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Broward School In Need Of Makeover Wants Voter Approval For $800M School Bond Issue

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Broward School District is asking voters to approve an $800 million bond issue in November for repairs, renovations and technology upgrades at the county’s public schools.

Superintendent Robert Runcie said the bond means investing in the future of the kids.

On Tuesday, the district opened up an area school to the media to illustrate the pressing needs.

Northeast High School in Ft. Lauderdale was built 50 years ago and, the principal says, is crumbling from the inside out.

“If we have the expectation that children will meet our educational standards the onus is on us to provide the proper environment,” says Principal Jonathan Williams.

All around the school, there are holes in the walls, ceilings are stained from leaky roofs and exterior walls have mold.

Recent pictures after a rainstorm show ankle deep water flooding the breezeways and hallways.

A tarp is hanging over the gym’s leaky roof.  It’s been there since Hurricane Wilma.

Senior Cecilia Smith says in one of her classroom’s the air conditioning was out for two months.

“We were in a hot box.  It’s hard to focus with no a.c.  I know every parent wants a safe environment for their children and they should make an investment in their schools.”

According to the Superintendent if the referendum passes in November, it will mean an average $50 per year tax increase on a home worth $250,000.   Over 30 years that would add up to about $1500 for the average homeowner.

But have voters moved beyond old scandals?

Two former school board members were charged with corruption and a blistering grand jury report labeled the district mismanaged and incompetent.

The superintendent says that is ancient history.

We asked Broward voters what they thought of the referendum.

“My basic feeling is throwing money at a situation is not the best answer to things,” said Rick Santese.

But former teacher Barbie Shenker told us, “I would vote for it, if the kids would profit.”

Added the principal, “Within a school you are looking at your future leaders and whatever dollars you put towards that is an investment your future.”

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