The Broward Teachers Union (BTU) waited nearly three years to reimburse taxpayers for union leaders’ large salaries, records show. In January, REDBROWARD obtained Broward Schools payroll records for BTU President Anna Fusco covering pay periods from August 2016 to July 2022. The records show Fusco was paid a hefty salary for performing up to 75 hours of work every two weeks. In addition to her base salary, the records show Fusco received generous holiday pay and sick leave. While the District claims Fusco is on full-time leave, she was still paid a $250 vaccine incentive during the COVID pandemic. Fusco also received a $2,000 “Staff Reopen Stipend,” a $1,000 “Disaster Relief Payment” and a $1,500 bonus payment.
Even though she is on full time leave, Fusco told REDBROWARD she is legally due the payment per the employment contract. Fusco said the Broward School District is reimbursed once a year by the Broward Teachers Union for the payroll deposits. When asked where this arrangement is documented, Fusco provided language from the BTU contract with Broward Schools. The language did not explicitly deal with reimbursements.
REDBROWARD requested proof of these payments from BTU and from former Broward School Superintendent Vickie Cartwright.
These newly obtained documents raise even more questions about the payment/reimbursement arrangements for leaders of the Broward Teachers Union.
The records reviewed by REDBROWARD include spreadsheets and invoices produced by school district employees as well as checks written by the Broward Teachers Union. The records cover the 2017 to 2022 school years.
The spreadsheets, produced by the School Board of Broward County Treasurer’s Office, are officially known as a “remittance transmittal.” The sparse document is nearly indecipherable to the casual reader. The document differentiates between “salary” and “fringe” amounts. A source with knowledge of school payment terminology believes “fringe” amounts includes money paid in to Florida Retirement System (FRS).
Instead of listing the name of BTU board members receiving a paycheck, only their initials are used. The remittance transmittal does not breakdown the amounts paid to individual employees. Instead, the BTU board members and their salaries are listed in a separate memo.
In 2017, the amount invoiced to BTU was $352,513. By 2022, the amount nearly doubled to $627,299 owed to Broward taxpayers.
Despite Anna Fusco’s claim BTU paid taxpayers once a year, a review of the BTU checks shows the union did not pay the 2020 and 2021 invoices until 2022. REDBROWARD obtained three BTU checks presented in 2022.
The payment for the September 2020 invoice for $620,820 was paid on January 14, 2022. The August 2021 invoice for $632,677 was paid on April 27, 2022. The September 2022 invoice for $627,299 was paid on December 12, 2022.
In total, BTU paid $1,880,730.04 to the School Board of Broward County last year.
Why were the payments so late?
Does BTU usually have nearly $2 million laying around to pay bills?
Why is BTU and the School Board of Broward County playing this bookkeeping game with taxpayers’ money?
Congratulations Tom. You managed to confirm that the BTU did, in fact, reimburse the funds though apparently not when you would have like them to do so. Honestly, I’m pleasantly amazed to see that they did reimburse.
What would the interest on roughly $600K be? Seems like the district needs to charge them a late fee in the future.