Broward School Board considers privatizing facilities dept

Board set to vote on giving contact to URS

By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The Broward School Board is considering privatizing part of its workforce.

On Tuesday, school board members were scheduled to vote whether to bring in URS, a California-based company, to take over the facilities department at a cost of $1.75 million the first year.

"The total spending in this area is somewhere between $3 and $4 million," said Superintendent Robert Runcie.

Since May, about 40 facilities employees have lost their jobs. Runcie said the move gets rid of a troubled department, but other said it spares those at the top who caused the problems.

"If you're going to privatize, you abolish the whole department," said Facilities Task Force Member Charlotte Greenbarg. "From top to bottom."

The process by which URS was chosen has been roundly criticized. One committee voted to throw it out, but Runcie kept moving forward.

"Everything's been done in accordance with our processes, and we should have confidence moving forward," he said. "If the contractor we select -- they don't perform -- we'll go out and look for someone again."

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