School board member to Runcie: We need info

Published On: Aug 30 2012 05:08:41 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 29 2012 08:44:00 AM EDT

If you thought the Broward schools bus mess was over, think again. Here's an email Superintendent Robert Runcie received just yesterday afternoon, a day school wasn't even in session. It came from Board Member Robin Bartleman. 

Mr. Runcie,

As you are aware, I have been receiving daily emails and phone calls regarding transportation. Mr. Woods has done an excellent job responding to those issues brought to my attention. I know staff is working diligently to correct the problems; however, it would be helpful if you could provide the board members with a daily report including the following information:
- the daily call volume
- the number of unresolved issues including the number of students without routes.
- the estimated time frame for resolving all outstanding issues.

This information will help us monitor the department's progress and help us explain the situation to parents.

Thank you for your assistance,
Robin Bartleman

This is why the bus situation is Runcie's first real crisis as superintendent: It's affecting real parents who are complaining to his bosses. On Friday, Runcie held a media conference to discuss the issue and none of the board members were there at his side. The conference was highly controlled by his media relations person, Tracy Clark, who basically outlawed follow-up questions at the event and tried to stop me at one point from asking a question. Then Runcie turned it over to construction chief Tom Lindner before walking out in the middle of the conference.

But this isn't dissent he can ignore or shut down. He's going to have to rebound from what is one of the worst cases of mismanagement in recent school board history. So how's he going to do it? Well this week Runcie's promising to bring as many as 70 new bus drivers onto the roads, including just about anybody he can find working at the district who have commercial drivers licenses. We'll see how that goes.