School Superintendent’s Mixed-Up Aide: Pro Tax or Anti Tax?





Pro-School Bond spokeswoman Sheela VanHoose seems to be politically schizophrenic.

Is she for new taxes, or against them?

Let me explain.

VanHoose is one of Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie’s closest aides as director of legislative affairs. She is frequently at Runcie’s side and he appointed her a school system point person to sell the public on $800 million in new bonds.

In that role, VanHoose preaches the gospel of new taxes to pay for the school bonds.

At the same time VanHoose is part of Gov. Rick Scott’s anti-tax re-election team.

VanHoose greeted Scott when he arrived last week in Coral Springs on his Lets Keep Working Tax Cuts re-election bus tour.

Here is part of a Tampa news article about the tour:

On Labor Day, Governor Rick Scott kicked off a two week, 28-stop “Let’s keep working” tax cut tour to highlight his $1 billion tax cut proposals.

“We’ve already cut taxes 40 times and we need to continue to put money back into your pocket,” says Governor Rick Scott.

When the campaign bus arrived in Broward, VanHoose was there.  She was fashionably dressed – for a Republican — sporting a blue Rick Scott tee shirt.

The event took place in the middle of a workday – 2 p.m. Thursday – when she was supposed to be on the clock, I might add.




(VanHoose is on the left, standing next to Republican Committeewoman Sharon Day, who is wearing black.  That’s State Rep. George Moriatis, R-Fort Lauderdale, second from right. Click to enlarge.)





image number two

(Gov. Rick Scott hugs VanHoose. Click to enlarge.)


Van Hoose was warmly greeted by the governor, who was part of his administration in the early days. That was when Scott was slashing spending for education.

It is those Rick Scott spending cuts for school construction that is forcing Broward to borrow $800 million in bonds, according to Runcie.

VanHoose was always a strange fit for the public school system in Democrat-heavy Broward. It is said that Runcie hired her to curry favor with Rick Scott.

You see how that worked out.

So now VanHoose presents one face  – a pro-tax bond saleswoman.

And another that backs Rick Scott, a strictly anti-tax governor.





26 Responses to “School Superintendent’s Mixed-Up Aide: Pro Tax or Anti Tax?”

  1. curious says:

    Glad to see our tax dollars that pay this woman’s salary are used to pay her to go to this event for a few hours in the middle of a week day

    It was clear she was more than a casual supporter attending the rally. She was barking orders to staff, organizing who would be in the photos and even brought a woman and her baby up to the front of the room for a photo op with the Gov.

  2. Tamarac Talk says:


    I was there covering the Rick Scott event as well and another writer pointed her out to me. The first thing I thought was…how did she cut out of her busy job to come here? The event was pretty long too.

  3. Frank White says:

    Sounds like a typical Charlie Crist Republican.

  4. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    In matters such as this, we would strongly benefit from a healthy dose of moderation.

    The role of government is to do those things in our people by majority vote demand, which (a) they cannot do do for themselves, and (b) the private sector cannot or will not provide for them as well or at all. Candidates run for office offering proposals, some which come from people and others they invent themselves. The people deliberate and by majority vote a platform for our future is determined. T

    he agreement of all with that agenda is not required, but civility does demand that the will of the people be respected and that personal preference in such matters yield to the will of the majority. When this is not the governing force, we cease being a civilized democracy and fall into anarchy.

    Some of those things government does have long been established and part of the ordinary business of governing. Others arise or are removed from the duties of government over time as the needs of society change.

    The rule of thumb is we as individuals do for ourselves, first and foremost.

    When the thing needed can’t be done by individuals, we then turn to the private sector to satisfy that need. And when they can’t or won’t, then by will of the people it MAY become a job that government does for them. This is American democracy.

    Through elections, the majority of people voting decide. After the election some of us may not necessarily agree, and our agreement is not required.

    A civil expectation does exist to respectfully accept the will of the majority and yield in the direction of what their will demands. Otherwise we fail to respect the majority and that is NOT American democracy. Respect isn’t talk, it’s action.

    Once that’s settled, we consent to be taxed to pay the cost of the government. That tax should not be more than government needs, nor less than what is required to properly satisfy the mandate of the people.

    Sometimes the people’s majority will demand more from the government than at other times. The consequence of those decisions are always self-imposed by the people themselves. In that way the size and scope of government reflects what the majority wants and is only at odds to the extent that the will of the majority is not met. That’s how America is supposed to work.

    When we lose touch with those governing dynamics, as we increasingly see happening, we cease being a democracy. We stop being America.



  5. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    Sadly although civic activists on this blog proved to me the bond issue should not be approved until this runcie clique is history, i bet using patronage n ethnic politics it will go thru

  6. Too funny says:

    The aide’s actions are being defended by Angelo who routinely writes novel like comments on here during his work day at BSO. Discuss…

  7. Sam The Sham says:

    Wrong again Angelo.

    You probably missed the part in the constitution that says we are a republic, not a democracy. The majority does not rule, but an elected legislature does.

    I do not “respect” the majority but rather, I respect the minority. And what can be a smaller minority than the individual? The majority has a nasty habit of squashing individual rights and freedoms for the sake of the majority. That is called tyranny. Are you for that?

  8. PandaBear says:

    Why is it Clinton and Lewinsky come to mind when I see hug pic? Why is it she wants to appear overconfident with the plastic hand-on-the-hip thing like a Kardashian. lol Notice the other three women and the man take pictures in a “normal” pose. That in and of itself says a lot.

  9. Elroy John says:

    A tax and a bond are the same thing? Since when? I haven’t had occasion to “talk shop” with Sheela in some time, but back when we did, she always struck me as being a fairly reasonable Republican. I could see that person making a distinction between a long term, interest bearing, investment instrument and a compulsory exaction. Just sayin’…


    No, they aren’t the same thing. But the effect is the same — increasing the property tax bill.

    The $800 million school bonds will increase property taxes by an average of $50 for a home valued at $225,000…if you believe the school system’s own figures. I don’t necessarily believe anything coming out of the public school’s HQ because of their long history of mistakes and outright misrepresentations to the public. In this case, the system has never revealed how they made the assumption that it would only cost $50 per year. For instance, did they account for changing interest rates? Did they account for rising property values over 30 years?

    A tax pays for items as they are used.

    A bond is debt, paying for spending today with tomorrow’s dollars.

    I would think a good Republican would be against creating more debt that their children would have to pay.

    And, of course, the school system already doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to debt:

    Moody’s downgrades Broward Co. S. D.’s (FL) Issuer Rating to Aa3 from Aa2, and School Board’s COP rating to A1 from Aa3; outlooks revised to stable from negative
    Global Credit Research – 07 Oct 2013
    Assigns MIG 1 to Broward Co., S.D., FL’s TANS, Ser. 2013
    New York, October 07, 2013 —

  10. tell the truth says:

    just some trying to play both sides of the street.

    Scott will be re-elected.

    And Broward’s $800,000,000.00 bond referendum will be DOA on Nov. 4.

  11. Ghost of McLovin says:

    @Elroy John – Q:Who pays the debt service on the Bond(not-a-tax)? A: Broward County property owners. Q:What method of revenue collection is utilized? A: Ad Valorem tax assessment. Q: Can property owners choose not to pay the debt service on the Bond? A: NO. Repayment of the debt service is mandatory. Q: Is a Bond Issue a Tax? A: Yes it is. NEVER VOLUNTARILY VOTE TO RAISE TAXES UPON YOURSELF FOR ANY REASON. It’s unnecessary, the School Board is the largest portion of your tax bill already – let them run a tighter ship

  12. KC Wright says:

    They want the public to pass a bond while she goofs off when they should be working. She should be fired for campaigning in the middle of the day.

  13. Just Wondering says:

    You imply that she was at this event on school board time, but did you check to see if she took the time off to be there? If she did attend on school board time then that’s a problem and I feel she should be disciplined, otherwise I see no issue with her being there even though you would never find me attending a campaigning event for Rick Scott. I can’t say that I have never taken time of work to attend to personal matters.

    Not that I agree with all of Runcie’s decisions, but I actually think it is rather smart of him to hire someone who is in favor with the governor’s office, don’t you? Hopefully Scott loses the election and if/when that happens we’ll see if she sticks around.

  14. Seth Platt says:

    It should be noted, and continues to go unmentioned that this new bond tax will replace the old debt service on the bonds that are due to expire that homeowners have been charged. Therefore it is not necessarily a new tax but a renewal of debt service on bonds to pay for school improvements.


    The old debt is due to expire. This is a new tax which would replace the expired debt.

    If you have a house, it is like taking another mortgage when the first one is paid off. You continue to have monthly payments, instead of not having monthly payments.

    And, of course, this is just one third of the money the school system has already said it will ask for at some point in the future.

  15. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Seth Platt is a classic example of how lobbyists twist things to try to put a pretty face on a very ugly tax.

    It’s especially bad because as Buddy pointed out, it goes far out and reduces the district’s ratings. They’re already over the limit for indebtedness and have been for a long time.

    It’s putting lipstick on a wart hog.

    Sup’t. Runcie and Ms. Van Hoose have really stepped in it this time. Sup’t. Runcie won’t do a thing about it, of course. Neither will the Board. What a bunch.

  16. funny says:

    Gotta love Baby Platt, someone who never worked for anything or earned something his daddy didn’t hand him on a silver platter trying to convince the rest of us 99%ers that the Bond is not a tax when it clearly is one.

  17. Seth Platt says:

    Geez getting so a guy can’t sign his own name to a blog without being ripped for no good reason.

    @Charlotte I am not twisting anything, I simply pointing out the old debt expires a new one is put in place and not much will change on your property tax bill. This has been under-reported. I am not even sure I support the School Bond currently, as I believe it harms the more important CSC referendum on the ballot. I’ll await your apology.

    You can underestimate or discount my capabilities at your own expense. I am not part of the 1% and spend countless resources advocating for the middle and lower class.

  18. tell the truth says:

    BOTH the $800,000,000.00 broward school bond AND the Childrens Services Council 10 more years of handouts will be DOA on Nov. 4

  19. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Some charter schools can’t even last a day; taxpayers are the losers
    John Romano, Tampa Bay Times Columnist
    Monday, September 8, 2014 6:14pm

    …school districts are not allowed to focus on past performance when considering a charter application. That’s how a company that had three charters fail on the opening day of classes this year can still have four new school proposals in South Florida.

    Furthermore, the state often overrules local districts when they try to deny applications. Two charter applications that were nixed by Palm Beach County officials won appeals from the state. Neither school survived even a single day. The Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale reports the state reverses about 60 percent of charter appeals.

    “These are your tax dollars being wasted,” said Dot Clark, the Pinellas official who coordinates charter applications. “When you have a group with a record of not being successful and you’re not allowed to consider that when they’re asking for more money? When you think of it that way, it’s almost criminal the Legislature allows it.” …

  20. Sorry Seth says:

    Funny was wrong, Seth like his parents are limousine liberals that throw crumbs to the peasants as they drive around rio vista over the lauderdale yacht club to watch Slim do a little shuck n jive while he ladles out their conch chowder.

  21. Marlin Mike says:

    There are two very simple points I would like to make here.

    1. My guess is that everyone who was at the Scott event had taken time off of work to do so. One would think super liberal Tamarac Talk would understand that employees can take time off.

    2. I do not know Seth, but you need to give him a break on this one. Looks to me as he was just pointing out the facts here. And I don’t think anyone else has made that point on any blog, so thank you!

  22. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Thanks Sam,

    I am aware that we are a representative democracy, a republic, a constitutional republic, American democracy, all those things are ways we describe our system. Ours is a form of democracy and I think we all know that and have for a long time.

    Here’s what we don’t seem to know anymore.

    How to behave in ways that show respect to that form of government and that responds to the needs of our citizens. There we have lost our way and your comments help explain why, I say that with respect, but once the captain (the people) select a course, we need to relearn how to row in the same direction.

    Or get out of the boat.


  23. Broward Boy says:

    Finally someone sees the real story. My hat’s off to Ha Ha Ha comments may I add

    Why are your articles of mismanagement of public funds always geared at the public school systems? Why isn’t the mismanagement of public funds geared at the Governor’s office ever involved in these articles and comments?

    For a great example:

    The most recent Charter School to close in Sunrise received $400,000 in taxpayer dollars, with a $25,000 start-up grant from the state Department of Education and $364,037.23 from the Broward school district only to close in the first month of school due to construction delays. If that was a Public School you would have been all over this story with your accusations of Mismanagement and Incompetence.

    Here’s another idea

    Broward County has had 30 charter schools close in a years’ time only to have these same organizations reapply to the state with the same management and continue to get funding from the Governor. Why are those Charter organizations that have a proven track record not more upset with this waste of tax money as well. How much of our tax payer’s money (and Lottery money) have been squandered to support these unscrupulous Charter schools is a joke Hundreds of Millions are squandered, while public schools, public Universities, legitimate charter schools and private education suffer, while the Governor campaigns on how much money he’s putting into Florida’s education.

    State funding per student is at an all-time low, down $200 per child. Children who deserve to benefit from the Bright Futures Programs, which were supposed to benefit from the Lottery are denied. Bright Future Scholarships are down 50% so the Governor can throw our money away again and again in the name of free enterprise. Where is his accountability?

    An Excerpt of a Sun Sentinel article Now this is real informative reporting:

    Two more charter schools close abruptly, sending parents and students scrambling
    The quick closures illustrate the danger of handing taxpayer dollars to charter schools operators without requiring that they undergo background checks, produce evidence of financial backing or secure buildings well in advance of their openings. A Sun Sentinel investigation in June found that virtually anyone who can adequately fill out a lengthy application can open or run a charter school. These schools are publicly funded but privately run. Florida law does not require charter school operators to provide a certificate of occupancy until 15 days prior to the start of school.
    . To full read articles below:,0,7785123.story

  24. Frank White says:

    Charter schools are public schools.

  25. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Seth, because one bond issue is expiring is no justification for putting another long term debt in its place. The point is that the property tax bills need to change, and have needed to for a long time. The status quo isn’t acceptable.

    Buddy explained it very well.

    And no apology is warranted. On the one hand you try to explain away the school tax and on the other you claim you’re not sure if you support it because it’ll hurt the CSC renewal.


  26. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @23 – This is an excellent illustration of the fiscal irresponsibility of Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature. In a prior comment I showed how Republicans at the federal level falsely promise to be fiscally responsible but then generate far higher levels of government spending and federal deficits. The fiscal mess that is Florida’s charter schools fiasco shows that Republicans at the state level also falsely promise fiscal responsibility but then let scumbags and scoundrels repeatedly steal millions of dollars from Florida’s children. Have they no shame?!?