The Broward School District of Florida laid off 1,305 employees, including 568 teachers due to financial hardship. Which sounds reasonable on its surface, but Broward school officials elected to pay local developer Roy Rogers nearly $400,000 to develop plant gardens that promised to attract butterflies to the various schools. Although this spending spree lasted from 2004 to 2008, Broward School District renewed the contract in 2007, promising to give Roy Rogers $1,000,000.
Due to poor bookkeeping, no one can say for certain how much of this $1,000,000 Broward paid Mr. Rogers. Records show that Rogers submitted 85 invoices, each averaging $3,350, which comes out to $284,750. Rogers denies receiving a cool million for his efforts, and this story is likely true since the school district is stuck at $130 million.
Regardless of any outcry from the local community, there will likely be no investigation or restitution since Roy Rogers is the head of the Florida Commission on Ethics. A grand jury is investigating this issue.
Broward School District’s response to the citizenry is summed up by School Board Chairman Ben Williams:
“I noticed that everywhere the butterfly garden was established, in elementary schools, the students were able to learn more, not necessarily about butterflies, but about wildlife,”
Ben Williams is almost spot-on here, but this program has plenty more potential that Mr. Williams ignores:
Students can go outside and draw the beautiful butterflies. They can also begin to see how nature combines colors into aesthetically pleasing combinations.
Students will learn to study the flight of the butterflies. The beginning student will explore the physics of vector analysis as it deals with inertia and force, thus drawing accurate conclusions about the properties of flight. Students will also learn the basics of Bayesian probability through various assignments based on guessing which color butterfly is hiding inside which bush. Further studies will be done in population computation, first by hand-counting, then through the use of fractal geometry.
Students will spend many days discussing why Rimsky-Korsakov wrote “Flight of the Bumblebee” instead of “Flight of the Butterfly.”
While students are discouraged from grabbing butterflies out of the air and dissecting them, since this is clearly a waste of $1,000,000, students will be taught to imagine what the inside of a butterfly looks like, drawing various picture of various accuracy.
Students will observe the separate lifestyles of butterfly species, then attempt to figure out which race is superior. They will then use the butterflies to justify the French and Indian War, The Civil War, and the Armenian Genocide.