Golf carts, cell phones, and restaurant tabs—these are just some of the “essentials” Florida’s Broward County Public Schools district has been buying with taxpayer dollars. As EAGnews reports:

The massive school district, based in Fort Lauderdale, had a budget deficit of approximately $141 million in early 2011. In June of the same year it laid off more than 1,000 contract teachers, more than 50 regular classroom teachers and more than 400 non-instructional employees.

Yet at the same time the district was dropping millions of dollars on highly questionable items.

Our inspection revealed that the district spent a whopping $599,166 in one year on cellular telephone bills, $118,145 on golf carts, $1.7 million on security through the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, more than $200,000 to rent extra classroom space, and roughly $30,000 at local restaurants

Do the people who run this district fail to realize they have a huge deficit and thousands of students who require adequate instruction?

Perhaps not.

In February, 2011 a grand jury issued a stinging report on the Broward County school board, calling it “inept and corrupted” by the influence of contractors and lobbyists.

“But for the constitutional mandate that requires an elected school board from each district, our first and foremost recommendation would have been to abolish the Broward County school board altogether,” the grand jury’s final report said.

Thankfully, Florida parents and taxpayers have education alternatives. Even better, education funding should be deposited into student education savings accounts (ESAs) to help keep bureaucrats’ hands out of the taxpayer-bankrolled cookie jar.