Win? Lose? Draw? You decide.
The Smart Charter Group’s application to increase the SW 120th St. Charter school enrollment cap to 2,250 students in grades K thru 12 was finally heard by the Miami-Dade County Commission on Thursday, May 31. The Smart Charter Group had well over a hundred Bridge Prep [Their School name] people turn out, many in “BP” T-shirts, including their employees, teachers & parents of existing students from other of their schools. Our side had fewer, but better quality. That is, all of our people who appeared actually live in the neighborhood and/or regularly use 120th street. Also, almost all of our supporters actually took their “two minute” speaking time to step up to the podium & give the Commissioners an earful about the traffic as well as the safety issue of locating a school in an aiport landing/takeoff path. The Commissioners were impressed, too, and said they had heard these similar complaints over and over again and by their statements and questions it became apparent they were not going to give the Smart Charter Group everything they wanted.
After 2+ hours of presentation, petitions, statements of support & opposition by the speakers, Commissioner Dennis Moss (in whose Commission District the school is located) proposed that the Applicant reduce its request from 2,250 to 1500, to be phased in at 300 increase per year for 3 years. [Existing students: 600 +300 +300 + 300 = 1,500 in the 2021 school year] All the proposed traffic modifications would be made this year. As Commissioner Moss pointed out, the original 2016 application was for 3,000 students, so this represents a 50% reduction. After much discussion the Applicant accepted the proposal, and Commissioner Moss moved it be adopted. Commissioners Monestime, Edmonson, Heyman, Sosa , Suarez and Souto voted Yes. Commissioner, Daniella Levine Cava of District 8 where most of the opponents of the expansion live, voted No, saying she thought thet even 1,500 was too high a number.
The SOS 120 Street Committee believes that everyone in our area owes thanks to those volunteers who assisted us in getting the word out, distributing flyers, talking, writing and e-messaging to neighbors, getting people to meetings at night. And we have a special thanks to those who took the time from work and family to attend the Thursday Zoning hearing and stand at podium to talk directly to the County Commissioners.
For those who may be dissatisfied with the Hearing result to the point of considering legal action, you should know that any legal appeal or action must be instituted with the courts within 30 days of the Commission action you are appealing.
SOS 120 Street Committee