By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
I wrote my first article, Don’t Say Black in Broward County Public Schools under the leadership of Superintendent Cartwright on April 14, 2021. I presumed it would be one article with maybe a follow-up or two. I received so many calls, texts and emails thanking me for exposing the corruption at Broward School Board, what started as one story has led to the Westside Gazette writing about Broward schools every week since April 2021.
I get so many leads about the corruption happening in Broward, it has become difficult to keep up with a paper edition that is published weekly. I have had to resort to publishing online articles in between the paper’s edition and still, I am not able to cover all the corruption. Quite frankly, it is sickening. It is beyond disturbing that the corruption under this superintendent can be exposed to this degree by the Westside Gazette and other media outlets and this Board sits in silence or defense of her actions. Much of this Board behaves like this is a corner Mom and Pop store without the resources and power to make a difference and change the trajectory of corruption. There is reason for this; some members of the Board are complicit. Point blank. Periodt!!!!
Broward County Public Schools is the 6th largest school district in the nation, the largest employer in Broward County and (mis)manages a multi-billion-dollar operating budget.
In the paper’s 50 plus years of existence, education reporting has never been so hot since we reported on mayor Cox telling a group of elementry students that you had to be “21 and white” to be mayor. I would love to report more on the great things that are happening in the schools, especially the schools that do not get the positive press coverage that some other schools are afforded by other media outlets. I promise you, I will. When stories come to the Westside Gazette to showcase the wonderful things happening in schools with its students, we stand ready to report.
The problem is right now the good that is happening with students is being overshadowed by the corruption. Students are winning scholarships to college only to be overshadowed by an FTX scandal where a Board member is knee deep in the corruption. Graduation rates are at an all-time high, yet that is being overshadowed by corruption with the vendor who provided the Caps and Gowns that swindled families out of their hard-earned money for years. The Teachers Union President is being paid double for her troubles and she still says she “owns” the superintendent and some Board members. The superintendent responded to being a racist by hiring more Blacks in executive level positions than ever, yet ESE is in shambles, Facilities and Construction is a fallen house of cards and schools, students and employees have never been less safe.
Broward County Public Schools is desperate for a total body makeover. And it must start with new leadership. If this Board wants to regain any level of respect from their stakeholders, each member must understand the gravity of the situation with the superintendent. Every day, someone else is leaving the district. The most talented employees are leaving in droves, and they are not the only ones. Parents are voting with their feet and choosing other options for their children’s education. It won’t get any better if the district doesn’t apply the tourniquet to stop the bleeding now and cut off this toxic superintendency.
The road to recovery will be long and arduous, but we cannot afford to wait another week, month or year to begin fixing this colossal mess, or Broward Schools as we know it will continue to die a slow death.
Superintendent Vickie Cartwright was handed the position under shady circumstances, and it has been one mess after another. She is disconnected to selected communities. At a recent event she asked people from Pompano and Deerfield to leave their purses in the car, wanded them upon entry into the Pompano High School auditorium and had more security on hand than King Jaffe Joffer, the king of Zamunda. Cartwright is slick as hot bacon grease and should be handle with caution. It was reported she went to a principals meeting prior to her first firing and tried to coerce principals into supporting her. When exposed, she took a different route and has now begun doing a private quid pro quo with principals. She is delivering on certain promises which is her job to do, but then saying to them, “I supported you and I expect you to now support me.”
It gets even more disturbing and most likely criminal when Cartwright keeps silent about information regarding employee misconduct and then use it as leverage to get what she wants. It’s like she’s playing Bid Whist holding the Big Joker and waiting to slam it on the table. It is rumored that a Board member groped a member of Cartwright’s Cabinet a couple months ago. When Cartwright learned of this, she should have reported it and launched an investigation immediately. Instead, she is reportedly using it to ensure the Board member supports her stay as superintendent. The corruption runs deep. The employee who was allegedly groped is also beining silent to maintain their position as an executive level employee whether Cartwright goes or stays. Cartwright herself needs to be investigated, charged if necessary and subjected to the dead man walking trek out of the KC Wright building. Honestly, when I think about who the school board building is named after, the late, great Kathleen C. Wright, I become incensed.
Let that sink in.
This woman must go and the entire system needs to be gutted.
This may very well be my last editorial on the whirlpool of mess caused by corruption, and disingenuous behaviors of the elected Board and ite superintendent. The Westside Gazette has done its due diligence in exposing and presenting what employees have wanted to say. It is now time for the Board, the constituents and the readers to do something about it.