Miami-Dade plans to renovate old schools
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (WSVN) -- The superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools has proposed a way to repair a number of outdated and dilapidated schools throughout the county.
Miami Norland Senior High School houses 53 years of Viking pride, including a cabinet full of trophies and awards the school has earned over the years.
However, the school also contains holes in doors, ants, cracked windows, decrepit walls and a tiny cafeteria. "The classrooms definitely need more supplies, the building structure overall," said Miami Norland alumna Barbara Baker-Brown.
Norland parent Barbara Sweet agreed. "Everything: technology, cafeteria, gym," she said. "Everything."
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has acknowledged the need to renovate Miami Norland, along with other schools in Miami-Dade County. "How much longer should we wait? Until something catastrophic happens in our schools?" he asked. "The time is now, the need is here, and the solution is ours, and the solution is part of our community as well."
Carvalho's proposed solution involves asking voters to approve issuing $1.2 billion in bonds, which would add about $20 a year to the typical taxpayer's bill.
The plan would also provide funds for new technology for Miami-Dade's nearly 400 public schools. "Right now, you have new schools with new technology next to old schools with old technology, and your zip code should not dictate the type and quality of education your kids are exposed to," said Carvalho.
School Board Member Wilbert T. Holloway said, "We'll have a panel that will come together, an advisory group that will observe just what our plans are."
Voters approved the last school-building bond program back in 1988. School officials believe the current plan is long overdue.
Superintendent Carvalho mentioned another benefit the proposed plan will provide: "Employing folks who right now have no jobs in our community and reenergizing the construction industry, which right now is at a standstill."
Wednesday night, the school board voted 7-2 to go forward with the proposal. School board member Raquel Regalado said, "When my son sees termites, he'll tell you that those are the bugs they have at school because those are the bugs they have at school."
However, not everyone is on board with the plan. "There will be corruption, probably within and without," said school board member Dr. Marta Perez, "because this is an awful lot of money."
Board member Renier Diaz De La Portilla agreed. "I just don't think this is the time, or this is the way to propose a taxed increase on our community."
Voters must ultimately approve the proposal for it to go into effect, and the issue will appear on the November ballot.
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