Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Gradebook

Stoneman Douglas commission urges Broward County to close charter schools without armed guards

The commission grew frustrated Wednesday about news that 29 charter schools, a third of the charter schools in Broward, were reported to not have long-term accommodations.
Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie speaks during a news conference at the Broward Sheriff’s Office Real Time Crime Center in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday. [MATIAS J. OCNER | Miami Herald]
Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie speaks during a news conference at the Broward Sheriff’s Office Real Time Crime Center in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday. [MATIAS J. OCNER | Miami Herald]
Published Aug. 15, 2019

Fed up with a lack of urgency, the commission created to investigate the events surrounding last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School pressured Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie to close charter schools that still do not have an armed guard on campus.

Runcie said Thursday morning that the School Board is moving to close one non-compliant charter school next week. For 17 months, all public schools, including charter schools, have been required to have a trained armed guard or a sworn law enforcement officer on campus. Classes started in Broward on Wednesday.

“There’s actually very little a school board can do to impact the compliance of charter schools with statutes and best practices,” Runcie said. “The only lever we have to pull is shut them down.”

The commission grew frustrated Wednesday about news that 29 charter schools, a third of the charter schools in the district, were reported to not have long-term accommodations. Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony reached out to charter schools without accommodations and staffed them with short-term deputies. There was also confusion as a state official testified that he had information to the contrary.

Charter schools, which have their own sovereign school boards, bear the responsibility of being in compliance with the law.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said he received emails late Wednesday night from charter schools with contracts for police protection that were signed in the past two or three days. One charter school attached a 13-day contract with Hallandale Beach police that was not signed by the city.

“Can’t do business that way,” Gualtieri said. “This is not right. This should’ve been done a long time ago.”

Runcie would not publicly reveal which charter school is up for termination, citing safety concerns.

The superintendent gave a timeline of the district’s efforts to warn charter schools that they were out of compliance with the law. He said no charter school has reached out to the school district for guardian training.

“I do not have the authority to revoke a charter because a school does not have a long-term sustainable plan,” he said. “If there’s noncompliance, we will sanction.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. Pinellas County School Board member Carol Cook, left, celebrates her reelection to her fifth term in 2016. If ultimately approved, a term limits proposal would force Florida's school board members out after two consecutive terms.
  2. State Rep. Anthony Sabatini fields questions on the House floor on Feb. 19, 2020, about his proposal to ask voters to limit school board member terms.
  3. Chicken and vegetable dumplings with soy sauce were offered to students to test during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste-testing, Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at Pinellas Technical College. Twenty-eight new food items were tested and rated.  Some will be added to next year's school menus.
  4. Patrick Suiters, 10, left, and Gabriel Stanford, 9, both fourth-graders at San Jose Elementary School in Dunedin, fill out a survey after tasting falafel tots and nuggets during the 2nd Annual Student Food Connection taste test at Pinellas Technical College. About 120 students tasted and rated 28 new food items that could be added to school breakfast and lunch menus next year.
  5. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
  6. The Pinellas County school system is offering driver education camps to hundreds of students like this one over the summer. The program will be held over two sessions at nine high school campuses across the county.
  7. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020.
  8. Incoming Hillsborough School Superintendent Addison Davis (center), School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) and the other board members pose as Davis signs his contract with the district on Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved the contract beforehand.
  9. Jarvis Delon West was arrested on child neglect charges after he didn't report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police.
  10. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)
  11. Prekindergarten students at James B. Sanderlin IB World School in St. Petersburg, show the peace sign during an assembly in 2012. New state data show children in prekindergarten are better prepared for kindergarten than those who don't attend.
  12. Leon County fifth-grader Ingrid Hanley asks the Senate Education Committee not to adopt legislation that would get tougher on D-rated schools, during a Feb. 17, 2020, session.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement