Charter School Wants to Operate in Tamarac After Failing in Palm Beach

Champs-Charter-School-LogoBy: Sharon Aron Baron

A charter school that failed to open in Palm Beach County just two weeks ago, tried to open in Tamarac but was delayed until next fall.

Champs Charter Schools, part of American Charter Schools, left parents scrambling for new options after their Delray Beach and Riviera Beach schools abruptly closed.

According to WPTV, the president of Champs Charter Schools says the school missed a deadline by minutes and was not able to get funding from the Palm Beach County School District. He also said private investors backed out and there was not enough money to run the school.

On the first day of school, notes went out notifying parents that the school would shutdown immediately and parents were upset school administrators didn’t even attempt to call them.

On September 10, Champs Charter School officials appeared before the Tamarac City Commission along with the property owner and legal council to ask for a special exception for a minor revised site plan. The site, located at 2099 West Prospect Road, is designated for a school and is the former site of the Kathleen C. Wright Leadership Academy that was closed in 2013 by the state after the school received two F grades in a row. Before that, the property housed a traffic school.

Proposed location of charter school in Tamarac

Proposed location of charter school in Tamarac

The proposed charter school would be called Champs Career Prep Charter High School and will be open to grades 9-12 with a total enrollment of 400 students. They would have two sessions that will operate different times of the day, much like the proposed Newpoint Academy on McNab Road,  that the commission voted down in July.

The school would provide students at Boyd Anderson High School, the nearest school, with an alternative. Boyd Anderson is currently under enrolled.

Initially scheduled to open in August, attorney Keith Poliakoff, who represents the property owner, said they ran into delays with code.

“They were already to go, they spent money on advertising to get students in here, and they go to pull their permit and the staff told them, ‘Wait a minute here, under our code, your last use has been out for more than 90 days, now you have to go out and get a special exception.’”

This delayed the process and the school considered meeting in a nearby college, but at the last minute decided to do it over, forgoing opening this year to make sure they got their improvements right, said Poliakoff.

Now shooting for an August 15, 2015 start date, the commission approved their special exemption, but Vice Mayor Michelle Gomez was concerned about the recent school closings in West Palm Beach and if the school would have funding before they opened their doors here next fall.

Officials with the school said it would take another seven months make improvements to the building to get it where it needs to be. Then they will have to go back to the school board to get approved and after that, they can get state funding.

One of the conditions that the commission has placed on their order is that they cannot open unless they have enrolled at least 150 students by July 15, 2015. The Broward County School District would first need this information, then the city would verify.

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk and Coral Springs Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac and to give resident's a forum. We are not affiliated with the City of Tamarac. That's why this site can be occasionally opinionated and obviously open.

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  • InTamarac

    Chan Lowe’s cartoon from the September 4, 2014 edition of the Sun Sentinel perfectly captured my sentiment about the sudden plethora of charter schools that want to open in Tamarac but it’s particularly on point considering the charter school that wants to open on Prospect Rd. next to the executive airport. Yes, Tamarac has lots of empty properties and vacant buildings but what long-term benefit will charter schools bring to the city? They don’t foster commercial or residential development and with the poor track record charter schools have in Broward County why is Tamarac so eager to put so many eggs in a questionable basket? In a few years of opening, those schools will probably be empty again. I’d like to hear what the city’s reasoning is for going in this risky direction. I wrote to my commissioner asking this question but d/n get an answer.