School Staff Romance Charter Schools To Get Support For A Bond Deal





Broward school system higher-ups have held meetings to discuss how to entice the charter school industry to support a planned bond referendum.

At least one meeting has been held with representatives of  charters.

The reason for the romancing of the big charter companies is simple math:  By the time of the 2014 election there could be 40,000 Broward students in charters.

That translates into a lot of votes by parents, who have proven their dedication to education by taken extra steps to get their children into a charter.

“They are potentially a huge voting block,” conceded Board member Katie Leach.

Charter school parents could swing an election.

Broward School pooh bahs so far can’t figure out a way to give charter parents a reason to vote for new bonds paid by higher taxes.

“We have a problem working this out.  Can we just give private companies that own these charter schools money to buy votes? ” another Board member said.

The bond sale, which must be approved by voters, would pay for improvements in three areas: School safety, technology and renovation of facilities.

A price tag has not been presented the Board, but the staff is expected to ask for several hundred millions at least. The school system has studies which indicate it has over $1 billion in unmet needs.

One idea to help charters is to revamp older school buildings with the bond proceeds and then lease them to the charter companies.  Ownership of the building would remain with the school system.

Any attempt to let charters share in a bond issue is sure to cause political problems for the seven Democrats on the School Board.  Many members of the Democratic base, including the teachers union, are cool or downright hostile to charter schools.

A charter school representative said that the school bureaucrats also view charters as a threat in Broward and statewide.  That’s because charters could cost bureaucrats jobs.  They take students from the public schools, leaving less need for the sizeable bureaucracy that serves them.

That may be why School Board member Nora Rupert discovered when she attended recent statewide conferences, no other county had worked with charter schools on a bond issue.

Although there is a lot of talk about charters – formally part of the public school system, although managed by other entities including some cities – there is no discussion about offering benefits from any bond issue to private schools.  Thousands of students attend private and parochial schools in Broward.

Board members questioned seem amenable to working out a deal with only the charter schools to win the parents support in a referendum.

“If it’s going to help us get a bond issue passed, I’ll consider it,” Rupert said. “When it comes to charters, they are our children, too.  I’m not closing any doors.”

16 Responses to “School Staff Romance Charter Schools To Get Support For A Bond Deal”

  1. Patti Lynn says:

    I would think that approaching the parents of charter school students directly might be more effective. Anything that would go through a “third party,”(Charter School operators), would offer the opportunity for editorializing, misconstruction, or non-sharing of information on that party’s part.Go to the source!!!Talk to the parents, let them know what the School Board is willing to offer to their children.

  2. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Buddy,someone on the School Board actually said this?

    “We have a problem working this out. Can we just give private companies that own these charter schools money to buy votes? ” another Board member said.

    I’m jaded, and I’m amazed. And they want the public to vote for more taxes?

    Giving out the contact info would be a major invasion of privacy, as well as probably illegal. I doubt charter schools would risk the lawsuits that would surely follow.


    Obviously this School Board member did not mean actually pay for votes, or give money to voters. They meant that by offering some benefit from the bond proceeds to the charter companies to improve their charter schools. Then charter parents would have a reason to support the bond referendum.

    That is exactly what the Board tried to do in the past by offering improvements almost every school and new schools to every area of the county. The only difference is that this money would go to charter schools rather than traditional public schools.

  3. Becky Blackwood says:

    After reading the recent newspaper article about Pembroke Pines Charter Schools which is considering turning their school system over to the for profit Charter Schools, USA and requiring all of their teachers to reapply for their jobs because they will be receiving less money than now and much less than the Broward County School teachers. After all, charter schools are about profit, something we all need to remember. I would suggest looking at those recently elected board members and seeing what charter school organizations gave to their campaigns. Why can’t the educational problems with Broward County Schools be solved instead of giving up and turning our schools over to for profit organizations? Most of those charter schools have no greater testing record than the public schools. Why isn’t the Board and the BTU looking for “real” solutions? Perhaps looking at some of the successful educational systems in the U.S. that are really working and trying something different. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    I will never understand why teaching as a profession is not respected for its importance to our society and why teachers are not paid more. After all, a baby sitter probably makes more money per hour than a teacher and does not provide them with an education that will serve them the rest of their lives.

  4. Becky Blackwood says:

    One of my ideas in my campaign was to start a centralized construction high school with architecture, construction, building inspection courses and courses in plumbing, electrical, mechanical, carpentry, masonry, etc. for students who do not wish to attend college and for those who do; they could go on to college for degrees in these fields. It would also provide a profitable career for those students who drop out of the school system. After all, do the math, 21% dropouts x 250,000 students x more than $6000 per student per year. I have spoken with some of the local union officials and construction associations who are looking for a skilled labor force. Perhaps, they would join in if the District showed some interest.

  5. HanSolo says:

    Recognizing all the failures of the past, why on earth would we reward this group with several hundred million dollars to throw around to their friends in the name of education? In the real world you demonstrate performance and you get rewarded. This group has done nothing but fail and they expect us to reward them? Why not make some tough decisions, get your finances in order, straighten out your boundaries, etc… show some improved academic accomplishments and then ask us to pay more taxes. Supporting continued failure, in the name of children’s education, is just another way to spread hundreds of millions around to the political elite, lobbyists, and those typical schoolboard hang-er-on-ers.

  6. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Becky Blackwood – you should be on the School Board! 🙂

    Maybe you could run against Ann Murray?

  7. Plain Language says:

    Becky Blackwood doesn’t know squat. First off charter schools are not about profit they are about offering parent choice to a traditional public school system that too often fails to perform for students. Companies that run charter schools are not private companies but not-for-profit corporations because the law requires it. Their funds are carefully audited and watched as a result.

    Second you don’t send a kid to any high school to learn plumbing or carpentry or any other trade. That is what an apprenticeship with a tradesman is all about. You send them to school today in the hope of getting them into college. At least some college so they can have a better life than us. Even if they end up working a trade they do so as a more educated person.

    Thank goodness the Becky Blackwood’s of the world are not in charge of education policy.

    That is the single most stupid, regressive, back-woods, ignorant thing I have ever heard anybody say about education. Becky Blackwood you stand alone as champion on that category and every single Broward citizen is not a slight bit stupider for having listened to you.

  8. Chaz Stevens, Militant Atheist says:

    Becky Blackwood says:
    One of my ideas in my campaign…

    Remind us again, how did that work out?

  9. garbage says:

    why does it feel that everyone here has an endgame…trying to massage each angle to their benefit. buddy, nothing has changed from notter to runcie.

  10. Floridan says:

    Plain Language says “Companies that run charter schools are not private companies but not-for-profit corporations because the law requires it. Their funds are carefully audited and watched as a result.”

    Oh that this were so – the Mimai Herald had a article a while ago about Academica, a for profit corporation that is one of the largest charter school management companies in South Florida. Another big player in this area is Charter Schools, USA. Neither are non-profits.

    “Second you don’t send a kid to any high school to learn plumbing or carpentry or any other trade.”

    Unless you send them to a public secondary school such as Atlantic Technical Center. Unfortunately, apprenticeships are becoming less and less common — businesses expect to hired trained employees.

  11. s only says:

    To Plain Language: YOU don’t know squat either about Charter Schools—which ARE for-profit owners. They run schools cheaper, and have very little incentive to pay experienced people what they deserve. The facilities and libraries, by and large, are worse than district schools. That being said, the school board should take a hard look at becoming partners, not adversaries, because charters are growing and district schools are shrinking. I think it’s a great idea to try to entice charter parents to vote for the bond issue, but making the pie even sweeter (than just offering old buildings) would help even more.

  12. Notocorruption says:

    It would wonderful to have a sane and reasoned voice like Ms. Blackwood on the School Board. She makes WAY TOO MUCH sense, which is in really short supply under the Chicago-transplant mob dominated by Runcie, Woods and the disgraced Tindall.

    Let’s get rid of them all. All nine Board Members. My district is represented by the whiskey and cigarettes-voice Abby Freedman who has to hide in the bathroom to dodge Bob Norman on TV for over 30 minutes. Worthless.

    We also have the retired bus foreman who had to refer to black Americans by a perjorative.

  13. Just Me says:

    OMG, in what cave has Plain Language been living in!! Anyone with half a brain knowns that starting in the 50’s there were special High Schools that offered Technical training in Automotive, Electrical, Needle Trades, etc. for students that would much rather work with their hands than go to collage. Not every child were meant to go to collage but a good education was still what was very important. Students had to qualify to get acceptance and had to maintain their grades. Ms. Becky comes from old school and OLD SCHOOL WORKS.
    New school has proved over and over It Doesn’t! Schools are too busy feeding Breakfast, lunch and dinner instead of demanding the parents to take responsibility.

  14. Becky Blackwood says:

    To Plain Language,

    Not every kid is going to college for many reasons – financial, mainly and also they may have interests in other areas not taught in college. Furthermore, the District does have magnet schools for architecture at one, engineering at another, carpentry at another, electrical at another.
    You can get college degrees in architecture, engineering and building construction so why not put all of these students together with common interests because even if they don’t go to college, they will be working together in the field constructing buildings.

    Working for the School Board, I saw too many unskilled workers who could not read plans, who could not lay a straight line of block, etc.

    If all students went to college, imagine what our national debt would be? My grandson is at Drexel University in Philadelphia and his debt, even with a National Merit Scholarship, exceeds $50,000.

    I don’t know what you paid your plumber for a repair lately, or an electrician but in many cases, it was far more than what many college graduates make.

    As for not-for-profit charter schools, our department inspected them when I worked for the School Board and you need to do some research because it just “ain’t” so.

  15. Mia says:

    Notocorruption hit the nail on the head. Why don’t people see the truth???

  16. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Friends,

    Public school parents want to send their kids to the best schools they can. Choice allows them to do that and that’s why parents want choice.

    Parents don’t care about silly debates between traditional or charter public schools. They don’t care whether the operator of their public school makes a profit or not. That’s unimportant to them.

    What matters is whether their kid is getting the highest quality education they can get for them. And they will do whatever it takes to get that for their children. That’s part of what loving your kids is all about so of course they support choice. And they couldn’t care less that the school district disagrees.

    Choice does one more thing that’s good. It creates competition and if you want to see the level of public education improve, competition will get you there. It is already getting us there.

    Disney consultants are not going to change that scenario. They can’t make the hateful lovable. And for sure, they will never convince charter parents — who are already stinging from their schools not receiving a fair share of their own tax dollars — to vote for any school bond issue that benefits every public school except the one their kid attends. Good luck trying to sell that one.

    Here’s a happy thought. Instead of hiring Disney why not make peace with charter schools. Treat them with equality and respect. Focus instead on improving academic performance at schools that are less than excellent.

    This parents will respect. To earn the admiration of a parent, to earn their trust and loyalty, you must first earn it through performance and by treating others respectfully. You can’t buy it.



    PS — By the way, even carpenters and plumbers should get at least some college under their belts because it makes you a more prepared and educated person. The notion that advanced education is somehow wasted on trades persons or would create economic difficulty is kind of shocking to hear.