By: Sharon Aron Baron
Residents are mad as hell and are venting their frustrations to Parkland Mayor Michael Udine over the proposed boundary changes from Broward School Board Member Abby Freedman.
Residents from Parkland and Coral Springs as well as those who have purchased or contracted homes in the newly developed “wedge” area are concerned that their community may be broken up or bussed to other schools to meet class size requirements based on boundary proposals by Freedman. See Boundary Proposals. They have formed online groups to discuss these issues and Mayor Michael Udine, of Parkland has been the liaison between the school board and concerned parents.
Udine, once a supporter of Freedman’s is angry that she has not pulled down her proposals that he says are senseless and are needlessly hurting potential home sales in Parkland when there is still plenty of room to accommodate students at Broward County Schools for the next three years.
We will not throw out years of prudent planning on the whim and under threat by our School Board Member. I can assure you that is not going to happen, nor is it proper,” – Mayor Michael Udine
The new proposals by Freedman break up those living in the Coral Springs side of Heron Bay with those living in the Parkland side to attend two different elementary schools. Another has unbuilt homes that are currently in the boundaries for Heron Heights to attend schools like Deerfield Beach or Park Springs Elementary School. Those in middle would attend Deerfield Beach or Forest Glen Middle School, and those that are slated to go to Stoneman Douglas would be assigned to either Coral Springs High School or Blanche Ely High School.
Freedman had not pulled her proposals even though they go against usual Broward County policy by mixing innovation zones, skipping transportation zones, and clearly not following acceptable boundary guidelines.
From Mayor Michael Udine:
First, as people discuss back and forth, I would be remiss if I did not mention, both Park Trails and Heron Heights, are GREAT A Schools. Run by dedicated leaders in Mr. King and Mr. Rebshaw. They have amazing teachers that are doing great things for our children. Thank you!!!
Second, last night’s EAB (Education Advisory Board) meeting, is starting to put in perspective, that REAL people are being seriously affected by the outrageous proposal put forth by Abby Freedman. Parents, who are making the most important purchase in their lives, relying on reasonable assumptions in doing so, are having their lives turned upside down. Let me add that since these proposals were floated, sales in the affected Communities have seriously been affected. The wedge properties have come to a standstill. People are walking from deposits. HOMES ARE BUILT BY PEOPLE WITH JOBS, UNFORTUNATELY, SOME OF THOSE JOBS ARE GOING AWAY DUE TO THE RECKLESSNESS OF OUR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER. While clearly property values are failing in the Wedge area, they are also falling throughout Parkland, especially in the Communities on the fringes of the City, on any side. These are facts that I am hearing from local realtors. Not my opinion. While everyone knows that these proposals will not pass, they are, I am told, a disclosure type event that Realtors must tell prospective buyers.
I have inquired from our City Staff and other than approvals and compliance information from the County School Board, we have NEVER received anything from our School Board Member prior to her bomb, that she had any issue with how anything was developing in Parkland. HAS ANYONE IN HER SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT EVER RECEIVED A DISTRICT UPDATE OR BROCHURE?? I have never seen anything. Why not?
Had the City ever been approached by anyone questioning what we would do in the future, we would have explained that in addition to the land that was set aside for future schools and the related impact fees, we WENT A STEP FURTHER AND MADE SURE WE RECEIVED CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE DEVELOPERS FOR AN EDUCATION FUND. THE CITY STANDS READY AND WILLING TO ASSIST SCHOOL BOARD STAFF IN PROVIDING ADDITIONAL STUDENT STATIONS AS WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN IN THE PAST. At no time did our School Board member ever even bring this issue up. NO ONE HEARD FROM HER, EVER on this issue!
Finally, some are commenting on other school board members thoughts on the issue. I have spoken to both Robin Bartleman and Donna Korn, the “At Large Members”. They know the proposals submitted are off the wall, violate virtually all of the policies and procedures of the School Board. Plus, and most important, Robin and Donna, care about children! So do the other school board members ,who I am being told are equally as disgusted by what Abby Freedman is trying to do. They have never and will never use our children and their education as pawns to pit us against each other.