School Board Needs A Watchdog, Not A Cheerleader





The public will see in less than a week whether the Broward School Board continues to travel down the path of continued cover-ups.

On November 17, there is the annual election for School Board leaders – chair and vice chair.

The key vote is for vice chair. That’s because the vice chair is traditionally elevated to chair the following year.

The chair controls the meetings and, to a certain extend, the agendas.

The two leading candidates are expected to be Abby Freeman of Parkland and Nora Rupert of Coconut Creek.

Here is the difference between the two:

  • Freeman is a mouthpiece for Superintendent Robert Runcie’s flawed and troubled administration. She alienated many in her own community with her ill-conceived threat to bus Parkland students miles away to Deerfield Beach. She is a divider who whitewashes every misstep, snafu and blunder at the school system.
  • Rupert is a realist who realizes, unlike Freeman, that the Board shouldn’t let the staff and Runcie do anything they want with public money. She does the job she was elected to do — question whether spending is justified and whether money is being wasted.

But Rupert’s rigorous analysis of Runcie and the staff is exactly what the superintendent doesn’t want.

Unfortunately, Runcie has the support of several flunkies who have a misunderstanding of their roles as Board members. They are under the delusion that nothing negative about the school system should ever be aired in public.

Runcie keeps them in line with glittering generalities. Runcie, an African-American, keeps them in line by playing to their white liberal guilt. Runcie keeps them in line by showering them with trips to conventions and goodies for their districts.

Runcie is said to be working, along with his favored Board members, to block Rupert’s selection as vice chair.

Stopping Rupert is a supreme insult to the public.

Rupert had the highest vote count by far of any of the five School Board members running in 2014.  She won by 77.2 percent, while Freedman won by 52.3 percent.

First elected in 2010, Rupert has two years more experience on the Board than Freeman, who was first elected in 2012.

Up popped Sharon Aron Baron this week to support Rupert.


Sharon Baron

Sharon Aron Baron 


Baron, who writes and edits two Northwest Broward online sites and is a Democratic activist, called for Parkland residents to stop Freedman.

The Facebook page Parkland United For Neighborhood Schools, which has more than 1,300 members, is where this is all taking place.

My take:

No construction has started on the $800 million in bonds approved by voters more than a year ago, although Runcie assured the public at the time he had projects ready-to-go.

The State Attorney’s Office is on record this week stating that troubling problems still exists in school construction.

School scores and educational achievement are a mixed bag at best. At worst, they are stalled or even falling.

Parents continue to show dissatisfaction with the traditional public schools by pulling them out at records levels and enrolling them charters, private and parochial schools.

In this atmosphere, The School Board doesn’t need a cheerleader for the bureaucracy leading it like Freeman.

The School Board needs a watchdog.

Baron’s Facebook comments are below:



Sharon Aron Baron

8 hrs

Why was this group created? You think it began because we wanted to chit chat about how great Parkland Schools are?

This group was started by a parent because the very schools our children attended were in jeopardy by the boundary proposal of our school board member which would bus many of them to Deerfield Beach.

We have 1,300 people in this group and surely more than nine of you remember when your neighborhood was being pulled apart. Remember when the new residents in The Wedge were considered basically non persona grata?

There is a chance that the person responsible for this is going to be the next vice chair of the Broward County School Board, and unless you write to other school board members, she will be silently voted in.

Here is my post again and I hope you remember what happened and take the time to read this and write to the other school board members and remind them. This is why we have this group Parkland Unites.


In less than two weeks the Broward County School Board will nominate their next Vice Chair. There are several board members that support Abby Freedman.

The Vice Chair will become the Chair in 2016.

The Chair is important. They set the board meeting agenda and control the flow of the meeting. Nothing gets on the agenda without their approval. Also when they are at events as a group they “speak for the board”

I believe Nora Rupert should be nominated, however, the other board members need encouragement in nominating her. Several are against it because they find her critical. We need to to encourage our representatives to nominate her, especially the ones who are up for reelection. Nora has been a sitting board member for five years, she is highly efficient, very popular in her district and in the Broward County, and it’s her turn.

These are the board members that MAY favor Abby Freedman as the next Vice Chair. They are:

Here’s where you need to need to remember what happened here just two years ago: Abby divided her own district by creating a controversial boundary proposal which threatened to bus residents out of the city to Deerfield Beech schools. This caused rallies and issues in her own district and she was even chastised by her own fellow board members for this and for not leaving the boundary process up to those that are hired to do so. However, one year later, she was reelected, but not by the very own residents here in Parkland.

We must make the Broward County School Board remember those that she divided, and also let them know that we didn’t forget.

We must encourage the members of the school board to nominate Nora Rupert for Vice Chair in November.

If you have a moment. Please write our school board members and tell them why you’d like Nora Rupert as our next Vice Chair. Please don’t rely on someone else. There is power in numbers.

Sharon Aron Baron

22 Responses to “School Board Needs A Watchdog, Not A Cheerleader”

  1. I Remember says:

    No cheerleader. You forgot the transportation director Runcie hired and he stranded thousands of kids without a ride. There was also the building director who lasted a year.

  2. Calcetines says:

    I hope that the Broward county taxpayers and voters are keeping a close watch on how their elected board members are performing and representing them. Hopefully, the are keeping tabs so that they next time they are up for elections they will vote against them and send them home. My only regret is that I am unable to vote for Nora Rupert, since she is not in my district. She is the only one there in my opinion doing her job.

    The board members must remember this; the Superintendent works for them and not the other way around.

    I can’t wait until the next election, hopefully the voters will cast their votes and not stay home.

  3. Memories says:

    Abby is a very mean spirited, vindictive person. She has been seen mouthing the word “three time loser” when her former opponent speaks at board meeting. She writes post it notes about her fellow board members during school board meeting, violating the sunshine laws. She threatened her own constitiunets with bussing them out of the area into failing schools. What kind of a vice chair do they think she will be?
    How can the majority of the board think for a moment that she will represent and serve them well?

  4. Terry says:

    This is a great article. Please read it! Nora Rupert a true crusader for kids and education needs our help and we can write letters to support her . Please take a moment to write the board members to support Nora Rupert as vice chair! She speaks TRUTH TO POWER! Please share widely!

  5. Dr. William Murdick, Emeritus Professor of English says:

    School boards always have to be watched closely. Yours strikes me as classically corrupt. Step one, ban all travel for board members; those conferences should be for teachers only, if anyone goes to them on the taxpayer’s dime. They should not paid be vacations for board members. Or for teachers, for that matter. Do not allow teachers to take family members with them. That’s a start.

  6. How Sad for Ms. Rupert says:

    This is sad. Poor Ms. Rupert. She was a day from being fired so she quit teaching. She was one of my worst teachers. She lost weight. She ran for office. She was elected. I was so proud of her. I guess now she wants to be in charge of the board. Why does a bad teacher want to lead the school board? If I was gonna vote for Ms. Rupert this would drastically change my vote. Ms. Rupert should resign and go serve with people she respects.

  7. @5 says:

    I worked at Piper with Mrs Rupert and that is a complete fabrication. She was renewed with a positive evaluation in June 2010 and elected in Nov 2010. This is a lie that has been concocted to discredit her because she demands accountability.
    This has gone on long enough. If she isn’t elected vice chair it will show the lack of integrity this board has.

  8. Former School Board Insider says:

    Unfortunately, the culture of the Board is that when the public pushes them on an issue, especially one which they think is strictly in the purview of the Board, they push back by doing the opposite.

    So, although Nora is the best choice for Vice Chair, and Abby is the absolute worst, chances are when they start getting letters, emails and phone calls about who they should pick as Chair, they will get a “who are they to tell us our business” attitude and pick Abby just for spite.

    I hope they prove me wrong, but if history is any guide, they don’t respond well to public pressure and perceived threats.

  9. P-U! says:

    Number 5’s comment reeks of Abby. Nasty.

  10. carolina says:

    Nora should be the winner here. She is a stand-up gal; stands up for our kids, our teachers, & our schools. She stands up for what is right & is not afraid to stand up against the shenanigans of Runcie & his Chicago accomplices who are destroying everything in our school system. We are not the Chicago school system, we are proud Broward. Help us Nora, we need you NOW! Help us to stay PROUD BROWARD!

  11. An Observation says:

    Very honestly, I am not sure that being a good teacher is a qualification for being a School Board Member.

    Teachers teach students. School Board Members oversee and manage and multi-million/billion taxpayer enterprise. Being a teacher is not required to run an enterprise. It does help to understand the organization, but School Board Members require far more additional and different skills.

    I don’t know Rupert and if she is what some detractors says she is. But I do know that she doesn’t rubber stamp the administration. Independent review and the courage to speak up is critical in doing the job right.

    Right now only a minority of School Board Members are willing to do that. The rest are basically unneeded since they don’t do their job.

    Freeman, for what I have seen and read about, is about as competent as a School Board Member as Oliphant was. Both are/were pretty bad. And therefore I can only imagine how Freeman would be as Chair, just like Oliphant who was totally incompetent to run anything.

  12. Foolish Abby says:

    Abby should want to be as far away from leadership on the board in the next 2 years as the bond debacle blows up in their faces, audits start and the grand jury gets empaneled again. Her cheerleading for rancid runcie will put her squarely in the sights of those scrutinizing and prosecuting those responsible for the financial catastrophe to come.

  13. Oh the Memories says:

    #5 Don’t forget when Abby Freedman crank called a blogger incessantly and got caught as written by My Acts of Sedition.

  14. MoreBS says:

    I hope Abby Freedman gets it so it will be her signature on everything when this bond is under ANOTHER grand jury investigation. Just another Jennifer Gottlieb.

  15. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Some clever Northern lawyer fot a bondholder will probably rat the school board out to the SEC or appropriate DC Agency n Abby Freeman Anne Murray Korn n Levinson will turn on Runcie & co! A good Federal Grand Jury n US Attorney & they will be toast!

  16. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    And I forgot Osgood a real megadom of ethical conflicts!

  17. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Sadly bad elected officials in Florida have no shame n either get term limited or plea margin out. The only real threat to lousy state county or municipal or government malfeisance is usually bond investigations or related actions to get the money spicket turned off.

  18. Former School Board Insider says:

    Told you so. Abby was elected Vice today. No surprises there.

  19. Dave Thomas says:

    Buddy – well said! The following is in response to today’s SBBC’s organizational meeting (17Nov). . . This mornings proceedings were a sham; pure, unadulterated bullshit! As a former school board member elected in 2010, I got to work closely with Nora, Robin and the other board members. Nora was then, and is now, one of the best members of the board. From the onset she has done the people’s business; examining every aspect of the district’s work and calling to task those responsible for errant or misguided decisions. The actions of the majority in this morning’s organizational meeting is telling in many aspects and the District’s children are worse off for it. I did not endorse Abby in 2012 and would not endorse her now. She is a shrill who seeks to serve her own purposes. I implore the residents of District 4 to think carefully the next time they cast votes for their school board representative – the children deserve better!


    Dave Thomas is a former School Board member representing Northwest Broward County.

  20. Peter McIntosh says:

    Democracy 101 . The majority rules.

  21. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Democracy 10l Majority rules really doesnt apply if more voters voted gor Nora Rupert than Abby Freeman actually. It should further be pointed out “member districts” in Gerrymandered districts wouldnt be praised in. Democracy 101 Course.

  22. Mia and Bella says:

    So sad. The thought that anyone wouldn’t see what is really going on here baffles us. Nora Rupert is too good for this BS. She is well respected and has integrity. The “student” that wrote that Mrs. Rupert was a bad teacher… Please.. That just reeks of the Mean Girl mentality. Grow up ladies of the board… Get a grip. I wish we could have more like Mrs. Rupert on this board. Then the teachers and students might have a chance.