By: Sharon Aron Baron
A charter school company that wants approval of a special exception to build their school in Tamarac will take place in a public hearing in front of the planning board in July.
The charter school proposed would serve as a dropout prevention high school for at-risk students. It would offer two sessions each day for a total of 400 hundred students at what was formerly a call center at the 8301 West McNab Road location. The company running the school would be Newpoint Education Partners, which operates schools out of Ohio and Florida.
Newpoint operates a dropout prevention school in Clearwater called Life Skills Center North or New Start High School which they now operate under the name Enterprise Charter High School. No current data could be found on the school or current testing results from the past several years.
An investigation of the proliferation of charter schools by the Sun Sentinel has found that in the past 5 years 56 charters have closed in the tri-county area including one in Tamarac.
The July planning board meeting would be the second time American Charter Development, would appear before the committee. The first time, on May 12, was met with resistance by residents in nearby Walden Pond community of Woodmont which sits on the opposite side of NW 70 Street. They said that the school would increase traffic to their neighborhood.
Residents were concerned because American Charter Development only planned to separate access to NW 70th Street with temporary orange construction cones, and they said that students would walk or drive over them. They were also concerned that the street behind the school would be a temporary drop off point for students blocking their access into their neighborhood.
At the May meeting, planning board members were deadlocked. When the vote went before the city commission, they said that they could not move forward until a decision was made by the planning board.
Because of security concerns from residents who attended the planning board meeting, and the fact that the planning board did not vote to move the project forward, the company went back to their attorney Keith Poliakoff to find out how to best resolve the issues. “We need to make sure the property is segregated from Waldon [Pond],” he said.
On July 2, the planning board will be meeting again to vote whether to approve the special exception. The following week, the city commission’s vote will be continent upon this decision.
Planning board meetings are not streamed live to the public. If you’d like to attend, please visit City Hall on July 2, 9 am in room 105. Attendees are allowed to speak up to three minutes.
The city commission meeting will be held on July 9, at 7 pm in the commission chambers at city hall.
See Related: School Board gives Newpoint 2-year extension