Task Force: More Trouble In Public Schools!




Are the Broward public schools ready for a new bond issue?

Do taxpayers have enough confidence in the way our money is being spent to approve up to $1 billion in new school spending?

You decide.

But only decide after reading this report from the Facilities Task Force, prepared for delivery to the School Board today.  The Facilities Task Force is a citizens group that advises and makes recommendations to the School Board and Superintendent on the construction, planning, maintenance and monitoring of school facilities.

Here is the task force’s presentation:


Good Morning Board Members and Superintendent Runcie and members of the public.

In a previous facilities meeting we had a motion which requested that prior to outsourcing or renewing of outsourcing we need to review our internal costs verses external costs.  Disappointed that this is not common practice.

Currently lawn cutting at schools for athletic fields in performed exclusively by our own staff.  Common Area Turf Care is performed by 3 different methods, Specialized team of lawn cutters, custodial staff and outsourced.  We agreed trying to get accurate numbers from the costs of using custodial staff would not be accurate.  Mr. Sam Bays isolated the costs between outsourced and internal team of lawn cutters.

After about 8 months of working with Sam Bays Director, Physical Plant Operations, Mr. Bays final calculations were presented..  The final turf care analysis which is exclusively for Common Area Turf Care and disregards the cost of Athletic Field Turf Care. The  Comparative cost was $50.60 an acre for Green Horizons & $140.91 an acre for in-house.  Our costs are 280% more when performed by our own employees versus Green Horizons.

Sam Bays did inform us that the Greater City Schools stated Broward is on target. This is caused by outsourcing more acres than our internal staff cuts.

Disappointed that management has  not looked at a time/motion study, it has no data to log hours of equipment usage.  Some county’s track the hours log in the vehicles to determine the efficiency of employee, because the productivity only occurs while driving the lawn mower.

Motion:  FTF moves that the BCPS reduces the in-house cost of cutting the common areas to be competitive with outsourcing within 25%.  Requesting that this be done for fiscal year 2014/2015 with the backup information included.  (11 yeah, 1 opposed) .

Member who opposed motion was a BTU teacher,  he wanted it in the minutes that he supports outsourcing grounds keeping immediately, and not give the staff the opportunity to attempt to improve.

Disappointed with transportation.  Your workshop document on page 4 and 5 from last year shows 70 million as the budget for this year.  We are well over that budget by 14 million.  I enclosed a link to your workshop document.

Budget information that was provided to Board Members should have shown that ridership went down from 80k to 75k, so it appears are actual per student cost increased significantly. A more valid matrix would be per student cost, not total budget.

We look forward to transportation’s presentation to the Facilities Task Force in January, as well working on the needs assessment project.

Board members may have learned about the concerns with residence on Campus thru their appointee or thru the media.

Motion:  Facilities Task Force expresses its concern to School Board of Broward County over facilities occupied by approximately 32 individuals known as Residence on Campus, ROC’s, without current legal basis or contract, and request that the Board attorney and Chief of school police address this issue immediately, and remove all unauthorized persons living on school property as soon as possible.

After that meeting I received a copy of this document showing the transfer of a ROC’s from father to son, which is a document enclosed.  If this is a program it should have a more formal interview process of selecting candidates, waiting list, lottery, not simply passing it on from friend to friend or father to son.

I have noted some tension between the board members and the perceived role of the Facilities Task Force.

The Facilities Task Force shall provide a forum for community participation in the planning, construction, maintenance, and monitoring processes of the Broward County school facilities and make recommendations to The School Board of Broward County, Florida, that will promote excellence in Broward County school facilities. The Facilities Task Force shall review individual school needs assessments and recommend priorities to the School Board for the District Facilities Work Program/Capital Budget.

The Facilities Task Force shall provide input to the District’s Educational Specifications Committee. The Facilities Task Force shall advise the School Board on specific observations, potential problems, and successes relative to maintenance of facilities, new construction, and renovation and remodeling projects.

We are open and a transparent committee that share our information with the board and the public, including the media.

I encourage board members to communicate with your appointee monthly to address concerns.  If you do not have an appointee, or your appointee missed the committee’s meeting please do not hesitate to call me.

Cooper City 3 million change order, this should hard bid it.  It’s a new roof, separate project.

Your internal auditors are perfectly capable of performing these tasks and question using McGladrey’s services for $170k.




Andrew Ladanowski, chairman


44 Responses to “Task Force: More Trouble In Public Schools!”

  1. Rico Petrocelli says:

    Candid, and factual reporting. I commend this Board for getting the information out to us, the taxpayers.

    I still cannot support the $1 Billion bond when every week something about management of funds, or excessive costs, and over budget issues arise.

    Rico Petrocelli

  2. Git R Done says:

    Rico, I totally agree w/you on this, there is no money for this!!!

  3. Tamarac Talk says:

    Andrew Ladanowski deserves a lot of credit for bringing these serious issues forward. Sadly, he ran for School Board in District 4 last year and didn’t win. The public truly did not know who he was and I encourage him to run again.

  4. Ed says:

    The mowing crews are responsible for and perform many more tasks than just simply cutting grass. What a narrow minded outside view. You realize that only 12 employees in the entire school board are top payed mower operators, anyway. Real money can be saved in so many other areas…..

  5. Freedom says:

    Within the study on the lawn cutting service. Do the employees from the lower cost company give their employees a living wage and healthcare or any other benefits? Workers are entitled to a living wage. I would like to make sure that we are saving money and spending it wisely. But, we need to make sure that we are not creating a working underclass of working poor.

  6. Scott P. says:

    Broward Schools mowing crews do a hole lot more then mow the grass at the school they take care of an they pay taxes an the money stays in this Country unlike Outsourcing it to a company that has Unqualified Immigrants to do the work an send the money out of this Country an put some thought into when a flood or hurricane comes the outsourcing company will be doing there own thing now who do we call ” The Mowing crews ” an they will be working to get the schools back up an Going ASAP while the outsourced company is doing there fly by night jobs to collect as much money as they can make an forget about the set cost they charge to cut grass at some schools!!! There’s alot more to look at in saving money then what’s being looked at from the outside!!!

  7. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    Ed, Not sure where your data is from. If you look at payroll there 25 tractor mower positions. There are 14 small mower operators. I have email the board’s entire payroll to Browardbeat for them to analyze and confirm my findings. In addition, we also have custodial staff that are cutting lawns. Plus we have a contract for almost 6 millions dollars. Lawn cutting is a lot of money. Most people do not understand how much money is spent.

  8. Former Panther says:

    As a former teacher in a private school in Broward, I will never forget when they outsourced the grounds maintenance and custodial services at our school. Alice and her husband had been maintaining the lower school for 20+ years and were close to retirement. When the company came in everything went downhill. The look and feel of the entire campus changed. My classroom began to have things missing. All consistency was lost because a different person was in my room each day, none of whom spoke English. The playground was a disaster with parts being damaged and destroyed. Sure sometimes they would fix it but how many months later? I left a couple years ago when we moved away. I heard Alice is making birthday cakes trying to make ends meet and her husband was not able to find a job. Everything has a cost.

  9. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    Scott, each of the employees of the contractor get a contractors badge thru issued thru the school board which is Jessica Lunsford Act Vendor Compliance Process. With respect to living wages. This is a issue I look at everyday. We have two extremes. In the private sector where 80% of us work, position like lawn service and food service salaries are very low. Too low. I would like to see a living wage ordinance probably around $12 or minimum wage raised. Then we have the school board who goes to the other extreme paying lawn cutter more than teachers with up to 15 years experience. If public schools want to survive against charter schools they need to be efficient. They need to be able to reduce cost’s in performing services in order to get the cash to properly maintain the schools and keep quality teachers. If we can not maintain our schools, parents will simply go to charter schools.

  10. Ed says:

    Any top pay mower operator has worked 20 years already in the system. This is a skilled employee. Not one that worked at Wendy’s last week. These people are also screened and regularly drug tested. (Try to get teachers to agree to this.) They are loyal and even though paid well, haven’t had a raise of any mention in about six years. This is not the group to target.

  11. Independent says:

    Simple answer. NO on bond issue.

  12. Ed says:

    I didn’t mean that only 12 people cut grass. I meant that only very few are at the top pay. Most get much less. The top people will retire, leaving the ones that make less. Now that there are no more pay “steps” in the Contract, those employees will likely never see what is now the highest wage.

  13. Ed says:

    As far as charter schools go, they are failing. Several have shut down. Several more to come. As far as comparing a mower operators 12 month pay (only 12 at top pay) to a teacher that works about 9 months a year,I say the comparison is rediculous. It’s something to get the general public upset. It does. But is not realistic.

  14. Robert says:

    I have yet to hear the Answer about a flood or hurricane Andrew an you know for sure your facts are 100% correct an you have watched the outsourced company not go to a corner store an pick up illegals right? An do there few guys have CDL licensed an do they get random drugs test? Ofcourse they don’t!!!! But the guys that will be cut sure do!

  15. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    Well there is 14 classified at tractor-mower operator and 10 as small mower operator for a total of 24 which at top pay, not 12 as you now retracted twice. Ed your credibility has been completely lost. Teacher takes over 22 years to reach top pay, as a lawn cutter it appears to take only 17 years. My information is based on research. Teachers is consider 10 months not 9.

  16. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    Here’s the info on the top Tractor Operators
    First Last MI DOB Hire_Date Pay
    WILLIAM BANKS NULL 11/03/1954 01/23/1989 51064.00
    CARL JOHNSEN V 11/23/1960 03/06/1989 51064.00
    WILLIE SIMMONS F 10/25/1963 03/28/1996 51064.00
    RICHARD BEALS C 06/24/1963 04/21/1988 51064.00
    CHARLES OWENS NULL 11/28/1964 04/24/1989 51064.00
    MICHAEL CAMPBELL A 06/19/1959 05/24/1983 51064.00
    MICHAEL CHISHOM D 11/24/1959 06/08/1987 51064.00
    RON KONOPINSKI A 09/05/1974 06/13/1996 51064.00
    LEONARD BOGGAN R 06/02/1969 07/03/1995 51064.00
    JAMES JENNINGS A 09/06/1974 08/23/1996 51064.00
    JOHN BELL S 04/21/1970 09/15/1988 51064.00
    RICHARD SIMPSON NULL 05/15/1974 09/26/1995 51064.00
    TIMOTHY BACHMANN NULL 07/03/1961 09/27/1983 51064.00
    ROBERT WRIGHT L 02/18/1965 10/17/1990 51064.00
    JAMES BACHMANN R 05/21/1952 10/27/1988 51064.00
    WILLIE BURNS E 01/08/1953 11/18/1991 51064.00

  17. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    I would like the county to implement living wages. It appears we have two extremes for people doing the same job on school campus’s. One group probably gets around $10-12 an hour with no healthcare, no benefits, no insurance, and another group gets paid $25 an hour with great benefits and can retire as early as 50 years old.

  18. What an asshole says:

    Andrew just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Listing the names of the employees serves no purpose than to let everyone crap on them. They didn’t create the problem, they just showed up to work. This is the districts problem. Yes it is public record but those people dont deserve to be criticized for going to work and paid under a contract the bcsb negotiated.

  19. Becky Blackwood says:

    One point which has not been mentioned is that the School Board’s costs per acre does not include the costs of the lawnmowing equipment. Whereas the vendor/contractor has to have it in his overhead and fee in order to be able to purchase new when the equipment wears out. The School Board’s Grounds department should look at ways to reduce their costs, just as any business would do during down times. Just because someone pays taxes does not guarantee them a job for the rest of their working life. Time/motion studies were being performed by Mike Marchetti and his division in the late 90’s but was discontinued within one year. It took six months for maintenance to do an interior remodel of a building with four small offices and a conference room on the Hortt complex. The building could not have been more 1200-1500 sf.

  20. Ed says:

    Like I previuosly stated, there are no more pay “steps” as there used to be that would eventually place someone at their top pay. New hires come in at a fraction of top pay and get at best a very small raise every couple of years. Eventually these will be all that’s left. Lesser paid mower operators. (With benefits?) I don’t have the numbers in front of me And I don’t work on the mower crew, however I do work for the school board and I can tell. you that these are good people that do a great job. Even if no one considers their livelyhoods, there will be other repercussions. The outside vendors will
    not be adequate.

  21. Chris says:

    Wow, Andrew knows alot. Now if you Andrew would have got the job with the District I bet you’d be writing with the others that are for them rather against them. Posting the info of naming certain People DOB an Hire Date is Slander in my eyes.

  22. The Real Truth says:

    slander is when one person tells an untruth about another. What he posted was not slander, it just was not prudent. Prudent being defined as exercising good judgement. Just because he used poor judgement in listing names, DOB, and salary doesn’t mean that he used poor judgement in his analysis of the in-house versus outsourced situation.

  23. Sam says:

    Wow Andrew your short sightedness amazes me! Do you think that the vendor will be there the day after a hurricane to clear the school of debris and make sure that no kid gets a falling tree branch (widow maker) in the face? No! they will be at home with there family or running for the fast buck they can make somewhere else. And if they were there you are not accounting for what you will be paying them to know they will be there. What they get paid to do now is mow blow and go. The vendors might have badges but last year one worker was seen by parents relieving right in front of a school. If you want your school kids future and safety to be contingent on the bottom dollar then yes it might seem the vendor or charter schools offer that but to what sacrifice. As soon as the vendor has the contract they will have to provide more services(things small mowers do now) and the price will sky rocket. Do you know that the vendor won’t even cut up a branch that has fallen or pick up a palm frond Andrew? I bet not! Do you know who gets called for that? The small mower and tractor operators. Tractor operators also repair football and baseball fields constantly to keep the kids safe. Did you know that? Maybe that’s why you were not elected to the board last year. No body wants to work with someone who cannot see both sides of the story.

  24. Sam says:

    Sam P.S.

    Also Andrew, You are comparing a teachers base salary to that of a tractor operator. Base salary is not what they end up with. That is so unfair. That base salary goes up with every class they teach, every class they take, every degree they get and every raise,and well it should. Tractor pay is set and they did not see a raise for 7 years. When they did get one it was 2% last year. Lets compare oranges to oranges.

  25. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    Sam interesting point as teacher acquired more education they will receive more pay. If teachers do more work, extra class’s, is like being paid overtime. They go back to school get more degrees they get paid more. If a lawn personnel wants to go back to school at get more degrees move up to management, they should receive a raise, just like a teacher.

  26. Freedom says:

    The question should not be why the lawn people make a living wage the question is why are 15 year teachers pay so little. Also, why would you publish peoples names and dates of birth, is it really pertinent to the issue? Andrew what do you make, do you have a pension, what is your date of birth for all the world to see? It appears you are campaigning on an issue, on my dime.

  27. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    Thanks Real truth I was just proving that my information I had was correct. If the moderator feels detailed information should be removed, ask him to remove it.

  28. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    Sam, the reason the vendor is not there the next day after a hurricane the school board does not have a contract to have him there after a hurricane. If you want him there, make sure the school board has a contract in place and they will be there. Make the suggestion.

  29. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    The recommendation was never to outsource. It was to reduce costs to be with 25% of the outsourced cost as determined by management.

  30. Chris says:

    SAM, Great Job with what you wrote!!!! Andrew, Please tell me what the difference would be if teachers got paid the same as a 25+ year tractor operator? You brought all this on your self an whats the Point besides your unhappy because you didnt get the job for the district so now your doing what ever you can! Oh an I got another award for you just like the one you got for swimming in a canal from Coral Springs but my Printer Spelt the word ASSHOLE across it.

    PS. Why didnt you like being Canadian an living in Canada?

  31. Becky Blackwood says:

    The reality is this: Is the School District’s primary job the business of mowing lawns and landscaping or to provide the best education for our children. When the department is unwilling to even look at ways to reduce their costs from $141.90 an acre (should be higher when you provide equipment costs)and the vendor’s is approximately $50. an acre, how do we weigh the importance of the costs for having our lawns mowed versus educating our children who will be responsible for our lives in the future.

    We also don’t have a tree trimming contract now and we have trees growing on our roofs from the seedlings dropping upon them. The monitoring of our school roofs has been assigned to the school custodians. I wonder if that responsibility is included in their job description? We have already fought the battles over leaking roofs and resulting mold and mildew. Are we destined to do it all over again after paying over 100 million dollars to complete almost all of the more than 150 roofs that were identified in 1999? It’s only taken 14 years.

    By the way, the highest paid employee in the landscape/grounds department makes in excess of $115,000 a year. As much as an elementary school principal. And yet, no one in that department can come up with a way to decrease costs.

    It was also my experience that when the teacher’s received a raise, the two other unions received the same percentage increase as the teachers. By the way, the teachers did not receive any increase for teaching an additional hour last year. They sued the District and were awarded the sum of the additional hour which was against their contract with the District. Teachers do not receive any additional money for taking a class – getting an additional degree, i.e., Bachelors to Masters or Masters to Ph.D. – yes.
    I do not believe a degree is required of the individuals working in the Grounds/Landscape Department.
    Where does the public expect the District to get the money to hire more teachers,provide an income to encourage better teachers and reduce their costs? No one wants to talk about the BTU-TSP’s bumping clause which allowed those employees who had been in the District the longest to keep their jobs while the last hired were the first laid off. The Board should eliminate this clause when they renegotiate the union contract this coming year. That is what is driving these costs.

    Remember there have been 3 Grand Jury reports since 1995 repeating the same issues with different laypersons on the jury. With the bumping clause, most of those individuals who participated in the mismanagement of the Facilities and Construction Management Department are still employed in other departments. How is this considered good management practice?

    Unless something changes, forget the bond especially when the newspaper reports Broward County is a “C” District.

  32. Shelley Mayhem says:

    Ladanowski frankly, we are quite ecstatic that the task force under your leadership is distracted by small mower operators salaries while the real money, miillions are still going out the door at Facilities ! LOL

  33. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    Chris the recognition was for assisting in rescuing a lawn service person who became trapped underneath his lawn mower. A Coral Springs Fire rescue diver and myself extracted him from being in over 7 feet of water. WE pulled him out after 9 minutes underwater. Coral Springs fire than resuscitated the victim. Kind of ironic that the victim was Lawn service guy. Not even mine. The lawn service guy from across the canal. Over 20 witnesses mainly cops and fire rescue. Award was given by the police chief. Only reason I even defend myself about someone mocking my recognition was because, It was a lawn service guy I jointly rescued.

  34. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    Thanks Becky for coming to my defence. In January our next meeting we will have a special guest from another county who has analyzed their internal costs for lawn maintenance and will be sharing their best practices with our district.

  35. @andrew says:

    Andrew made the mistake of thinking the board actually wanted its committees to do something. Good luck spinning your wheels.

  36. Becky Blackwood says:

    Re: Drug Testing of School Board employees. To my knowledge the District rarely drug tests anyone unless there is reason to believe that individual is acting in a manner that would reflect someone who is taking illegal drugs. I cannot recall if the contract I signed in 1996 gives permission to the School Board to drug test anyone at any time. Miami Dade County Schools, when I worked there, drug test new employees and the new employees had to sign a contract stating they could be drug tested at any time during their employment and were subject to firing if the tests were positive.

  37. C'mon Man says:

    Instead of putting the names, salaries, and DOBs for landscapers, why not tell us who is responsible for ROCs officers living on school district property with no contracts and no accountability? Who is the ROCs that passed on his trailer to his son? Maybe while they are at it, they can ask the Chief about the excessive overtime his detectives are making and why the Broward taxpayers are giving them an annual allowance for socks and underwear? When will one of these so-called “task forces” focus on the real waste?

  38. Ed says:

    Drug testing is random and quite common for all district employees as is random alcohol screening. This has never changed. You know that a school board employee is “clean.” Unlike the outsourced…..and all teachers.

  39. Debby Brady-Holden says:

    Wow– Mr. Ladnowski is consultant and when asked if he would like to driving a bus–he informed me he would not make enough money. Now could citizens start to realize the employees that seem to work the hardest with the lest compensation are considered the employees taking so much in a salary. If someone works 30 years and is considered taking to much — lets look again at who is making the most money. Now teachers start at around 35,000. (and believe me that is not enough)Why after you have put in 30 years you begrudge a salary of 45,000.Your upper management are the ones making the salaries.

  40. Becky Blackwood says:


    Maybe drug and alcohol testing was more common in your department of Broward Schools than the ones I worked in. Not one person was tested in the 16 years I worked for Broward Schools and there was at least one who should have been.

  41. Ed says:

    I’ve been tested about 15 times in 31 years but a know many that have been tested twice as often. Makes me wonder about the “random” part……I’ve been breathalized four times. Its much more rare.

  42. Taxpayer says:

    There are people living at the old Cypress Bay Annex in west Sunrise. They even built a nice deck to enjoy the view of the lake at Sawgrass Sanctuary Park. I see privately owned vehicles there and have even seen RVs and Jet skis parked there. What is up with that?

  43. Ed says:

    Don’t know. Waste is still widespread. I have no first hand knowledge. Its very embarrassing to those of us that take our jobs seriously. This is the kind of thing that gets the general public going and makes us all look like loafers.

  44. Rico Petrocelli says:

    Could this be a solution? Most cities, and major entities (School Boards, County Commissions)have their employees work as a crew or a team, usually 4-5 on Public works, lawns, Parks & Rec. Why not, thru attrition let the city workers retire, and have the crew consist of 2 city workers (Supervisor, and his assistant) and 3 privatized workers. The 3 would take their lead from the city workers who know what their entity expects, thus saving pensions on 3 new city workers, and a reduced rate per job.

    Think of how many crews each city has, we can reduce the employees, while maintaining quality work, because the supervisor answers to the city, and that supervisor won’t let the private worker do inferior work by supervising properly.

    This will take a little time to complete, but like Tier 2 pensions, we must think long range, not today..

    Win…..Win…In my opinion

    Rico Petrocelli