Residents Turn Out to Protest Proposed Charter School Move to Public Park

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By: Sharon Aron Baron

Several hundred residents turned up in green shirts to protest the proposed relocation of Coral Springs Charter school to Betti Stradling Park on Thursday evening

Held at the Charter School auditorium, residents lined up to share their opinions – which primarily were against moving the school to the public park.

“People bought homes with the expectations that this would be a park,” said one resident. “If you build something else there you are betraying them.” 

Another asked if anyone favored the proposed move. Only one person shouted “yes” while others in the audience screamed “no”.

Coral Springs Charter School has been located on Sample and University since 1999 and the new location is being proposed at Betti Stradling Park north of Wiles Road and east of Coral Springs Drive.  

The school is owned and operated by the City of Coral Springs and the city holds the charter. The city also owns the land and the building at the existing location. Under the proposal, the city would lease the land in the Betti Stradling parking lot to the Coral Springs charter school.

The city currently contracts with Charter Schools USA for the operation of the charter school and they would continue to operate the school on the city’s behalf as well as serve as the “landlord” for the school. Charter Schools USA would fund and finance the costs of constructing the school building and the parking garage, if required. They would then lease the building to the Coral Springs Charter School.  According to the city, no tax dollars would be utilized to fund the transaction.

Allan Berkowitz, of Coral Springs said that the city opened a pandora’s box. “Those that vote to place that school at Betti Stradling Park, you mark my words, your days as a commissioner are over.”

Mayor Skip Campbell and Commissioner Larry Vignola were not present at the meeting.

In a statement on Facebook, Campbell wrote, “First, let me me thank you for taking such an interest in what is happening in your city. I am truly sorry that I was unable to attend the meeting last night. For five months, I have had a trip planned with my brothers and sisters to visit Ireland where our mother is from, who past away not too long ago. Had it not been for me being away, I would have been there to hear the residents concerns.

When the city staff recommended moving the Charter School to Betti Stradling Park, they presented the idea to me with the assumption that they had already met with the residents who would be directly affected by the move. It is clear to me now that never happened. I have not met or heard from a single person or family that is in favor of this move. So for that reason, I will not be voting in favor of moving the Charter School to Betti Straddling Park. I think the city needs to go back to the “drawing boards” and look at other potentially viable locations.”

Both Commissioners Lou Cimaglia and Joy Carter, who were present, said they were against the idea of moving the school to Betti Stradling Park.

In a statement on Friday, Carter wrote, “I heard you, and will not vote in favor of relocating the Charter School to Betty Stradling park.“

Vice Mayor Dan Daley, who arrived late due to a conflict with another meeting, said he is all for a move, however, he is not sold on that location.

“I’d like for staff to take a fresh look at options.”

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Coral Springs Talk. CST was created in 2012 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Coral Springs, Parkland and the rest of South Florida.

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  • Yongo

    Sounds like the mayor was kept in the dark if this is true those highly paid individuals must be fired and replaced with new employees who will not stab the new city manager li the back and support the residents of coral springs. As for Dan we will just get rid of him.

    • kilroy

      Dan is a turncoat whatever the wind is blowing politician he was a Republican then turned Democrat now he is FOR the move just not sure WHERE – he has to wait and smell which way the political breeze is blowing first…..
      Vote OUT anyone that allows this move to happen .
      Whatever happened to that land they were gonna build that home depot on way west on Wiles Rd. ? build the school there.

    • barb

      Why would staff talk to residents before presenting an idea, that was an idiot statement from the Mayor. They present, they discuss, they form a consensus, they decide how best to promote it to get the least resistance, start traffic study, build a rendition of what it might look like, then they present it to the public. Its how it was done for the city center, mullins park and how it will be done for next site. I find the mayor’s comments very disingenuous and just political jargon and I for one thinks he is full of it. The only one who had any real concerns was Commissioner Cimaglia.

  • yongo

    Now you know why they were passed over just to dumb for the job nothing to do with gender.

  • yongo

    Wow over budget and hundreds of thousands of added expenses what a surprise. read my comments on the city manager who quit and left us with high salaried incompetence. To late to cry now however we can get some satisfaction getting back at the guy who wanted to take away the park .there are many many auto repair shops in our area all do great work and guarantee their work. To al the residents who will be affected by taking away the public park take your auto repair business anywhere except commissioner’s Vignola’s get even show your power and maybe he will get some dignity and resign.

  • yongo

    The mayor is right get. Back to the drawing board but change the cast they are the true definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again seeking different results.

  • yongo

    Lets discuss getting out of the school business leave It up to the public school system and the private school system

  • kilroy

    Still say this is all THEATRE – it’s just a show for the public the backroom deals have already taken place…

  • yongo

    Could well be however the mayor and the two commissioners gave their word That they are against this plan and that should end any effort to place this school in the park.
    its now time to move on get out of the school business and remember when the time comes vote out Dan and Larry just wrong for the city.

  • yongo

    Why not put the school next to the police building on Coral springs dive. Sell the property to the school and let them build their school. give them access to the fields and the gymnasium and everything should be ok . There will be sufficient parking and with a round about traffic will be held to controllable levels. Perfect place even bus stops.

  • yongo

    It obvious after the recent charter school meeting that Susan Grant was ill prepared and tried too con the people who were against her proposal. It s also obvious that she has an agenda and not qualified to be involved in something so important to the residents of coral springs. Even the commissioners lacked support for her abilities to understand what was happening and along with the mayor said that they would not support moving the school to the park. Over paid and unqualified but she has seniority. There is a saying do you have 20 years experience or do you have 1year experience. 20 time. You be the judge after what has come out of her office in recent years.

  • yongo

    Please read the article in the Sun sentinel re. Coral springs finances as I said many times. they lie and deceive. Previous city manager kept telling every how well we were doing and they kept spending and borrowing and was praised by the commission who wanted to spend more. All these millions spent of course no tax payer money was being spent as we were told many times. all the money in city accounts is taxpayer money. 40 million for a city hall no where close to the bid where Is All the money going? Large salary increases we are talking millions we don’t have they want to get the money from our reserve accounts raise taxes and fees . stop this madness now the school move Is just the tip of the iceberg. Now you know why he quit story I told a month ago. Read all my comments all are coming true. Stop the school move its not over save our parks and the city must get out of the school business and stop spending. Reorganize city managers office, deputy managers should become assistant to the manager and a new candidates should be considered for the job of deputy city manager, one who be qualified to fill In for the manager and a team member will put our residents first. you all see what is coming out of that office.

    • Barb

      This is not city staff and quite honestly she did a great job at the meeting. Having said that I think you are being bamboozled into believing this was not something the whole commission knew about and were excited about. They made comments about it. If they had any sense they would have known the public would be against it.

  • yongo

    Most .likely I was, when I herd the location was recommend by staff and she is staff, and when I herd that the mayor and commissioners would like staff to look for other locations to recommend and she is staff I assumed that she had something to do with the location selection. Now I understand why her presentation was so limited
    with information . She as you suggest probably had nothing to do with this fiasco. thank you for the enlightenment. Bamboozled ?

    • Yongo

      Voice recognition isn’t working well sorry for misspellings