Broward County school board to seek state approval on $800 million bond issue

Superintendent says bond approval is investment in future


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runice began making the biggest pitch of his tenure to the public Tuesday to convince voters to pay for an $800 million bond issue.

"Some of our highest priority needs (are) around technology, around school safety, and around building renovations and continued maintenance," Runcie said.

The school board voted to ask for state approval for that bond issue, which is expected to go on the ballot for voters to decide if they want to pay for it, raising the average property owner's tax bill by $50 per year.

"Eight hundred million dollars is the equivalent to about 14 cents a day -- less than $50 a year for the average taxpayer," Runcie told Local 10.

It would also add more debt on a school district that is already borrowing nearly $2 billion.

"It is absolutely not about borrowing to get ourselves out of a problem," Runcie said. "We are investing in the future of Broward County."

The cost of paying off the existing debt is already eating up about three quarters of the existing capital budget, which is one reason Runcie said more borrowing is needed.

Runcie and the school board members must also convince voters the board has changed since two school board members were arrested on corruption charges and a grand jury found rampant mismanagement and waste of hundreds of millions of dollars.

"No. 1, it's a different school board," Runcie said. "Two, we have different leadership."