By: Sharon Aron Baron
A charter high school wants city commissioners to approve their new location at Wednesday morning’s city commission meeting, even holding a special meeting to reassure residents of their proposal.
Called International High School, American Charter Development will be paying over $1.7 million for the 2.73 acre property that was formerly a call center at the 8301 West McNab Road location.
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.
Poliakoff said they would build a fence to separate NW 70 Street and only allow it to open for emergency vehicles.
Tom Hall, discussed the site design and traffic and said he believed that the student traffic will not impact normal traffic in the area because of the time classes were scheduled which were between 7 am – 11 am and 12 pm – 4 pm.
The school would have up to 400 students with 18 staff members including a full time security guard. The school, considered a dropout prevention school, would not accept students who have been expelled from other high schools.
Just how safe would it be having 400 students at this location?
Since they estimated that most students will be from the ages of 15 – 21, many will be driving or will be dropped off by others since generally students do not use public transportation. This should cause the commission concern, especially since yesterday, a bicyclist was just killed by a car on that same street just a couple blocks from the planned school.
Many residents that attended Tuesday night’s meeting were told for the first time the name of the company that would be operating the school: Newpoint Education Partners which was represented by Vice President of Operations and Development David Stiles.
Newpoint schools operates schools in both Ohio and Florida, and say they operate 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.
The city commission meets at 9 am Wednesday morning to vote whether to move forward with the charter school.