FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Some schools in Broward County may soon be forced to close their doors.
The Broward County Schools Superintendent said he is trying to live up to his promise to see the needs of his students and their families up close.
“I made a commitment to the community that we would talk about going there first, listening to them, understanding them and making sure we aren’t doing anything until we hear from them,” Superintendent Dr. Peter Licata said.
On Monday, he and other staff toured the county and got a better look at the challenges that their district is facing.
“We do know we have a lot of under-enrolled schools, but we also know that the answer isn’t saying ‘You’re under-enrolled, it’s time to close it.’ That’s the last option,” said Licata.
The superintendent said there are empty seats across the county, not just in one area.
He said this year they dropped by about 3,000 students, and more than that last year.
The bottom line is, according to Licata, they don’t have the budget anymore to endure that kind of yearly loss.
One reason he believes is that some families have moved out due to property values being too high — Which is why this district wants to make sure they are doing everything they can to stay competitive.
“We want to look at the K-8 model, I’ve had success with that,” said Licata. “We also want to look at the K-12 model, is it working? Is it worth replicating? We’ll look at technical centers, can we build on that? Even look at a potential in-district charter school, but definitely some full-choice opportunities, some innovative programming.”
Those are a few of the ideas they are discussing, even looking at a boundary process, but the superintendent said nothing is set in stone.
They want to hear from the families in these communities and then come up with a game plan.
They’re aware that they have a need for housing and have even talked about selling land and repurposing some schools.
He’ll be back in front of the school board in June with the five schools they plan to re-purpose.
“We are in a good place. But it’s going to be a hard path simply because no one likes to hear these things but it’s time to change,” said the superintendent. “We don’t have any money and we need to make sure we’re not writing checks we can’t cash.”
There will be three to four town hall meetings for families to attend, however, they have not been scheduled yet.
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