Sun-Sentinel’s New Skepticism Slams Broward School Superintent Robert Runcie





The Sun-Sentinel is finally fed up with School Superintendent Robert Runcie’s whining.

The community’s largest media outlet has repeatedly gotten under Runcie’s thin skin.

When he doesn’t like their angle on a story, Runcie goes grumbling to writers and editors.

This isn’t about facts. This is about the spin that Runcie wants on those facts, according to sources at the newspaper.

The superintendent’s problem with the Sun-Sentinel is that they are covering him honestly, warts and all.

Runcie doesn’t want honest coverage. Like so many self-important public figures, Runcie wants to manage the news. He believes only his views count. He wants his slant on every school story.  And he is not afraid of bullying the staff of the newspaper to get his way.

Apparently he can’t bully Rosemary O’Hara, the editorial page editor of the newspaper.


Rosemary O'Hara

Rosemary O’Hara


I know O’Hara to say “hello.” That’s all. Although we never worked together, I’m a fan.

In the last few months, O’Hara has taken the gloves off and revitalized the Sun-Sentinel editorial page. She actually gets out of the Ivory Tower and shows up to report on news, extending the Sun-Sentinel’s diminished coverage. I’ve seen undergoing the torture of attending the interminable and confused Broward Health Commission meetings.

Runcie may be able to intimidate a young reporter. He may be able to cow a majority of the School Board, which is stocked with too many weaklings. With decades of experience in the media, O’Hara is a different story.

Recently, Runcie once again complained about Sun-Sentinel coverage. This time it was Scott Travis, the paper’s education writer and a veteran reporter, in the bullseye.



Scott Travis 

Travis wrote that Broward County Schools “may have to pay back $23 million after a state audit found it improperly distributed federal dollars designed to help low-income students.”

Almost before readers could download the story, Runcie was bellyaching that the story was inaccurate. He said that the district “will not have to replay $23 million in federal funds.”

A few days later, O’Hara’s editorial page fired back at the superintendent under the headline, “Runcie Flubs Response to Critical Audit.” The editorial said flatly that “the reporting was accurate. Runcie’s attempt at damage control damaged his creditability.”

That’s a polite way of saying that Runcie lied.

Let me clue Runcie in to something I learned from my life around media folks:

The more baseless complaints you make about reporters and editors, the tougher their coverage will be in the future.

Travis is another guy I hardly know. We worked at the same paper in different offices so I seldom saw him. That said, everything I hear about him indicates that Travis will not change his resolve to report on the Broward schools in a tough, honest manner.

I have written repeatedly about how the financially crippled Sun-Sentinel eviscerated news coverage.  I have written that they are becoming increasingly irrelevant in the new media world.

All that is true.

But in the Sun-Sentinel’s senescence there are bright spots. One of those bright spots is a new skepticism concerning the worst Broward school superintendent I remember in 40 years of covering government and politics: Robert Runcie.


(Personal note: The fortune’s of the Sun-Sentinel staff are more precarious than ever with the bid this week from Gannett to buy the paper’s parent company, Tribune Publishing.  Because of that, I don’t want this post to harm either O’Hara or Travis.  I want to assure any one reading that O’Hara and Travis were not interviewed, nor were they sources for this post.  I would bet they were surprised to see it.)




30 Responses to “Sun-Sentinel’s New Skepticism Slams Broward School Superintent Robert Runcie”

  1. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    How can a public official complain when a reporter is TOTALLY ACCURATE?
    I can understand differences of opinion, BUT HOW CAN YOU ARGUE OVER FACTS?
    What was the subject of Dr Runcie’s thesis? Josef Goerbbels?

  2. Servant_Forever says:

    “But in the Sun-Sentinel’s senescence there are bright spots. One of those bright spots is a new skepticism concerning the worst Broward school superintendent I remember in 40 years of covering government and politics: Robert Runcie.”

    With all the shenanigans and corruption that the district has suffered through over the last 20 years, I have to wonder how it is that Robert Runcie earns the title as “worst Broward Schools Superintendent”? What exactly has he done that is “worse” than his predecessors? As a reader, I simply do not know if this is the hyperbole of a writer with a ax to grind or a true and accurate representation of a public servant.


    Needless to say, the comment is my opinion. I have no axe to grind since my kids are long out of school. My wife was a teacher, but retired long ago from the system. My only interest is that Runcie is spending our dollars.

    I have known personally and covered periodically every school superintendent since the 1980s.

    Frank Till was bad and often didn’t tell the truth.

    Runcie is worse with his lies, poor hiring (How many construction managers? Remember the transportation chief whose buses couldn’t even pick up the students? Etc.), continued construction problems and cost overruns, the failure to fulfill promises to parents (Northeast and Stranahan High still waiting for repairs after how many years and how many promises?), favoritism to the same West Broward neighborhoods that was criticized for decades (Replacement roof at Cooper City High, while numerous eastern schools still wait.), his takeover of the school police and replacing a professional officer with a woman who has no law enforcement background to run investigations, the ego-mania (Broward schools actually included a question on a school test with his name in it!), the failure to carry through on pledges to teachers, etc., etc and etc.

  3. Thomas James says:

    Runcie is incompetent and should be terminated for cause.
    He has made a mess of the Broward system.
    Runcie is a Broad superintendent. Broad superintendents have great disdain for the public schools they allegedly lead.
    They have sold their souls to the corporate reform born headed by Jeb, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, the Walmart family, etc who have decimated American schools all in name of hedge fund profits.

  4. TRUTH SPEAKS says:

    UGH…. Here we go again….trailing behind this ‘he say she say’ mess. Both sides have a valid point, but at the end of the day, the FDOE has the final say. At this time, NO FUNDS HAVE BEEN ORDERED from the FDOE to be repaid. The Sun Sentinel jumped the gun on this one; they cant defend something that hasn’t been ordered from the FDOE yet. If and when the FDOE finish their investigation and give the order to repay, then im sure Runcie will act accordingly and make the necessary changes to avoid future occurrences. Its not the end of the world people!!!!

  5. I answered wrong says:

    Thanks for bringing it up Buddy. I failed my civics test because when asked who the Superintendent of Broward School was, I wrote in Mary Fertig.

    Sadly, I wish Mary Fertig was the Superintendent of Schools.

  6. Frank Morgan says:

    Buddy. In another post please tell us what’s going on inside the SUnSentinel. Will the current staff be kept on, or let go if its sold? What’s the moral now like ?


    The answers to these questions, from those I talk to inside the Sun-Sentinel:

    (1) Will the current staff be kept on or let go if it is sold? No one has knows. A more proper question is, will the current staff be kept on if it isn’t sold?

    (2) What is the moral like? Poor. The uncertainty of whether employees have a job tomorrow is not conducive to a pleasant working environment. If they remain employed, the staff has no idea what their pay, benefits or job descriptions will be like in the future.

  7. Anonymous says:

    No one ever has the guts to say that Runcie has packed the school system with marginally qualified hires because they look like him. Equal opportunity is fine with those qualified. He is ruining the schools for a generation because of his hiring choices.

  8. KC Wright says:

    We need the FBI to investigate how Runcie hired a school specialist to run SIU right after his chauffeur was caught using credit cards he shouldn’t. This woman isn’t even a law enforcement officer.

  9. KC Wright says:


    The Sun-Sentinel said the BCSB “may” have to pay back the money. Are you saying they shouldn’t write anything until the FDOE completes its investigation? So all of Runcie’s Cabinet and finance would know about the investigation, but the public has no right to know? Typical of BS bureaucratic school system thinking.

  10. Bob Babalima says:

    Veteran teacher here, making 49K after 22 years of good evaluations…a veteran like myself 10 years ago made 70K…at a ‘Teacher Town Hall’ a few months back, Runcie blamed Tallahassee for his district’s inability to honor the implied contract they dangled over our heads for 15+ years…yet buses have been replaced for propane powered ones and the district continues to stink of fraud and waste. Here’s the part you cannot even make up: Runcie travels with bodyguards! Three of them, one who even went to the bathroom with him at one point. How toxic is the relationship between him and his teachers when he feels he needs to travel with bodyguards to a public meeting with those same teachers? And how much are his bodyguards pulling in each year?!

  11. Scribe says:

    Sun Sentinel Editorial Page
    The editorial page staff has written some excellent editorials and Runcie deserves the wrath of the Sun Sentinel. These type of editorials, including the editorials regarding the North Hospital District are excellent. For some reason! The Sun Sentinel has given a pass to BSO and The Broward County Commission. The cronyism, ineptness and corruption in this County is rampant. Very easy pickings for a newspaper editor.
    Unfortunately, the Sun Sentinel’s recent Sunday lead editorial is often written by a jester and the accompanying op-Ed Page is a collection of several sentence tidbits which are hardly featured articles or meaningful commentaries. Why the editorial page/op Ed page goes from a professional piece of journalism on one day to a journalistic mockery the next day is puzzling and irritating. It is as if they have two editors, one having a degree from a prestigious university and the other from Twitter University.
    On a different note, I am seeing the Boston Globe now being sold at Publix and other outlets in Broward. Does it’ s owner, the former owner of the Marlins ,John Henry, have any plans to buy the Sun -Sentinel from the Tribune ( or it’s current suitor Gannett)? If not, I don’t know why he is trying to penetrate this market with such a narrow reader niche in Broward

  12. Browatd teachee says:

    I hope that last comment meant business minded people instead of education focused people. Or was that a racial thing. Lack of competence has nothing to do with color. It all about teaching our students. NOT MONEY, NOT RACE, we need more teachers who care about the students. That’s what’s wrong with our society now.

  13. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Mary Fertig pushed for the $800 million even though she knew what was going on because she was on the Audit Committee.

    He’s also not Dr. Runcie. By a long shot.

    He decided shortly after he came to Broward that he’d play the game. Always at the expense of the families and teachers.

  14. Rosemarie Jensen says:

    I will continue to repeat this. He is a Broad Academy Superintendent. His marching orders are to disrupt and dismantle public schools from the inside out. He comes from a long line of “run out on a rail” Broad superintendents. Don’t believe me? Here.. and here …
    and then my personal fave is this And that doesn’t even include Mary Elias who was voted out in Hillsborough County and picked up in NY where the parents are having a field day with her garbage. You have a board who allowed him to continue despite the issues including the fiasco with hiring the guy from Texas. Google is your friend folks. What better way to get parents to choose charters and vouchers, etc. and to eventually close them then to not upgrade their schools.I mean a beautiful new middle school was built and somehow it was quietly taken from the community to be used for district offices! Apparently accountability is only for teachers and students, right?

  15. Look East says:

    Please follow up on Sunrise Middle. Annoying her cover up by Runcie and the Proncial of the school.the gun with 59 bullets,other weapons,the assaults and gangs are not being reported or are made less than the actual offense. That is why all of the teachers have left,with another big exit this year.

  16. carolina says:

    I would still like to know how a “certain few” on the school board would even have given any consideration to hiring someone from a school district listed as the worst in the country – the Chicago School District. Their gain in their horrendous decision has resulted in the biggest loss to the Broward County School System. Thankfully we still have three on the board who still have working brains. They are desperately needed for our schools, our teachers, & most of all – our kids. THEY ARE THEIR SAVIORS!

  17. Dick Jerkins says:

    Buddy & everyone else who commented their garbage are all clearly racist! You guys sound just as smart as some inbred hillbilly who blames Prince’s death on Obamacare! Not only are u people racist but you guys hide out here to share your racist views. None of you people have enough balls (or a baggy Vage I guess) to speak up in public. And I’m white by the way & you guys make our whole race look bad.

  18. Talks like a politician says:

    Good for the SS staff for reporting on Runcie’s
    incompetence. However, nothing will change until the “ladies” on the School Board are voted out of office or more parents actually participate at the school level and at School Board meetings.

  19. Roger Moore says:

    How about the news about the SIU today? Is anyone in charge of anything ever held accountable? No, just the bottom of the totem pole teachers. They must be the reason the District is so bad, it couldn’t be the leadership.

  20. Zachary Taylor says:

    It is interesting when some of the posts call the race card. It has nothing to do with Runcie’s race. I was in attendance last night as Runcie had his new HR Chief try to explain why the district is not following one of their own policies, 4.9. This policy deals with discipline of employees. The district admitted they are out of compliance on not one case but at one point this year over 100. This involves staff from areas all over the district whose lives have been disrupted for as much as two years and some do not even know what they have done. Runice sat there and blamed it on thecieast police chief and his Chief of Staff. Runcie has known for years this department is out of compliance, yet he did nothing. He hired a new chief of the department and directed him to set up procedures to fix the problem but he never checked to see if he put procedures in place. In addition, the school district cannot find 2.4 million dollars!!!! The school board says all the time they will hold Runcie accountable, well, now is the time.

  21. No Surprise says:

    The best response of the night when asked a basic question about 4.9 was the absolute and complete silence and eye shifting going amongst the presenters. Dr. Osgood’s college students will learn a lot just by watching this circus on BECON, over, and over, and over. Don’t you just just love tough questions when there is nothing to hide.

  22. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    1. The Chicago School system under Arne Duncan was supposed to be making major academic progress n he was highly rated. I assume this was the backdrop of Dr Runcie being hired.
    2. Dr Rosalind Osgood appears dreadful but to the Blacks, Gays & Lesbians and those interested in affordable or subsidized housing for seniors hsndicapped & the poor she is involved in all theit issues by working as an advocate for these groups n interests. Of course they vote for donate to and volunteer for her. I live in her District where only last week a publication honoured her for education n housing programs.
    3. Everything starts with the PARENTS and the VOTERS. The Whites go to private schools so they dont care. The few Whites like the Board Members are only interested in advancing their PERSONAL interests.
    4. Mary Fertig according TO THIS BLOG was behind the elections of CINDI HUTCHINSON and STEPHANIE KRAFT – not “great picks”
    5. And finally Charlotte Greenbarg moved from Hollywood to Tampa I understand so there is no disinterested person to monitor the Board left from the citizenry

  23. Rotten Tomatoes says:

    Last nights board workshop was quit disturbing.
    I want to acknowledge Robin Bartleman and Nora Rupert as they are “not afraid” to stand up for what and who is right in the Education System.
    Why the others are not on board I do not understand but the election for 3 of them can’t come soon enough.
    The flat out lies from RR’s mouth and his Puss N Boots is outrageous. Why are the other board members scared to let the truth air or are they scared of Puss N Boots too? (RR wants us to believe Puss N Boots saved his life really?)
    The question from above: Runcie’s bodyguards salary is public record he currently makes $86,000 a year and he only holds a high school diploma. Why don’t you see him driving with RR these days is because he is still under investigation and was re assigned to transportation but now re assigned somewhere secret
    The violation of the 4.9 policy Disciplinary Guidelines I (a) is a joke.
    The guidelines do not apply to RR’s posey as Puss N Boots has already violated
    II category B (h) which there are facts and proof so what are the board members really waiting for ? there missing millions of dollars. RR has made them look like complete idiots. What’s next?
    Because of Puss N Boots the SBBC has lost two very important staff members Chief Williams and Major Pollock. It seems RR is anti police? How many more employees is the Board going to let RR lose?
    What’s it going to take ?

  24. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    To change a county school board you have to

    1. Recruit candidates with money friends n a clean as a whistle background
    2. Put together a team of LOCAL volunteers who have not only friends BUT NO ENEMIES.
    3. You have to get your candidate a “good press” not only in the print media but local tv n the bloody internet including blogs
    4. You have to register new voters
    5. You have to assist people getting absentee ballots
    6. You need to write produce n distribute at least one good mailer EXPLAINING WHY YOUR CANDIDATE IS RUNNING N HOW THEY ARE QUALIFIED.
    7. You have to hold coffee klatches with at least LOTS OF JELLY DONUTS
    8. You need to arrange transporation on election day
    9. You need election observers on Election Day
    10 You need an Election Lawyer or two on Election Day
    11 You need volunteers to hold up signs Election Day near Polls
    12 You need a phone bank to get out your supporters

    Now do you understand busy people cant be bothered with School Board Elections?

  25. Juliet Hibbs says:

    @ anyone pulling the race card. I have been standing up to Runcie since 2012…in public. I stepped out to protect my female students that was sexual assaulted (not that it matters, but she was African American), the boy beated up (on camera) over a bag of potato chips by a white assistant principal (African American Man) and I supported an African- American Assistant Principal against our white abusive principal. As for Dr. Osgood, she came after me first. Not listening because she only sees the power and the selfie opportunities.

    Students, staff, parents and the tax payer are worse off due to Robert W. Runcie and all the lies he told. that boy beaten over potato chips is on youtube Mr. Runcie says there are NO problems at DBHS. 4 sexual assaults in may 2012 (girls bullied out of school by administration)

    Mr. Runcie is a criminal that covers up crimes against children to serve his purpose. I rarely use the term, but Robert Runcie is EVIL. Ruining the lives of children all over Broward County

  26. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    @25 Juliet Hibbs screams about Dr Rucie n Dr Osgood BUT SEXUAL ASSAULT IS A CRIME WHICH THE STATE ATTORNEY IS CHARGED WITH INVESTIGATING N CHARGING. Neither Dr Runcie or Dr Osgood is part of the Stste Attorneys Office.
    This is why Dr Runcie survives in part – some of his detractors make NO SENSE!

  27. WestDavieResident says:

    I currently have kids in BCPS. The school systems has my cell number for emergency communications.

    Two day ago, they texted me and ens of thousands of other parents (I confirmed this when talking to other parents at the soccer field)some very important news ….. they have openings for bus drivers.

    Yes, they sent a text to tens of thousands of parents to recruit bus drivers!

    Seriously? This is a big enough concern to text us?

    While I am sure a lack of drivers is a problem for the school system, I would rather they spend their time and money recruiting better quality teachers AND a new Superintendent!

  28. Becky Blackwood says:

    To No. 24:

    You left out the need for money to reach the widest audience. One past board member spent $104,000 to win a $38,000 seat. Fair press wouldn’t hurt either. More than 3 minutes to get your message out at different organizations, too.

  29. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    @28 Miss Blackwood I put “moneyed friends” as ITEM 1., but with the SUN SENTINEL and every free weekly with paid content celebrating the School Board members an incumbent really cant lose.
    With help from one friend and modest contributions from developers back at the turn of the century I started a weekky that published a city’s Agenda that pressured the City to publish it on the internet n give people notice. The need for huge amounts of money to run is overstated. The clowns on the School Board could be history IF PEOPLE CARED just to contribute n volunteer modestly. ITS THE VOTERS WHO ELECT SCHOOL BOARDS BECAUSE DOLLARS DONT VOTE!

  30. juliet hibbs says:

    @Count. You are correct.but Eunice refused to follow the directive from that indictment. Osgood BLINDLY follows Eunice and his criminal leadership and RUNCIE was ordered by the BOARD on June 19, 2012 to investigate Jon Marlow and DBHS. All the covwring up of crimes. It that indictment. Broward either enept or corrupt and nothing could be this enept