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August 2014 Events
August 6     Broward County Public Schools - SMART Initiative (Bond Referendum)

Broward school officials seek $800M for repairs

Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale
Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale
Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie
Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie
Stranahan High School Principal Deborah Owens
Stranahan High School Principal Deborah Owens

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Broward County school officials are seeking hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in order to help fix some South Florida schools in dire need of repair.

Broward County School Board members voted last week to place a measure on the November ballot asking voters to approve a 30-year, $800 million bond referendum that, according to school officials, would cost the average property taxpayer approximately $50 a year. "We have well-documented capital needs that have been deferred for quite some time, significant needs in terms of technology," said Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.

The money would go towards repairing dozens of Broward County public schools where students, faculty and administrators are dealing with work conditions they describe as inappropriate learning environments. "It's very difficult to try to focus and get your work done when you're sitting there sweating in a classroom," said Cecilia Smith, a student at Northeast High School in Oakland Park.

Northeast High's principal, Jonathan Williams, said his school floods frequently. "On a rainy day, it's not uncommon for it to leak and for a possible ceiling tile to crash in," he said.

Williams gave 7News a tour of his 1960s-era school. The lockers, he said, are originals, painted over many times. Other complaints include asbestos and mold. "On a given day, we don't know what to expect," he said.

Several miles south, at Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale, Principal Deborah Owens said she knows what not to expect: a home for her athletes. "We're always on buses going to other fields to play our sports," she said.

Owens said the school's practice-only field is not level, has no bleachers or lights. "When we travel to other schools and we see newer facilities, it's kind of discouraging," she said.

Owens said she hopes funding will help fix flooded roofs and old bathrooms, as well as purchase new computers.

District officials said at least 30 schools need major work. Runcie said the funds they are requesting, which will go towards both cosmetic and structural repairs, will only cover about a third of expenses. "Eight hundred million [dollars] is the assets out there," he said. "Our documented needs are well in excess of that. It's probably approaching two-and-a-half billion dollars."

Runcie said they are only asking for $800 million because they do not want to burden taxpayers all at once. However, if everything goes according to plan and within budget, the school district intends to ask taxpayers for more money in the future.


Desmond K. Blackburn, PhD 


    Dr. Blackburn graduated from Piper High School in

1992. He began his professional educational career in 1996.

Since then, Dr. Blackburn has served in the Broward County

School District as a high school math teacher, middle school

assistant principal, middle school principal, district trainer,

director of school improvement, area superintendent and Chief

School Performance and Accountability Officer. He is an

educational leadership adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic

University. Dr. Blackburn earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Florida; a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Nova-Southeastern University; and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University. He and his wife, Kelli, have two sons, Dean and Grant.

  12:15 PM1:30 PM
August 13     Citizens for Broward's Children




Howard Talenfeld, is a nationally known child advocate who focuses his law practice on protecting the rights of vulnerable individuals in civil rights cases, personal injury cases and systemic reform litigation.  He has litigated cases that have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements and jury verdicts that changed how governmental and private institutions care for children and the elderly. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Mr. Talenfeld represented the state of Florida in its major class-action law suits dealing with the foster care system, children’s mental health system, juvenile justice system, state psychiatric hospitals and the provision of Medicaid services to the developmentally disabled, among others. Nationally, he pioneered defending these cases by advocating for the improvement and reform of human service systems, while protecting states’ rights and avoiding federal over-sight.

Beyond his courtroom successes, Mr. Talenfeld has been a forceful advocate for change. He has argued for systemic reform litigation before many state and national groups, including the U.S. Congress, the National Association of State Mental Health Lawyers, the American Public Welfare Association and many Florida legislative committees. In 1996, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Youth Law Center, a national children’s advocacy group. He helped the organization develop into a viable entity that assists at-risk youth and teens. Continuing that path, he began an effort to coordinate a statewide organization of child advocates who would help Florida’s at-risk children. In 2002, he became the founding President of Florida’s Children First (FCF). Comprised of advocates from throughout the state of Florida, FCF works through multi-forum advocacy before the executive branch, the Florida Legislature and the Florida Courts to protect children who are at risk in foster care and in the delinquency system in Florida. Mr. Talenfeld was instrumental in the passage of landmark legislation in Florida, including the Foster Children Bill of Rights, Florida’s pilot project on representation of foster children in Dependency Court, and Florida’s breakthrough interagency education bill for foster children.

Mr. Talenfeld is a member of the American Bar Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the National Association of Council for Children. He previously chaired the Litigation/Class Action Committee and was a representative for the State of Florida to the National Association of Mental Health Attorneys (1993).He received his bachelors of business administration degree from University of Miami School of Business, and his Juris Doctorate from University of Miami School of Law, cum laude. 


Citizens for Broward’s Children, Inc. is a countywide group of community, business, civic and political organizations and leaders who are working together to support the reauthorization of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County.

Citizens for Broward’s Children was created by a group of concerned Broward County residents who want to ensure the Children’s Services Council is reauthorized by voters in the 2014 Election.

Membership in Citizens for Broward’s Children is free and open to anyone who shares our goal of supporting the reauthorization of the Broward County Children’s Services Council.


The Children’s Services Council of Broward County is an independent special district established by Broward County voters in 2000.

On average, the Children’s Services Council gets less than 2 cents of every dollar paid in property taxes. Those tax dollars are solely dedicated to providing money for a wide variety
of programs designed to help every child lead a healthy, safe and productive life. These programs are delivered by over 100 “provider” agencies throughout the county.

To ensure accountability to the Broward taxpayer, funded programs have clearly defined goals, outcomes and measures and are regularly monitored for program quality and performance and administrative accountability.

The Children’s Services Council provides the leadership, advocacy and resources necessary to enhance children’s lives and empower them to become responsible, productive adults through collaborative planning and funding of a continuum of quality care.


A 2010 state law requires each Children’s Services Council in the State of Florida to go before voters for reauthorization. Reauthorization by the voters of Broward County will allow the Children’s Services Council to continue operating as it has since its creation by voters over 13 years ago.

  12:15 PM1:30 PM
August 18     Board Meeting

Our board meetings are open to all members. Please RSVP
Meryl for seating to be available – otherwise it’s SRO.

  5:30 PM
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August 20     District Governor Joe Roth meeting with Club Board of Directors

District Governor Joe Roth meets with Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale Board of Directors prior to regular meeting of the Club.

  11:00 AM
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August 20     Annual Official Visit: District Governor Joe Roth




District Governor Joe Roth

Annual District 6990 District Governor Official Visit


Bring your passports (5 points to each member in attendance)

  12:00 PM1:30 PM
  click here for more information
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August 27     Rotary Happy Hour Meeting in the Tower Club: Focus on Red



Monthly new member meeting and member networking

Open to all:

  1. Members of Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale

  2. Visiting Rotarians

  3. Guests

  4. Prospective Members

  5. New members of other Rotary Clubs

 Come join us at the Rotary Happy Hour Meeting in the Tower Club 5:30-7pm

  5:30 PM7:00 PM
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