363 ‘Each member of the district school board shall serve as the representative of the entire district, rather than as the representative of a district school board member residence area.’ The statute, and School Board Policy 1005 which follows it, has been routinely ignored…”

Our view of the evidence convinces us that Broward County does not have a School Board as such, but rather a collection of nine independent officials who by and large act independently and generally make decisions solely for the benefit of what they perceive to be their power base, usually their own district…”

“The Board members have created havoc by acting individually. They have interfered in the day-to-day operations of the District. They have made petty and costly demands…”

Freedman’s thug-like interference is throw back.

The staff says Parkland elementary students should stay in their schools, which are now under enrolled.  A new school will be built when it is needed.

There are two possible results if this continues.

(1) Freeman gets an opponent.  She has bragged (including to me) that she will spend anything to hold her seat, but she is not that loaded by Parkland standards.  Her family reported a net income of $186,589 to the IRS.  She has a net worth of $1.004 million, according to her papers on file with the state. Frankly, Abby, that’s pocket change to some of your neighbors.

(2) Her antics add to the negative feelings about the Board and damage chances for passing a bond issue.

Freedman’s conduct proves that at least one Board member has not learned anything from the Grand Jury.


46 Responses to “School Board Member’s Thug-Like Threats: Throwback To Bad Ol’ Days”

  1. ex compassionate conservative says:

    Buddy, this violates a lot more to me.

    I voted for education , not extortion.

    This is very disturbing to read about her. When she first announced her entry into the race she called my home a few times in Parkland. I was happy to hear from someone who had kids in the public schools system and claimed to be very involved with the support of Broward kids with disabilities.

    I then met her during the race while waiting in line to early vote at the Coral Springs library and she seemd pretty normal to me.

    I don’t care that she sent your son to a private school, but don’t tell me at election time that you have so much invested in the public school system because you have kids attending. How come she gave up on Douglas which is not a bad school, but has probnlems not too different than many other schools?

    Parkland does have land set aside for future schools. I have lived here for a while and many of the kids who were bron here or moved in as infants are now growing up and leaving for college. We have turnover and the last thing we need is to build extra capacity which may not be needed as demographics change. The next project underway is featuring 55 + housing which has ZERO school children feeding the schools.

    Has power gone to her head or has she gone off the deep end recently? Udine supported her as I understood back then.

    This is un needed hidden racist threats to Parkland residents. Her job is to make sure that no matter where you send your kids, the school has qualified teachers, materials, safety, supplies etc. She is implying that a Parkland resident will scream if their child goes to one of “those” schools with “those ” types of people. Parkland is filled with many different people from many different backrounds.

    There may be something else going on here, but I do not expect the Sun Sentinel to find out.

    Go to section 4 here.

  2. john smith says:

    freedman is garbage. and she voted to give garbageman runcie 5 year extension on his contract. p.s. abby, you’re not that good looking either

  3. Mike Thomlonson says:

    I’d like someone to file a public records request to see if she was silly enough to correspond with the charter school folks on her private e-mail…. Or yes, an ethics complaint would get her to drop the proposals.

  4. enough already says:

    Just your average resident and voter who happens to have links to Abby Freedman’s candidate questionnaires from more than a year ago handy on their computer… on a moments notice.

  5. PC Panther Dad says:

    Abby is very self centered, she always talks on her phone in the no cell area when she picks up her child on campus. For what it’s worth, I have seen Abby having lunch with John Hage quite a few times at Mariposa in Nieman Marcus at Towne Center. John Hage is a good guy that offers a great produc. Certainly if a parent could not afford Pine Crest a child couldnt go wrong at one of his charter schools. These people who appear to be affluent are clamoring for second rate public schools, step up and put up the money for the best education you can buy for your kids.

  6. Get Ridda Her says:

    She is a scam artist and when it comes out that she is in bed with developers of a charter school, this will all make sense! Disgusting human being and she should be embarrassed to show her face in public!

  7. Notocorruption says:

    As I have commented beforehand, Ms. Freedman is not highly regarded as a Board member whether a School Board inside or a constituent. All the more reason why we need all nine members to be elected at-large and represent ALL constituents, parents and of course, the children.

  8. Mrs. Pentegan says:

    She is nothing but an arrogant, nasty thug that cares about nothing, but herself.

    While campaigning at the polls, her and Sheriff Israel’s people did nothing but trash talk, intimidate and verbally abuse voters going into vote.

    I am not at all surprised Mrs. Charter School, screw the Public School System that I work for violates the law and Grand Jury Report.

    She is definitely another voter mistake.

  9. Paging "DR" Freedman, Paging "DR" Freedman says:

    Paging “Doctor” Freedman
    Paging “Doctor” Freedman.

    Your wife is on line 1, she’s asking if she can have another $112,000 to run for reelection. She says she has multiple opponents and every elected official that endorsed her in 2012 won’t return her calls.

    What should I tell her “Doctor” Freedman?

    Is anyone there?

  10. Buddy Nevins says:

    Several folks told me after this item was posted that a large charter company wants to open a school in Parkland, but they can’t find land or a building cheap enough to do it. It is alleged that Freedman is pressuring developers of extreme Northwest Parkland — an area called “The Wedge” that was annexed from Palm Beach County — by trying to scare off buyers of new homes with threats to bus their children. She wants the developers to build a charter school or kick in money for a charter school.

    If this is true — it is just alleged by readers and I have no idea if it is true — Freedman is stirring up this controversy to benefit a profit-making enterprise that operates charter schools. Hmmmmm.

  11. Panther Parents says:

    Hage’s kids go to Pine Crest.
    Freidman’s kids go to Pine Crest.
    Makes sense to me!

  12. Lauren says:

    I have spoken to this woman twice, and she is the most arrogant self-indulged person in this county. Why don’t people ask her if her own children go to public school. This school board with exception of Nora Rupert needs to go.

  13. Clean House says:

    Except for Nora Rupert, we must get rid of ALL of them including Runcie and sidekick. Blackburn. They are destroying the school system, draining the teachers, and do not care about the system as a whole. They defy court orders and could not care less about anyone but themselves. FIRE THEM ALL!!!! Check their reputations from prior jobs, and please, someone launch a full scale investigation. There is something terribly wrong.

  14. notsomeoneelse says:

    It takes a majority of the board to approve a boundary change, so Abby get over yourself. For those people who follow the board I don’t believe that any Board member has ever put in their own maps. Maybe she thinks she is Pharaoh “So it is written, so it is done” We’ve had bullies on board before and it did not turn out well for them.

  15. Abby=Jen-Jen says:

    I guess the bleach blonde doesnt fall far from the tree.

    Egomaniacs on the achool board with ballegations of corruption involving for profit entities.

    Calling Tim Donnelly at the State Attorney?
    Will the paddy wagon be coming for Crabby Abby?
    Abby, resign now before its too late to walk away.

  16. Former School Board insider says:

    In her Oath of Office, Abby swore to uphold the constitution of the United States and the State of Florida. She also has a duty to follow the policies of the School Board itself.

    Abby was quick to stress her legal education when she was running for office, but if she were really knowledgeable in the law, she would know that she cannot draw boundaries that are arbitrary and capricious, as that is unconstitutional as well as violates School Board policies.

    Alas, Ms. Freedman, who is not a member of the Florida Bar, but apparently considers herself above the law, persists in standing by her proposed boundary maps, which will never be accepted, because you cannot draw a non-contiguous boundary, that is, a boundary that does not contain areas that are next to each other.

    What is really puzzling, aside from the fact that she is willing to totally piss off one whole city in her district (all the more puzzling since that is the city she actually lives in!) is that none of this controversy was needed. The recommendations proposed by the staff were acceptable to the people whose children would be affected by them; there is no need to threaten to bus children from northwest Parkland miles away to other cities; there is a long range plan that was in effect way before Ms. Freedman even thought of running for SB to address the future impact of residential development in the Wedge; and the cities of Parkland and Coral Springs have always been very involved and very open to working with the school board and staff on resolving boundary issues.

    No one who really paid attention to Abby when she was campaigning should be surprised, however, at the arrogance and selfishness she is displaying and how she is handling this debacle. The sad part is, now people are just beginning to realize that choosing a School Board candidate is very important; and people need to look very hard at a person’s background and experience, or lack thereof, and not blindly just follow the recommendations of the Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board, which has been VERY wrong on so many occasions.

  17. To Buddy says:

    I, too, have read the rumors that the reason Abby is doing what she is doing is with ulterior motives to get a charter school in Parkland.

    What is interesting is that when she was running, she touted how self-funding her campaign would make her “not indebted to anyone” and she claimed she would always act in the best interests of the children, and not be swayed by outside interests.

    It is certainly not in the best interests of any child to put forward the proposal she did, which takes children out of their neighborhood schools, with the end result of getting a charter school in the community. While there are certainly some good charters (i.e., Coral Springs Charter), it is not in the best interests of the children to take more money away from the public school district to fund more charter schools, and it is not in the best interest of the families who are now undergoing such “agita” (as we Italians say) in dealing with this unnecessary mess.

  18. Andrew Markoff says:

    I never understood why she won. That election was always a mystery to me.

  19. Dear Abby says:

    I wonder when Abb is lunching with Hage if Abby says let them (residents in the wedge) eat popovers with strawberry butter?

  20. Amazing Karnack says:

    Karnack says every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in. Karnack says RunDMC surrounded by alligators. Karnack says alligators grab you and take you into a death roll until you drown. Karnack says no reasoning with alligators. Karnack says you must kill them and move on before you take on more water. Karnack says if the alligators don’t get him be careful of the train. Karnack says the train goes clickity clack, clickity clack, clickity clack.

  21. Follow the supporters says:

    Freedman was endorsed by then BREC Chairman DiNapoli at the same time BREC member Michael DeGruccio endorsed Abby on his own in the NW. Upon election DiNapoli was run out of BREC and DeGruccio was elevated. Also DeGruccio was appointed to the BCSB Diversity Committee upon Abby’s election. John Hage is a major influence at BREC as can be seen from this article…

  22. ex compassionate conservative says:

    “Just your average resident and voter who happens to have links to Abby Freedman’s candidate questionnaires from more than a year ago handy on their computer… on a moments notice.”

    Yes, I am an average Parkland resident who has had kids in the public school system for a long time. I also voted for her in the election based on her campaign calls to my home, reading her info and seeing her in person.

    Nothing nefarious about the links either. If you google her name and school board you get thos links as fast as your data line , computer and modem will display it.

    I am troubled by Buddy mentioning a charter school in Parkland. I have no issues with offering parents choices for education based on what is best for their plans. Indeed, I have visited and know parents who are very happy with Coral SPrings Charter.

    However, if Abby asked me to vote for her based on her saying that she has her own flesh and blood in the public school system and will work tirelessly for all children in the public system the way she would for her own, then we have a problem.

    If she is spending time on a private business interest instead of what is best for all Broward kids in her district in existing schools, then we have a problem with ethics and morals. I would imagine that her main concern would be in keeping the quality and physical plant of the schools in Parkland the best that can be which is why many of us moved here in the first place.

    MSD had had issues with bullying and a few tragic suicides of young teenagers.

    Should not this be her main concern in life as a school board member instead of a land developer?

  23. Just Beachy says:

    money corrupts.

  24. Not quite says:

    Dinapoli endorsed Solomon and then was canned

  25. Too Bad So Sad says:

    The funny thing is, all the Parkland voters who supported/voted for Abby because she was from Parkland would have been much better off had they voted for Shelly Solomon, a former Parkland resident who moved to Coral Springs. I know Shelly would never have pulled a stunt like this.

    Live and learn.

  26. I hear says:

    Abby picked up lunch with a groupon to avoid an ethics complaint.

  27. Patti Lynn says:

    I hope that the post by Karnack is really our local Karnack!! If so, he, (??), will point us in the right direction. Hopefully, Shelly Solomon will run again, and we, the voters, having learned our lesson, will vote for someone who REALLY cares about educating Broward’s kids in the PUBLIC school system. Our entire country appears to be participating in the “Dumbing Down” of American students. We have no future if our children aren’t properly educated. To have school board members apparently undermining the system that they were elected to promote and preserve is frightening. Too much money in politics, giving us candidates who are well funded, but, as we know, are sometimes as, “Dumb as a rock.”

  28. Mia says:

    This is a never ending cycle! Please help the kids as we all know it’s never really about them. They all need to go with the exception of Mrs. Rupert. So sad…

  29. @ Mia says:

    We get it David, Nora is great.

  30. just one vote says:

    Thank you Mayor Udine. Nothing like killing the goose laying the golden eggs.
    Miss you on the BPC.

  31. Just the facts says:

    When you run a campaign on lies, negativity and arrogance and then that candidate continues to exhibit the same behavior once elected no one should be surprised. Her comments about funding her own campaign only showed people that she had no connection to regular people. Who spends over $100,000 of their own money for a $39,000 job? That should have set off red flags. Her attitude at the polls showed her true colors. Win at all costs and the people will forget that once elected. You get what you paid for. Self funding self serving.

  32. Ana Gomez-Mallada says:

    Keep voting for anything with a “D” after its name, this is what you get.

  33. Thanks Ana says:

    FYI these position are non partisan

    Then again BREC endorsed Democrat Solomon and BREC Member DeGruccio endorsed Freedman.

    Heck if Republicans didn’t vote for D’s once in a while they wouldn’t have much to vote for around here.

    Maybe if your local party was not so inept is grooming good candidates people would have a choice.

  34. Mia says:

    David? Uh no… Just a teacher that knows what she’s talking about.

  35. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Hey Karnack, it’s like the Hotel CA, you can never leave. You bet the train is going clickity-clack, clickity-clack. Love the alligator analogy.

    Nice (not) to see one maybe two people who know nothing about education and the school board,have never done anything deeper than meeting or touting candidates, but spouting the cliche`lines trying really really hard to be relevant.

  36. Need A New District 4 Candidate says:

    Shelly Solomon was no better bargain than Abby at the time. A bumbling public speaker who was a “life coach” she hired a few nitwits to harass anyone that had endorsed Abby at the polls and stalked them with cameras. Way to go Miss “anti-bullying” Solomon- hire bullies to help you win.

    We need someone better than these two.

  37. ex compassionate conservative says:

    Sun Sentinel finally gets into the picture.,0,1445339.story

  38. Need Better Informed Voters says:

    I was at the polls supporting a different candidate in a different race in Abby’s district. I did not see anyone harassing anyone on behalf of Shelly Solomon. I did see and hear Abby spouting a canned speech, containing lies and misrepresentation, getting in people’s faces, campaigning past the line where candidates were not supposed to go, and being very obnoxious and rude.

    There were several good candidates in the primary, both Robert Mayersohn and Shelly Heller Solomon had worked on many school and School Board committees. They both had excellent credentials, but little funding. Some people felt they had little personality, too, so they went with the rich bitch buying her “I won’t be indebted to anyone” speech.

    Unfortunately, Abby is keeping her campaign promise. Not only is she not indebted to anyone, she obviously doesn’t give a crap about her constituents, either. She knows that she can buy her way into being re-elected by buying votes in the condos in Tamarac and Margate with bagel breakfasts and hiring condo leaders.

    Parkland and Heron Bay residents, if you find a credible candidate, you all need to launch a major grassroots campaign next time, but please, please, look beyond the “sizzle” for someone with a real background of actually helping kids.


    Working on school committees is good training on the issues, but it doesn’t replace good, old campaign wisdom. To beat any incumbent, challengers need to answer the following questions:

    *Do you have realistic sources of money?
    *Can you gather enough support from the entire district to win, including the majority of voters who do not have children in schools?
    *Are you personable enough and do you have the ability to sell yourself to the public?
    *Can you tell voters in the fewest words possible why the incumbent is doing a poor job and should be replaced?

    Unless you can honesty answer those questions, stay home. Don’t run.

  39. Need Better Informed Voters says:

    You are absolutely right, Buddy, and that is why the more qualified candidates lost and why Abby, with no background or experience that would have been nice to offer, won.

    That is also why Abby is probably laughing at what will likely be the wasted efforts of this seemingly large (almost 800 members of an anti-Abby Facebook page) but really small percentage of the actual voters in the district who are mad at her.

    She knows, come election time, she will out-fund any other candidate, and she can gather enough support from the “super voters” to negate the relatively small number of people in Parkland that are upset with her.

    That’s why, if these Parkland residents are really serious about replacing her, they need to find someone that has all the qualifications you mentioned above, plus actual, real qualifications to be on the School Board. If there is someone with the ability to fundraise, the ability to schmooze all the super-voters, and the ability to appeal to a wide, diverse group of voters in the district, who also has some knowledge of what a SB member is supposed to do, they should start now by identifying that person or persons and start a grass roots campaign to support that person.

    I wish them luck, but I fear Abby will have the last laugh on this.

  40. Laurie says:

    Heard that there is a school board member who prefers putting their children in private school instead of public. Well, why would you run for school board in the PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM?????? Power trip???

  41. Abby Freeman Makes Bigoted Statements says:

    Abby Freedman shows her true self again:

    “So one thought that stuck with me all of last night and into this morning is the stereotyping and discriminatory assumptions that Abby Freedman is making about those moving into Parkland, whether in Heron Bay, PGCC, Mira Lago or Watercrest.

    She said she based her “numbers” (which are easily discredited using advanced techniques such as “addition”, “logic” and “history”) on HER BELIEFS about “those people” that are moving into Parkland, based on how much they are paying for their home and the “type” of people that come to Parkland….

  42. Profiles in Cowardice says:

    The Coral Springs/Parkland iZone meeting was held last night at Douglas High School.

    Abby Freedman went on for more than 15 minutes and NEVER ACTUALLY EXPLAINED OR DEFENDED HER MAP PROPOSALS!!

    Instead, Abby Freedman spent her time last night throwing everyone under the bus:

    (a) She threw the staff demographers under the bus. These people are professional number crunchers who have training and professional experience in determining student enrollments, and for the schools in District 4, have been pretty darned accurate for decades. Abby’s numbers are based on her taking photos on her iPhone of maps at sales offices and the families coming in to purchase (preumably taken without their knowledge or permission — disgusting). Abby has no knowledge or experience in demography, and decided to pull numbers out of the air (or somewhere worse).

    (b) Abby threw the City of Parkland under the bus. Even though she KNOWS full well that the City overestimates the number of homes that can be approved in any given year so that student enrollment figures are on the high side for safety, she decided that the City will be issuing as many as 200% of the highest number of CO’s issued in any given year. According to the City of Parkland, the highest number of CO’s issued in any given year was 495 — when the Building Department had 30 staff. They have less than 1/3 of that number now. But using Abby’s magic fairy dust and unicorn tears, the City is supposed to issue 750 in 2015! What??

    (c) Abby threw the ENTIRE SCHOOL BOARD UNDER THE BUS. She pretty much decided that the school board won’t support any plan that brings more student stations to Parkland elementary schools (even though they will be built with ZERO TAXPAYER DOLLARS — 100% from developers and the City of Parkland), because why would they do that when their own schools are underenrolled. HEY ABBY?!?!? — I can’t imagine you are saying you’ve discussed this with your colleagues on the School Board (Sunshine violation, anyone?). So I guess you are making an ASSUmption based on nothing. But instead of leadership, you are passing the buck and trying to turn the people of D4 against the other school board members FOR SOMETHING THEY HAVE NOT DONE! Shame.

    (d) Abby has thrown the children of D4 under the bus (or actually, onto a bus). Abby’s plan is to scare the parents and kids of D4 with the threat of 90 minute busrides each way to school, instead of fighting for the kids throughout the county to have a quality PUBLIC education in their own neighborhood schools.

    It was a shameful display by Abby Freedman, who then closed with “democracy” (as a joke). She had everyone raise their hands to show whether they wanted her to pull down HER maps. 95%+ of the room raised their hands (the only ones that didn’t were the ones walking out on her second speech because they were sick of hearing her, someone identified as Abby’s husband, her staff assistant, and SB and City staff who are supposed to stay out of this). She was shocked, and then had to try to spin it.

    There is a failure of leadership in D4 by Abby Freedman. There were definitely in excess of 300 people (probably more) at the peak of the meeting. Not a single person came to the meeting to stand in support of her asinine proposals.

    She has failed this district and our community and should resign.

  43. ex compassionate conservative says:

    Thanks for that facebook link.

    This was from that page.

  44. Harvey says:

    Mrs. Freedman has regularly shown her disdain for the “little people” (read that as anyone who isn’t kissing her pampered and spoiled behind every moment) and her unwillingness to let facts get in the way of what she knows to be true. How she got elected is a mystery but her and Korn seem to think they are back in High School and are the cool kids who rule the school instead of trying to do what is best for everyones kids. Both of them desrve to be one term and done.

  45. Watchman says:

    @Harvey – While I agree with your assessment of Abby, trying to paint Donna Korn with that same brush is wrong. Korn always seems to give a lot of thought to her decisions, and seems to try to give solutions. Contrasting that with Abby, who consistently makes snap (and ridiculous) decisions while screeching “THE SKY IS FALLING!”. The School Board is a frigging morass in most ways, but Korn at least seems to be trying to walk a clean path in it and seems to be doing it for the right reasons. Hopefully she’ll keep it that way, and we’ll get more like her, and MANY fewer like Abby.

  46. Notocorruption says:

    Ms. Freedman should have stayed in the Board Room bathroom in the Crystal Palace hiding from Bob Norman. This woman is worthless.