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September 2014

Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Disparity Study Flawed and Reveals Unequal Playing Field for Black Contractors, says Committee


Organizations to discuss dismal spending history of MDCPS and other local governmental organizations


Independent study reveals that less than 8% of MDCPS
construction and design contracts awarded to black-owned firms

The Committee for Fair and Equitable Distribution of Public Contracts has released a report examining and challenging the accuracy of the vast majority of the findings in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Disparity study. The in-depth study, Leveling the Playing Field: A Response to the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Disparity Study Report, was sponsored by the Urban League of Greater Miami, the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP, and BAC Funding Corporation. The findings will be publicly released to the business community during a press conference and community meeting on Wednesday, September 10th from 6PM – 7:30PM at Freedom Hall of the Urban League offices located at 8400 NW 25th Ave, Miami.

The findings along with 15 recommendations were presented to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho who agreed with 13 of the 15 recommendations and gave a commitment to provide a letter of agreement to implement the recommendations. However, the Superintendent he has not kept on his word, and the Committee is urging the Superintendent and MDCPS that promises made should be promises kept. The Committee also urges the Office of the Inspector General to review the report.

The response provides substantiating evidence that the disparity study commissioned by MDCPS is flawed, unreliable, and troubling based on errors and omissions found and a review of the District’s dismantled Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) program. As the fourth largest school district touted as a “truly global multi-cultural and multi-ethnic school system” with black students accounting for nearly 23.5% (82,939) of the district’s 353,152 students, MDCPS has established a pattern and practice of denying African-Americans fair and equitable contracting and sub-contracting opportunities in its procurement and construction contracts. An investigation of the District’s procurement practices revealed that of the $7.5 billion in total procurement expenditures from 1986 to 2009, African-American firms received less than two percent of those contracts ($107.7 million). Black firms also received less than eight percent of the $7 billion spent in construction and design contracts ($546 million) well behind Hispanic firms that received 27% and non-minority firms that received 60%.

“Promises made should be promises kept,” says T. Willard Fair, President & CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami. “This is not isolated to being just a black issue; this is a fairness issue and anyone who is in support of fairness whether white, black, women, Hispanic or any other group should be concerned and outraged.”

Superintendent Carvalho embarked on an aggressive campaign visiting black churches, speaking with black media, and meeting with various groups to garner the black vote all in an effort to convince voters to approve a $1.2 billion bond referendum. He committed that the bond initiative would provide economic development and employment opportunities to the tune of 9,200 jobs during the first three years, would promote greater public/private partnership ventures, and would provide citizen advisory and oversight committees to ensure timely and equitable distribution of projects. Instead, MDCPS and the Superintendent has moved in the opposite direction of making good on those promises of inclusion and diversity in contracting, and there has been little to no participation by African-American subcontractors to date.

“We will not stand to see our community continue to be left out of opportunities that have the potential to create sustainable economic development in our community,” shares Adora Obi Nweze, President of the Miami-Dade Branch of the NAACP. “We will hold the Superintendent and the school board up to their commitment so that black-owned firms have equitable contracting opportunities.”

The Bond Construction Program is a prime opportunity for MDCPS to invest in the growth and development of its local M/WBEs, and it would be irresponsible and destructive not to do so. The Committee, comprised of small business owners, financial investors, developers, and community leaders, recommends that MDCPS reject its Disparity Study and place an immediate moratorium on the Bond and Capital Construction Program. As the largest government unit and job creator in the County overseeing a massive budget of over $5.6 billion dollars in public funds, MDCPS and the Superintendent is urged to step up and demonstrate its commitment to fairness and equality.

William DC Clark, president of ICARE, cautions that when reading the MDCPS disparity study, be aware that the study was originally slated to cover the 2005-2011 fiscal year but the District realized that by moving the study up a year, to 2006-2012, would reflect black contractors receiving more contracts. Clark also asserts that "the District also tried to hide almost a billion dollars in Maintenance contracts under the heading of Procurement because they knew that Black Contractors didn't receive one penny of those Maintenance contracts. Also, there are no Blacks on the Emergency contract list, which amounts to millions of dollars. This does not only adversely affect black contractors but the Black Community as well."

Media, business leaders, and concerned community members are invited to attend the press conference and community meeting. Links to the summary findings of the study are included below.

Final Executive Summary of Disparity Study Findings

Call to Action and 15 Recommendations



What’s Happening this Weekend? Politics, Football, FAMily and Fun!

President Clinton campaigns for Gov. Charlie Crist in Miami-Dade County. FILE photo: Florida Politics

This is the weekend after Labor Day, school has started and one would think our schedules allowed us more breathing room but that is not the case. This is a super busy weekend and that can be measured by the number of places Gov. Charlie Crist visits as he continues to unleash his historic re-election campaign. Crist, a Republican turned Independent and now Democrat could become the first person to hold the top elected position in the State of Florida as a Republican and a Democrat. The Crist Campaign has brought out the really big guns in the person of President William Jefferson Clinton so let’s hope that motivates eligible voters to register and registered voters to get out and vote.  

One of the largest high school football games will be played tonight at Traz Powell Stadium as the Booker T. Washington Tornadoes take on the Miami Central Rockets. Traz Powell is far too small a venue for a game with such a large fan base; SunLife Stadium is too large and FIU Stadium is too far in distance. Too bad that wasn’t considered prior to the demolition of the Orange Bowl or perhaps it was and the powers that be didn’t give a hoot about how inner-city black communities would be impacted.


By the way, the football game tickets with Miami misspelled, really should not have been sold. Mistakes can happen but that’s why there should be quality control procedures in place to catch items are made available for the public. I could go on and on about how this mistake results in derogatory comments about black schools but I think you get my point. One little misspelled might not seem like a big deal but it is.   


The Florida A&M University Rattlers play the University of Miami Hurricanes Saturday night at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. Since FAMU no longer presents the Orange Blossom Classic in Miami, when the team is here to play, the game results in a big celebration by local FAMU alumni and supporters. Several FAMU students from the Miami area will travel back home for the experience.  

There are several activities included on the list of official list of Florida A&M University-sanctioned events for this weekend: 

Friday, September 5

8PM - Set Fridays II - An evening of networking and music with DJ and FAMU alum “Ed the World Famous,” Fate Lounge - Gulfstream Park, 601 Silks Run, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009. Admission - $20. Presented by the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association. 

Scholarship Gala featuring FAMU President Dr. Elmira Mangum, Hyatt Regency Hotel, 400 Southeast Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33131, Admission - $85. Presented by the Gold Coast Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association.

Saturday, September 6

9AM - Scholarship & Recruitment Workshop, Featuring Florida A&M University President Dr. Elmira Mangum, the famous performing troup, FAMU Connection, and FAMU student leaders. Scholarships will be awarded on the spot! The Historic Lyric Theater, 819 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33136, Admission - FREE. Presented by Florida A&M University in partnership with the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association. 

Noon - Rattlers Strike in the Gardens - Join the Rattlers before the FAMU/UM football game for an afternoon of music, food and fun featuring health and wellness presentations and local vendors. Betty T. Ferguson Recreational complex, 3000 NW 199th Street, Miami Gardens, FL 33056, Admission - FREE or VIP $30. Presented by the City of Miami Gardens and the Miami-Dade Chapter of the FAMU National Alumni Association.  

7PM - Football Game - Florida A&M Rattlers vs. University of Miami Hurricanes, featuring the halftime performance of the Marching 100. Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL and ESP3. 

Except for the football game, profits from these events will fund scholarships for deserving students at Florida A&M so please support events that support FAMU.  


Journalist, commentator, motivational speaker and author Jeff Johnson and several hundred youth will invade Florida Memorial University on Friday, September 5 and Saturday, September 6, for a South Florida #HacktotheFuture Youth Summit YouthTown Hall Meeting and tech workshops. This is an excellent event for your teen.

Have an awesome and safe weekend!