Hallandale Neighbors in a Schvitz About Proposed New Charter School

Around 100 Hallandale Beach residents who live near the Hallandale Jewish Center have signed a petition opposing the opening of a new K-8 charter school on the site. The school would be run by the Ben Gamla Charter School, which already has locations in Hollywood and Sunrise.

Broward Bulldog has a rundown on the years-long debate about the new school, which would receive the same public funding as public schools to educate around 450 kids. Some are protesting the very idea of using government funds for a religiously affiliated school -- although Ben Gamla says it teaches Hebrew only in a cultural context and doesn't require students to say prayers.

Neighborhood opposition to a new school, especially a charter, is nothing new. Sometimes the discussion is even more heated, as with

School Board member Jennifer Gottlieb's pet project, a Montessori school in Hollywood, where her kids (and Mayor Peter Bober's) were quickly accepted.

One of the chief pushers of the new Ben Gamla school in Hallandale is former U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch, who once challenged Mitch Ceasar for the Democratic party chair position. Deutsch lives off Stirling Road in Hollywood, 15 minutes from the proposed school.

Meanwhile, neighbors say that a new school would bring heavy traffic that the city can't handle. A decision on the school was pulled from the May 18 City Commission meeting because of the ongoing debate. Mayor Joy Cooper says she's working on a resolution.

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