By: Sharon Aron Baron
The City of Tamarac wants a new Charter High School.
Did you read about it in the agenda? I didn’t either. You see, City Manager Michael Cernech slipped it in the January 21, workshop agenda as item number seven, which wasn’t on the agenda, nor was it ever amended to include this item.
It seems he was quite prepared to bring the item forward for discussion as well, which means there was probably enough time for it to be added. Maybe then, the public could have known about it.
Anyway, the commission wants Tamarac to have its own high school because they believe our city needs a high school.
No facts. No numbers. They just want it.
Since neither the Mayor or any of the Commissioners have children in school, you would think that they would take the time to learn a little more about the schools we have, as well as their current enrollment numbers. They didn’t even have the foresight to appoint an Education Advisory Committee (EAC) like Coral Springs and Parkland has either.
An Education Advisory Committee provides oversight and guidance on the educational needs of the residents, and can better advise the commission before they proceed on items. Instead of appointing an EAC, the commission went ahead and passed a resolution to issue a request for proposal, or RFP, to find a Charter School company that would build their Charter High School. All this, without even giving the heads-up to the public by putting it on the agenda at the city commission meeting
So here we have two city meetings where the commission discusses building a high school for our city, however, the public never knows a thing about it because it’s never listed on an agenda – and you will not see it categorized either on web-streaming. However, you can see them discussing it “off agenda” at the end of the workshop here at the end of the meeting. January 21 Workshop
Isn’t this the most backwards way of running our city, coming from the “city that commits to transparency?”
Here’s how it will basically work: the city wants to provide land for a Charter School to lease at the Tamarac Sports Complex at 9901 NW 77th Street. However, if they had done their homework, or at least appointed an EAC, they would have known that many of our residents on the western side of Tamarac already attend JP Taravella, and the land they are proposing is only two miles from this A-rated, yet under-enrolled, school. Do they want a high school just because JP Taravella is located in the city of Coral Springs, and not in Tamarac?
Having a Charter High School is bad for Coral Springs and Tamarac, bad for public education, and bad for JP Taravella, to siphon off public dollars for the benefit of private corporations,” said retired Taravella teacher and former Broward County School Board Member David Thomas.
If more research was done, they would have also discovered that Coral Glades High School, another A-rated Broward County Public School, only 4.6 miles away from the proposed site, is also under-enrolled.
Does our city commission realize that many Charter Schools are for-profit schools? Although Charter Schools are considered public schools, every child that attends a Charter School, is one more that takes badly needed funds from our Broward County public schools. Are we going to put more money into Charter Schools USA Founder Jonathan Hage’s pockets so he can pay $100,000 private school tuition for his four children, or to finance his vacation homes?
Where are they going to find all of these high school students without depleting students, and funds, from our nearby schools?