From Sun Sentinel reporter Arun Sivasankaran:
Tamarac city officials have shot down a proposal to open a charter high school within the city.
At a recent City Commission meeting, officials went against staff’s recommendation and voted unanimously against granting a special exception to open an alternative high school named International High School. The denial is in the backdrop of complaints by city residents that too many charter schools are opening in the city.
The city’s planning board initially referred the matter to the City Commission without any recommendation. After city officials voted to send the item back to the planning board, the board voted 3-2 in favor of approving the request by the property owner, American Charter Development, and the school operator, Newport Education Partners.
Voting against the application, Mayor Harry Dressler referred to “existing deficiencies” in the city’s code in addressing the issue of special exception for charter schools. He said his vote was based on the best interests of the community and the city.
The staff’s recommendation in support of the applicant is based on “outdated” special-exception processes, Commissioner Debra Placko said. “My community has raised a lot of concerns, which have been substantiated this evening a little bit. I think I will be doing a disservice to the community if I support this. I have serious concerns.”
But I thought that the public has been wailing for choice via charter schools.
And interesting tidbit from the Tamarac story is the existence of a supporting petition.
Charter schools seem to be sprouting up all over the place, said Commissioner Pamela Bushnell. “I cannot understand how you are going to fill this school when already there is so many,” she said. In the petition submitted by the applicant in support of the school that was purportedly signed by residents and businesses in the city, most of the signatures are from people in Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill and Coral Springs, she added.
So the charter school outfit got their supporting signatures outside of the community. The charter school industry is notorious for bogus petitions. One only needs to reminded about the shady manner Parent Revolution operates or Michelle Rhee’s bogus petition to support parent trigger in Florida last year.
Lets hope that Hillsborough officials ask for the petition results that Charter Schools USA says they have for a MacDill AFB facility.