The Broward County Public School system is the nation’s 6th largest school district, with over 260,000 students in more than 260 schools and education centers in South Florida.
For the 2011-2012 school year, Broward’s general fund operating budget is $1.9 billion. That’s $141 million dollars less than the previous school year. That’s the biggest budget deficit that any other school district in the state.
Broward lost $57.6 million in ARRA-Stimulus, $55.3 million in Ed Jobs, and the .25 mills it was able to levy last year, making the total actual reduction in operating dollars $265.6 million.
The district says it was aware the federal funds were one-time dollars that would not be available this year.
The shrinking budget has led to the following layoffs:
- In June of 2011, the district did not renew the contracts for 1,447 annual contract teachers, before it hired back 307 of the annual contract teachers.
- 117 teachers were also laid off at this time, but 53 were brought back.
- 412 non-instructional employees were also laid off.
Grand Jury Report Calls School Board Corrupt
In February 2011, a state grand jury released a 51-page report criticizing the Broward County school board—calling it inept and corrupted by contractors and lobbyists.
The grand jury began the report by saying it would recommend abolishing the entire board if it were legally possible.
One long-term board member, Beverly Gallagher, is now serving a three-year prison sentence on public corruption charges.
She is one of three local politicians charged Sept. 23, 2010 in an undercover FBI public corruption sting.
Gallagher received a total of $12,500 in cash from undercover agents she thought were contractors. She acted as a behind-the-scenes consultant to help them obtain work on district construction projects.
School Board member Stephanie Kraft is awaiting trial following charges that she allegedly helped a developer team get a $500,000 break on fees owed to the school district.