By: Sharon Aron Baron
Academica, the charter school company that wants to build its Doral Academy Preparatory School on seven acres in the Sports Complex also wants to build a school in Parkland. However, according to the Sun Sentinel, city officials there are favoring a municipal charter school instead.
The differences in Parkland and Tamarac having large charter school company’s build in their cities are vast: First of all, Parkland’s public schools are over-enrolled due to new building from the newly annexed “wedge” area as well as the desirability of their current schools, unlike Tamarac’s nearby schools which are under-enrolled.
Secondly, Parkland City officials want to see the City build a municipally run charter school like Coral Springs and Pembroke Pines where the City holds the charter. This allows the City to have oversight, and the schools have proven to be more academically successful this way. Also, when a City holds the charter, residents in that City have first priority to the seats. Unlike the charter school the City of Tamarac is proposing which, due to state law, will allow any student from any part of Broward County to enroll.
Third, Parkland has a – you guessed it – an education advisory board. We’ve been talking about this on Tamarac Talk for years now. Our mayor loves to talk about getting our kids involved with the City but doesn’t want to get the City involved with education. According to the Sentinel article, Parkland Vice Mayor Stacy Kagan wanted the city to seek input from the education advisory board on the idea of a municipal charter school. “Having control over what happens is very important. The most important thing is to keep Parkland children in Parkland schools.”
At any time did our City officials seek the advice from former educators or those in the community before they put out a request for proposals for a charter school? Even if Doral Academy does or does not get voted through, it is more important than ever for the future of our residents to establish an EAB to serve as a liaison between our schools and our commission.