District 2 Commissioner Jay Scwartz led last night’s parent informational meeting on “Moving Forward to the Next 15 Years”. Schwartz welcomed the parents, students, teachers, and members of city hall including Mayor Frank Ortis and Comissioner Iris Siple. He talked about how great the school is now and emphasized the Charter system’s family dynamic. In order to talk about the future of our schools, he talked about the past and the origins of the charter system.
The Pembroke Pines Charter School System started off 15 years ago when Hurricane Andrew hit the South Florida area and people from Miami moved on up to Broward County. At the time, schools were overcrowded and some students were sent to learn in small and cramped portables. Broward County would have liked to of built more schools but at the time there was not enough funding to build more schools. The City of Pembroke Pines decided to take the initiative to build more schools and that’s how Pembroke Pines Charter Schools came to be.
Junior and SGA President Sofia Lalinde also spoke about how great it is to be a student at PPCHS. She started off in the school system when the FSU campus opened in 2003 as a first grader. She emphasized how much her teachers throughout all her years of elementary, middle, and high schools has impacted her and has made her to the person that she is today. “It was amazing and I felt so honored to be able to speak on behalf of Charter students. I thought last night went very well and it really gave us a synopsis of what can be expected for the future of Charter. I think there was a very positive atmosphere and some important questions were answered,” exclaimed junior and SGA president Sofia Lalinde.
Comissioner Schwartz also talked about how our school is funded through the PECO grants, the Florida state lottery, and other methods of public funding.
The Charter school system took a left turn when there was not enough funding to sustain the school year and a privately owned company, Charter Schools USA, was going to buy out our schools and privatize them. Teachers and students were both concerned about the future of the school system. Thankfully, Broward Teacher’s Union and the City of Pembroke Pines was able to reach a resolution that caused a steep pay cut for the teachers.
After that downfall, the Save Our Schools initiative was born. Since the Save Our Schools have been established the school has raised $300,000 in pledges, Central Campuses snack shack raised $12,000, and so much more. Our fundraising efforts have helped so much that Save Our Schools is getting a new name, Support Our Schools. This is a step moving forward from being at rock bottom to steadily rising back up again.
Commissioner Schwartz was pleased to announce that our efforts have paid off. Our charter has been renewed for another 15 years. The school will be expanding by adding 15% more students. Teacher associates’ jobs will be secure and the school will be moving forward and is on the right path to success.
Reported by: Anthony KELLEHER
Photo by: Jonathan HARRIS