School Corruption Trial Comes At A Bad Time For Pro-Bond Folks





On September 15, memories of the bad ol’ days at the School Board will be plastered across the Internet, TV and newspapers.

It couldn’t come at a worst time politically for the Broward school system.

Former School Board member Stephanie Kraft and her husband Mitch Kraft are scheduled to go on trial on corruption charges.

The trial comes at the same time that Superintendent Robert Runcie is feverishly working day and night to persuade voters to approve $800 million in new bonds. For that bond referendum to pass, Runcie has to convince the public to trust the School Board with that much new money.

Then here come the Krafts to remind the public of the schools’ past mismanagement and corruption.

Expect testimony from shady developers peddling bribes. Expect testimony from mumbling, fumbling school bureaucrats.

Expect vehement denials from the Krafts.

And expect headlines,  video at 11 and endless bits and bytes.

The Krafts are charged with bribery, unlawful compensation and conspiracy. A School Board member from 1998-2010, Stephanie Kraft is additionally charged with official misconduct.

The allegation is that the Krafts gave illegal assistance to corrupt South Florida developers, Bruce and Shawn Chait. The Chaits hired Mitch Kraft to help them get schools-required development fees on a project reduced by about $500,000. Stephanie Kraft helped her husband and the Chaits by prodding the school staff to cut the fee, according to the allegations from the State Attorney’s Office.

Depending upon how long the trial lasts, it could overlap into the beginning of the six weeks ad blitz that the pro-bond political action committee Citizens for Safe and Modern Schools plan to sell the bonds.

So the news outlets and the Internet later this month may be filled with stories of Broward school corruption. And filled with ads encouraging the public to trust the school system with more money.


18 Responses to “School Corruption Trial Comes At A Bad Time For Pro-Bond Folks”

  1. What everyone is thinking says:

    Dear Skool Bored,

    Do everyone a favor and tell Runcie he is in over his head and that this shall not pass.
    If you continue to tilt at windmills with little regard for the other important programs that may perish due to your impetuousness it will be on YOU.
    This is ill conceived, poorly planned, and horribly detailed. You need another year to properly communicate the needs to Broward residents.

  2. Mia says:

    Is anyone investigating the Krafts involvement in the SBBC insurance fiasco?

  3. Alice McGill says:

    What perfect timing! Corruption and gouging of the public collide. Beautiful. Gotta love Broward County.

  4. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    Sadly no one cares, all the school board members got elected including Anne Murray who insulted blacks in poorer areas and
    Abby freeman who angered Jews in wealthy parkland. The bloggers here and elsewhere n newspaper reporters gave the impression there was public opposition to these two candidates but obviously bloggers talk to themselves or reporters but not the voting public. Yes run is terrible and his regime corrupt n morally bankrupt, but so is the county commission n no one defeats any of those especially the yettas with schmele husbands that need lobbying jobs to support the. Yettas

  5. just one vote says:

    the trial timing couldn’t be better

    bond will be DOA on Nov. 4!

  6. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Even though the timing could not be worse for Mr.Runcie. See the general public is now going to reminded of all the corruption because of this alone the 800mill will be dust. Its unfornuate that Mr.Runcie is taking all this heat for drama that he had nothing to do w/. If you really need the 800mill well then cut, cut, cut(and I’m not talking ribbion cuttings).This will never pass, not even close. Will see…

  7. vangork says:

    runcie has to go…

  8. Memories.... says:

    I have very much respect for your but the man who lied to the facilities task force about every school having single point of entry has been dead for nearly five years. Your cohort said it the other day during the workshop. You can watch that too. Meanwhile, my granddaughter’s school doesn’t have a single point of entry.
    Welcome to 2014. Can we please move forward?

  9. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Memories —

    Yes, let’s.

    Moving forward and away from a bad past needs to include some new rules.

    I believe that our public schools need capital funding. Visit some and you’ll see. We as adults owe our kids proper environments in which to learn. But I can’t agree to support policies that intentionally discriminate against parent choice, which is the law in our State and an integral part of our public education system.

    So, either we create some rational criteria that allows for the sharing of capital tax dollars we all pay with all eligible charter and district schools, or I’m voting no. Can’t support discriminatory policies, just can’t.

    I would prefer to patch the hole in the roof and wait for proper people get elected to the school board with the guts to do what’s right and fair. For sure, I’d prefer to explain to kids that while we regret the hole in the roof, living with it is necessary in order to promote fair and good government.

    That tax dollars need to be distributed sans a political agenda. That policies designed to punish parent choice are wrong. That sometimes we don’t get the things we want because standing up for principle is more important.

    That’s a better lesson to teach them as they move toward becoming better citizens and adults.

    While we’re at it, let’s also give the Broward Inspector General jurisdiction in the school district so that the tax paying public can have some reasonable, independent assurance that the reforms needed at the school board following that scathing grand jury report were indeed put in place and are working well.

    You don’t just ask for renewed public trust once you lose it. You earn it back. The best way to teach civics is to do business in ways that demonstrate good civics.


  10. Eddie says:

    Who is Allen Levy and Broward Workshop who is funding his PAC on the Bond Issue
    What dog does he have in this fight?


    Alan Levy is an agricultural marketing executive and long-time business community activist in the downtown Fort Lauderdale.

    The Broward Workshop describes itself as “a nonprofit association of top business executives dedicated to identifying and seeking solutions to Broward County’s most pressing community issues.”

    Basically it is a bunch of CEOs and other conservative business types who believe they know what is best for Broward County. A number of their ideas involve taxing the public to further business interests.

  11. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Memories, the person who lied about the single points of entry is very much alive and still working for the district. I was not referring to Garretson.

    The charters are in an interesting position. If some of the capital money in the unlikely event the bond issue should pass goes to them, those who would lose that money, i.e., the district regular public schools, will vote no.

    I’ve been an advocate for choice since the beginning of the movement. The obvious problem is that the charters didn’t realize how costs would escalate as the years go by, and now they need capital dollars too. I don’t recall that was part of the deal struck when the legislation was passed. Even though, capital dollars have been directed to charters in the ensuing years.

    The Broward IG has no power; the state IG needs to oversee the district.

    I agree, Angelo, that the prioritization must be free of politics, and too have said prior that the roofs get fixed and the rest waits for the right governance on the board.

  12. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    #4 Yettas huh? Be careful w/ your reference to some on the county who you are referring to. They are no joke. Also to note you refer to bloggers not using their real name etc. “Count” is an appointed title(probably self)what is your real name one could ask….

  13. PandaBear says:

    Regarding S and M Kraft-

    Like Ted Williams, the man with the golden voice, would say:

    Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. You know you love it.

  14. Letitgo says:

    You will have to earn my trust. The mismanagement of the last bond dollars… Beachside Montessori,multimillion dollar track facility at Coral Springs.., poolls at Northeast and Fort lauderdale,yet Northeast is falling apart..corrupt administrators all over the place…nfw I will vote for this,and I am a teacher!

  15. Eddie says:

    How many millions did the School Board Contribute to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts while their funding was being reduced by the legislature
    Who is the lobiest now chairing the Performing Arts Center?
    How do our taxes for schools go else where


    You are correct. The school system donated millions to the Performing Arts Center in recent years.

    This money benefits thousands of student, who are treated to theater and are given educational opportunities to work and learn at the theater.

    Read my comments here:

    Lobbyist George Platt is chair of the Performing Arts Center Authority. Platt is also part of the pro-school bond effort. Hmmmmm.

  16. Eddie says:

  17. Oneintheknow says:

    Administration is corrupt. Blackburn is. Poster child .. Runcie is clueless. Principals are given so much power and. can ruin a teacher or even an administrator ina heartbeat I see Juliette Hibbs story and others…this is frightening!. I am concerned about this..Still want to hear why we should vote on bond too.

  18. Mia says:

    Haven’t heard one word about the Krafts! Swept under the rug perhaps???