REPORT: Broward County Schools was sitting on $100M allocated for school safety since 2014

MARCH 27, 2018

Written by DML
Kenneth Preston is one teenager you don’t want on your tail. Thorough, well-spoken, and viciously hungry for the facts, he is one of the most impressive high school students I’ve met in decades.

Preston, who is a student within the Broward County School System, met with me today a few miles away from the high school in Parkland, Florida where 17 people were shot by Nikolas Cruz on Valentine’s Day. Our time together was spent discussing the comprehensive investigation he’s completed, and is preparing to unveil at the upcoming school board meeting in April.

Preston has spent more than 100 hours searching through thousands of pages of local government documents that most taxpayers would never dream of reading. In addition, he has spoke with dozens of school and law enforcement officials, parents of the victims, and members of the media. Basically, this young man is doing the investigation that one would expect from a highly-trained special prosecutor. 

Having read his eye-opening report, it is my opinion that every parent in Broward County should attend the school board meeting on April 10. If the media is looking for a jaw-dropping story that assigns some of the blame for 17 murders being carried out by a sick individual, then trust me when I say Preston holds it in his hand.

Knowing I would write this article, Preston asked that I reveal just a small taste of what his report reveals. He says he wants the bulk of the shock to come next week at the meeting.

In addition to revealing how the district deals with students who fall into the “PROMISE” program, and how students with the worst crimes imaginable are eligible in many cases to be placed back into the mainstream, Preston dives into the money trail that leads to questions about the amount of potential corruption that might be festering within the 6th largest school district in America.

PRESTON’S REPORT STATES:
In 2014, Superintendent Runcie successfully convinced Broward residents to vote on $800 million in bonds for Broward County Public Schools to invest back into the schools. According to The Qualification Selection Evaluation Committee (QSEC), an anti-corruption measure, there should be a committee of 11 people, five of whom are members from the public, that would decide what companies were given lucrative contracts to manage that $800,000,000 in voter approved projects. Just a year later, Runcie, who was tasked with bringing transparency to the board, moved to bypass those anti-corruption measures by removing members of the public from voting on who received the contracts. School Board member Robin Bartleman opposed removing the public from the decisions saying, “It’s going to be an issue.” She went on to say, “Stuff like this snowballs. Things like this get out of control. I’ve seen it before.”

Robin Bartleman was right. Three years later, the program has been fraught with delays. Robert Runcie’s former special assistant revealed contracts were being awarded unfairly, and cost estimates for projects that are nowhere near completion are booming with as much as 57%. As part of the program, $104,325,821 was designated specifically for school safety. Of that money, only $4,673,508 (roughly 4.4%) has been spent over the past three years. If the school safety money continues to be doled out at the current rate of 1.46% spent per year, Broward Public Schools will not see the entirety of that safety money for another 68 years, or the year 2,086.”

To add insult to injury, according to Preston, Runcie has requested that tens of millions of dollars more be given to Broward’s school safety initiatives despite the $100M being unused.

Why has a superintendent with so much money done close to nothing to secure the schools? Furthermore, as revealed in Preston’s report, the students in Broward County remain in grave danger even after the Parkland shooting. “It’s not just Broward,” Preston said. “There are grants given to states and school districts throughout the country, but often it’s not spent on safety. The parents don’t realize this because they don’t read the 1,200-page reports that bury the information. Students are not safe.”

Preston’s remarks reflect the same thing I heard from the Secretary of Homeland Security last week when I met with her in DC.

Preston will appear in the upcoming documentary being produced by my daughter, Ashley Lynch. The film will be called, “Remembering Meadow and the Parkland 17.”