I just finished reading the Grand Jury Report on Broward County School Board and the Broward County School District. The report was released to Judge Victor Tobin on January 21 but was released to the public last Friday. Can you say mayhem and foolishness?
The report has been described as scathing, blistering, and a number of other terms that should make the public nauseous considering the amount of money allegedly squandered. There are folks knowledgeable of the goings-on in Broward Public Schools that have been singing this tune for years. You know sometimes you don’t want folks to be right, well it appears they were very much on point. So sad.
You can click here to read the entire report but know that it describes a culture of corruption, ineptitude and intimidation that is hard to be believe exists until one considers the grand financial scam that resulted in the bail out of Wall Street but let me not digress. The Grand Jury Report is 114 pages long; 63 pages are exhibits. To set the tone of the report, check out this excerpt:
“The evidence we have been· presented concerning the malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance of the Broward County School Board (Board) and of the senior management of the Broward County School District, (District) and of the gross mismanagement and apparent ineptitude of so many individuals at so many levels is so overwhelming that we cannot imagine any level of incompetence that would explain what we have seen. Therefore we are reluctantly compelled to conclude that at least some of this behavior can best be explained by corruption of our officials by contractors, vendors and their lobbyists. Moreover, many of the problems we identified in our inquiry are longstanding and have been pointed out by at least two previous Grand Juries. But for the Constitutional mandate that requires an elected School Board for each District, our first and foremost recommendation would have been to abolish the Broward County School Board altogether.”
Wow, that’s serious. Here’s what gets me though, the report points out that the Broward County School District is the sixth largest in the nation and the second largest in Florida. The Broward District has also been strongly criticized by the Grand Jury in the past. It won’t take a genius to connect the dots and use these findings to continue to chip away at public education in Florida.
Broward Schools Superintendent Jim Notter has already begun to defend himself and the Broward School Board and it has been pointed out that the Board now consists of four new members. That may be true but not enough to satisfy the public. The calls for Notter’s resignation have gotten louder and there will surely be at least one scapegoat before this issue is laid to rest.
The Grand Jury makes several recommendations (see page 48) but I pray the superintendent position never becomes elected; there is already too much politics in public education as it is. In the meantime, the Grand Jury report should be required reading for current school board members, superintendents, and senior school management officials throughout Florida.