Coral Springs Commission Condemns School Board’s Rezoning Decision, Pursues Injunction to Stop Process

Coral Springs City Commission Meeting April 4, 2023
By Bryan Boggiano

The Coral Springs city commission strongly criticized the school board’s March 29 boundary hearing regarding the MSD rezoning process, resulting in a potential injunction to stop the process.

The commission discussed the MSD rezoning developments at a special workshop Tuesday afternoon, addressing their concerns and listening to affected residents and community members.

On March 29, the school district sent emails and robocalls stating that the boundaries for all high schools, including MSD, would remain the same for the upcoming school year.

Originally, the school board was slated to vote on the H1 proposal, which would rezone 351 incoming MSD students to Coral Glades High School. At the hearing, the board acknowledged they did not comply with Policy 5000, which sets the rules for the rezoning process. Despite that, they voted to reject the superintendent’s recommendation and to support H1.

In response, the city commission issued a statement condemning the decision.

Parents and residents expressed disgust at the school board’s conduct, handling of the process, and unprofessionalism. They also labeled the MSD rezoning as gentrification and denied MSD was in any imminent danger from overcrowding.

“Something smells real rotten with this board,” said Jonathan Korb. “There’s a lot of things going on there that just aren’t right.”

Nicole Morst said the school board did not involve Coral Springs officials in the MSD rezoning process as early as Parkland and that the city should have been more involved in the process from the start.

“Parkland and the school board threw you all under the bus,” she said. 

Karla Figueroa left the meeting thinking that the school board would vote to support Smiley’s recommendation. Later, a friend texted her, saying that did not happen.

“I felt blindsided; the whole city felt blindsided,” Figueroa said.

The city commission agreed with residents, expressing disproval of how the meeting took place and supporting a countywide approach to rezoning.

Metayer Bowen said if the MSD rezoning goes through, Coral Springs would revisit certain contracts with Parkland, including parking agreements for MSD students at North Community Park, the use of athletic fields, and even fire services.

Similarly, Commissioner Joy Carter said, “We as Coral Springs residents and as a commission have to let the school board know that this is not right, and we know what’s best for our kids. I feel we’re being discriminated against.”

In his comments, Mayor Scott Brook denied there was an imminent threat to students and staff if the MSD rezoning did not occur. He also acknowledged the meeting was not conducted fairly.

Vice Mayor Shawn Cerra said in his 30 years as an educator, he was never told he could not follow policy and be okay.

He also denied MSD was in imminent danger, stating it is the safest school in the district.

“For this vote to swing because Stoneman Douglas is in ‘imminent danger’ is alarming, concerning, and flat-out embarrassing,” he said. “What was demonstrated was a lack of leadership on the school board and a lack of forward-thinking on the bigger picture.”

The strongest critiques came from Commissioner Joshua Simmons.

He said the MSD rezoning process should have been collaborative. He expressed anger over Parkland officials speaking out over something that, he said, did not affect them.

Simmons criticized multiple board members for using the word safety to push their own agendas, directing the strongest criticism to Chair Lori Alhadeff.

“She’s not listening to the people of Coral Springs, and this is wrong,” he said. “Just do the right damn thing. One more year. We couldn’t get that.” 

Brook entertained a motion to file an injunction to stop the MSD rezoning process if the city attorney found the city had any legal standing. Metayer Bowen moved to approve, and Simmons seconded. It passed unanimously.

The school board’s next boundary hearing will take place on Wednesday, April 12, starting at 5:30 p.m., at J.P. Taravella High School.

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Bryan Boggiano

Bryan Boggiano
A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan is pursuing his masters in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.