Tag Archives: lois wexler

Broward Children’s Museum Pricey Preschool Tuition Rivals Local Private High School Costs

The cost to attend the Young At Art Children’s Museum Preschool rivals tuition costs at Broward’s top private high schools. Established in 2012, the preschool caters to children between ages 3 and 4 years old.  The preschool was funded in part with a grant from the PNC Foundation. Since it offers VPK (Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten) classes, it is likely Young At Art preschool receives other government funding.

Despite the private and government funding, Young At Art preschool tuition still tops out at $10,000 per year. According to the YAA website, VPK classes from 8:30am to 11:30am are free with a VPK voucher. In order to receive the voucher, families must qualify based upon income levels.

Without a VPK voucher, preschool classes from 8:30am to 3:30pm cost $7,500 per year. If a child needs to stay until 5pm, the cost rises to $10,000 per year. There is a non-refundable $150 dollar registration fee. Also, students MUST buy a $17 uniform shirt at the museum gift store.

By comparison, top local private high schools like St. Thomas Aquinas cost around $10,000 per year.

What do students at the Young At Art preschool get for $10,000 per year? Not much.

REDBROWARD obtained a power point presentation from created by YAA preschool director Gina Gates detailing the program. Gates presentation claims students get a “hands-on, minds-on approach to learning.” This includes “daily field trips into the museum.” Another part of the curriculum includes visits to the attached County library “for storytime and for the children to check out books.”

Gates states the preschool is licensed for 22 students with 2 full time teachers and 1 aide. She states 14 families are receiving VPK assistance. This means 8 families are paying thousands of dollars for museum fields trips and library visits.

Gates states Young At Art preschool revenue for the 2013-2014 school year was $144,775 dollars. She claims YAA will add another 22 student class for the 2014-2015 school year. Gates writes the projected preschool revenue would jump to $289,550 dollars for this year.

Gates concludes with a look to the future. She writes, “We are currently looking into the possibility of expanding our preschool program and using another one of classroom spaces as a preschool class. With such a demand we are confident that we can make this one of the top preschools in Broward County!”

If the YAA preschool is so successful, why does the museum need to rework its financial deal with the County for the third time? Why doesn’t the County open preschools at all library branches? Surely the School Board of Broward County would welcome the competition.

Commissioner Wants County To Take Control Of Museum & Preschool

As REDBROWARD reported, Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler wants County Administrator Bertha Henry to cease all negotiations with YAA chairman David Di Pietro and executive director Mindy Shrago.  At Tuesday’s commission meeting, Wexler wants to discuss the Broward County Cultural Division assuming control of the museum and preschool.

Last month, Commissioner Wexler asked Ms. Henry why Young At Art failed to submit a new proposal for financial relief. Was Young At Art “playing games” to avoid dealing with the term-limited Wexler. Some insiders wondered if chairman Di Pietro hoped to avoid the matter while his wife, Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro, is facing re-election.

Broward taxpayers deserve answers.

On Tuesday, Shrago and Di Pietro will have to answer to Lois Wexler and the rest of Broward County Commission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: an earlier version of this story was unclear about the presentation by YAA preschool director Gina Gates. The power point was created by Ms. Gates. REDBROWARD did not get this material from Ms. Gates. We apologize for any confusion.

Intimidation Game 2.0: Children’s Museum Artist Files Copyright Claim To Hide Raunchy Videos From Broward Commissioners

Former Broward County Judge Jay Spechler appears to be using his daughter to fight his battles with the Broward County Commission over raunchy videos involving his wife Mindy Shrago. Spechler’s wife is the co-founder/executive director of the Young At Art (YAA) children’s museum in Davie. The taxpayer-funded museum is trying to work out a new financial arrangement with Broward County.

The ongoing negotiations were jeopardized after REDBROWARD posted videos of Shrago cavorting with topless women at a strange pro-Bernie Sanders party. One of the topless women in the video is Spechler’s daughter Ali Shrago Spechler. According to a scathing report from an outside consultant, Ali Shrago Spechler and her brother Zack Shrago Spechler were paid by Young At Art. The consultant stated these payments were made without the knowledge of the Broward County Commission.

Yesterday, REDBROWARD reported Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler plans on reviewing the videos with the County Administrator Bertha Henry and County Attorney Joni Armstrong Coffey. Wexler has demanded swift action on the YAA matter. Two weeks ago, Wexler wondered if YAA was “playing games” in negotiations with the County. She asked why the amended contract, which was due in July, had not been presented to the Commission. County Administrator Henry said YAA officials blamed the delay on board member vacations.

Is the ultimate goal to wait until I am out of office? Because that’s exactly–I thought that was–That has been the goal for the last year,” Wexler asked. “And if this is a game that is being played it’s time to call their bluff. This is something that has been going on way, way, way too long.”

Hours after the story was posted, Ali Shrago Spechler removed the topless videos from YouTube. Last evening, YouTube informed REDBROWARD the clips of the videos included in our reports had been pulled down as well. Ali Shrago Spechler made a copyright claim on the videos she posted. REDBROWARD intends to contest YouTube’s decision.

Several legal observers believe the copyright claim is a bald-faced attempt to keep the videos from being seen by County officials and the public. Images, screen captures and videos have been previously provided to Broward lawmakers.

This is not the first time Jay Spechler appears  to have enlisted his daughter to fight his political battles.


Over a year ago, Ali Shrago Spechler posted videos mocking her father’s courthouse enemies. In 2008, then Judge Jay Spechler resigned after Chief Judge Victor Tobin banned him from the courthouse. ”He was reassigned to his car, essentially. He didn’t like it,” one judge is anonymously quoted saying. The Daily Business Review reported, “Spechler’s reassignment came after he got into a verbal altercation with fellow County Court Judge Peggy Gehl and made disparaging comments about her sexual orientation.” Spechler filed a lawsuit against Tobin for defamation.

While the lawsuits may not have been successful, Spechler’s enemies were mocked in another strange video featuring his daughter.

In a YouTube video posted in April 2015, Ali Shrago Spechler appears as “Esther.” Accompanied by an accordion, she tells the cheering crowd  a story about “lies,” “redemption,” and “titties.” The crowd lustily boos each time Shrago Spechler mentions Chief Judge Tobin and Judge Lee Seidman. She calls Tobin a “schmuck” while Seidman is his “evil sidekick.”

She claims Tobin tried to take away the humanity from the “surfer” (Jay Spechler). “Fuck Lee Seidman,” says Ali Shrago Spechler. She says her father’s enemies are “drunk with power, hate and rage.”

The strange political passion play comes complete with life-sized puppets of Tobin, Seidman and Jay Spechler. Some of this same work has been displayed at YAA venues. These appear to be the work of Ali Shrago Spechler.

She concludes the video by saying Tobin has declared martial law and ordered all women to partake in a wet t-shirt contest. Shrago Spechler then takes off her dress and water guns soak her shirt.