Broward County is the home of Ft. Lauderdale and its beautiful beaches, but there is much more to know. It has a lot of charter schools, and their failure rate is high. Thirty-two charters closed since 2007, and more are closing this year. The Broward League of Women Voters is studying charters schools. They want to know why this is happening. Margery Marcus, from Broward, has sent their first report. Yesterday, I spoke with a reporter from Salon Magazine who is in Broward for the same reason. We all need to follow this story. Read Margery’s post.
An Overview of Broward’s Charter School Scene
Score one for the retirement community of Kings Point, Tamarac, FL which was successful recently in beating back that city’s proposal to build a charter middle and high school on land adjacent to it. The plan called for Doral Academy to be built on land currently home to the city’s Sports Complex which houses a skate park, and basketball and tennis courts. The recreational facility would have been relocated if the school had gotten the green light.
Worried about the traffic congestion that would accompany the school, Kings Point residents angrily protested over several months, exerting political pressure on Tamarac’s city manager and commissioners. The city withdrew its proposal in early June.
Last summer’s much-praised Sun Sentinel investigation report, Charter Schools Unsupervised, revealed the problems with unchecked charters in Broward, and the school district’s frustration with existing laws hindering tougher oversight on the district’s part.
Broward County is home to 100 charter schools, enrolling over 40,000 students. In other words, nearly one out of every three schools in Broward is a charter. As of November, 2014, 13 new charter schools have been approved to open next year. (An updated numbers request made in early June to Broward’s Director of Charter Schools Management was forwarded to the Public Information Office, where it is “awaiting action,” whenever that may come.)
Of the 12 new charters approved for 2014-2015, three closed within thirty days. Three charters closed at the end of this school year, and one charter high school for at-risk students, was given five more years, providing it adheres to state testing policies.
The school district’s hope for tougher accountability laws vanished when the state legislature failed to act on charter school issues this session.