Steal from the Kiddies, Spoil the Rich

Hollywood schools its citizens, young and old, in stupidity

The facts get in the way of Furr's response, though. Aventura in Miami-Dade County and Pembroke Pines in Broward are in the midst of helping to pay for charter elementary schools that will open next year. And the two schools where the commissioner would like to send kids are unlikely targets: One is for older kids, and one is on the cusp of being gutted for remodeling. Then there's Furr's claim that there's a lack of kids in downtown apartments. Baloney. A New Times editor recently moved into the JPI project with his school-age daughter, a guy with two kids lives across the hall, and JPI hasn't even begun renting out a building full of empty apartments across the street.

So the more than 100 parents who attended last week's School Board meeting are now left in the cold. They wore Band-Aids to the hearing to signal their demand for a solution that's more than temporary. Yet, because the population is swelling, the board's decision to move 114 kids to another elementary school will only preserve the status quo, which means 40 percent over capacity. "They're like the 'Education Prevention Board,'" comments Melanie Rohrbach, whose daughter, Claire, is in kindergarten. "There is no coordination between [Hollywood Mayor Mara Giulianti] and the School Board."

Rohrbach and others are left with three unsavory choices: (1) try to come up with a place to build an annex to the school, (2) suffer year-round classes, or (3) cap enrollment, which means kids who are latecomers to the neighborhood might have to travel miles to school.

Commissioner Beam Furr and Mayor Mara Guilianti want to build the bejesus out of downtown
Commissioner Beam Furr and Mayor Mara Guilianti want to build the bejesus out of downtown

Yet Hollywood Central Principal Fran Merenstein says she's optimistic. She thinks the controversy over the school boundary changes will finally force the board and commission to work together, perhaps to build a new school or radically expand the present one. "If [the city allows] building, they need to look at the effect on the school," she says. "If they don't, there could be a disaster in terms of overcrowding."

The disaster, I am afraid, has already arrived. City commissioners and School Board members seem painfully unaware.

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