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Is JenJen's School the Whitest in South Broward?

You've probably read about the construction of Broward School Board member Jennifer Gottlieb's pet school in Hollywood that wasn't needed at all but still cost taxpayers some $25 million and ruined a neighborhood park.

The school, Beachside Montessori Village (which is neither on the beach nor a village), was put in a working-class neighborhood where neighboring schools, many of them with a majority of minority students, were underenrolled. On top of that, a charter school was already built a stone's throw away.

Citizens angry about losing the use of Lincoln Park (legendary activists Pete Brewer, Sara Case, and Charlotte Greenbarg) complained even before the groundbreaking that it was a vanity project meant to build a special school for well-to-do folks in Hollywood like Gottlieb and further segregating the mostly minority schools nearby.

They were right.

The school is a special Montessori school where Gottlieb's own children were given preferential admittance because they had previously gone to Virginia Shuman Young Montessori school in Fort Lauderdale. Also admitted despite a waiting list and "lottery" system were the children of Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober.

On top of that, the school includes a pre-K program that costs $135 a week -- and all students enrolled in the pre-K program and their siblings are given priority admittance, Hollywood Commissioner Heidi O'Sheehan filed a federal civil rights complaint regarding that practice, saying that it disenfranchised economically disadvantaged minority students from the school. On top of that, the statewide grand jury also reportedly investigated the school due to its $2 million in cost overruns.

Well, the numbers are in on the racial makeup of JenJen's school. Inside, see the eye-popping results.

The school, according to district data, is a whopping 65 percent white non-hispanic. Only 11 percent of the students are black, and just 16 percent are Hispanic.

To understand how aberrant those numbers are, consider that about 38 percent of the Broward school district's quarter-million students are black and 25 percent are Hispanic. That comes to 63 percent of the total are in those two minority groups, while Gottlieb's school has just 27 percent.

Try to find a less diverse public school than Gottlieb's Beachside Montessori Village. It may be a task, especially in the general region where the school is located.

[UPDATED: I just found a school that is whiter: the new Heron Heights Elementary in Parkland. It's a whopping 77 percent white non-Hispanic.]

I was sent a review of numerous schools both in Hollywood and other parts of Broward, and none of them was as white as JenJen's vanity school. Here's a breakdown:

In Hollywood:

Oakridge Elem. (38% White non-Hispanic)

Hollywood Central Elem. (52% White non-Hispanic)

Orangebrook Elem. (34% White non-Hispanic)

Colbert  Elem. (16% White non-Hispanic)

Hollywood Hills Elem. (60% White non-Hispanic)

Sheridan Hills Elem. (55% White non-Hispanic)
Attucks Middle School (30% White non-Hispanic)

Apollo Middle School (40% White non-Hispanic)
McNicol Middle School (17% White non-Hispanic)

Driftwood Middle School (50% White non-Hispanic)

South Broward High School (47% White non-Hispanic)

Hollywood Hills High School (47% White non-Hispanic) 

MArthur High School (45% White non-Hispanic)

Around Broward: 
Virginia Shuman Young Montessori Elem. (54% White non-Hispanic)
Sunrise Middle School that includes a Magnet Montessori (37% White non-Hispanic)

Olsen Middle School (Dania) (42% White non-Hispanic)

Gulfstream Middle School (Hallandale) (37% White non-Hispanic)

Tequesta Trace Middle (Weston) (61% White non-Hispanic)

Nova Middle School (36% White non-Hispanic)

Nova High School (41% White non-Hispanic)

Western High School (west Davie) (63% White non-Hispanic)

Cypress Bay High School (Weston) (52% White non-Hispanic)

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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