Mavericks High in Homestead was rocked by violence and grief this week. First, 16-year-old Danny Cruz was shot and killed by a police officer at a Homestead gas station. Then another Mavericks student, 17-year-old Jeremy Perez, was accused of bringing a gun to school "for protection." On Tuesday, Perez was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and resisting arrest.
The clashes with police brought renewed attention to a school that was the subject of a New Times investigation last year. Mavericks is part of a chain of charter schools designed to serve at-risk students who would otherwise drop out. It's run by a for-profit company, Mavericks in Education Florida, headed by Frank Biden, the vice president's brother.
But the schools -- particularly the Homestead campus -- have been
plagued by problems since they began opening in 2009. Last year, two former
employees filed whistle-blower lawsuits
alleging that the Mavericks in Homestead inflates attendance records, alters
grades, and does not offer standard Florida high school diplomas.
Mavericks officials have denied the allegations.
Florida Department of Education records show Mavericks High in Homestead graduated just 4.5 percent of students in the 2010-11 school year. In fact, none of the Mavericks schools has managed to graduated even half its eligible students. To read New Times' in-depth investigation of the Mavericks chain, click here.