for downtown Miami charter school goes forward
an Oct. 1 deadline, Miami's Downtown Development Authority is pushing
through an application to open a downtown charter school that could
accept students as early as August 2002.
approved by the Miami-Dade School Board and the State of Florida next
spring, the clock would be set in motion for the 2002-03 school year.
are now about 15 charter schools open in the county.
is of the essence, Joaquin G. Avino said, because "any delay
results in the opening being delayed for a full year, since it is
not an option to open a charter school after the school year has commenced."
don't want to own the school. We don't want the liability," said
Miami City Commissioner Willy Gort, authority chairman. He said the
development authority decided last week to be responsible for the
application and moving the project forward.
and budget issues can be resolved after the application is filed,
said Mr. Avino, president of Charter Schoolhouse Developers Inc.,
which would manage the school for the development authority.
Avino said a site would have to be chosen before the charter application
is ruled on next spring.
sites are under consideration a plot adjacent to Bayside Marketplace,
behind the Hard Rock Cafă; a vacant lot north of the City of Miami
Administration Building on Southwest Second Avenue and the Miami River,
and a site in the Government Center area next to the City of Miami
police station on Northwest Second Avenue.
Bayside site, Mr. Gort said, is preferred because it offers easier
access to the central business district, "which is more geared
to the east than to the west."
Schoolhouse Developers, winner of the bidding to run the downtown
academy, also manages the successful charter school at Ryder System
Inc. in West Dade and another in Coral Springs, Mr. Avino said. If
it comes to fruition, the downtown school would be run along similar
the school would be under the Miami-Dade County School District, its
management could be tailored by Charter Schoolhouse Developers to
meet the specific needs and requirements of parents whose children
for teachers' salaries and other operational costs would be allocated
by the Miami-Dade School System based on how many students enroll.
The downtown school would serve 500 K-5th grade students, Mr. Avino
call for the Downtown Development Authority to create a nonprofit
to operate the school and be responsible for securing the site.
order for the project to be economically viable, the site must be
made available to us by the DDA," Mr. Avino said in a letter
to Patti Allen, authority executive director. "The Bayside and
the Riverside sites are both under the ownership in some fashion of
the City of Miami. The DDA needs to acquire control of the site."
always said we wanted to be facilitators for this," board member
Carlos Migoya said in support of the project.
got to drive the process," agreed board member Jack Peeples.
whole idea is to be flexible," Mr. Avino said. "The education
system overall is in the midst of a major transformation. Charter
schools are on the forefront."