05 Mar Boca Raton Education Task Force- Where are You and What are You Doing?
This article was originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, preserved here now for historical purposes.
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Have you met yet? Are you going to publish a meeting schedule ? Have you put together a plan for Addison Mizner, Boca High, Verde, and the other Boca schools? Are you going to expand to a second group of 7 concerned residents to help provide solutions as recommended by Councilman Singer? Are you going to expand your mission to include school safety in light of the Parkland tragedy ?
Can you answer these questions with either a statement or a presentation to the city council. The residents are concerned especially regarding school safety that nothing is being done.
I have given you a head start. I have read the 288 page Board of Education 2018 budget along with last 5 budgets. I have determined that there are huge process breakdowns that are costing us millions . Boca residents are getting screwed big time!!!
In my attached video this week I have compared 2 SCAD reports which stand for School Capacity Availability Determination. This info flows into the FISH reports which stands for Florida Inventory School Houses. And this info is used to come up with BOE 10 year construction plan . It is seriously flawed in Boca’s case.
Have you examined the over 100 Boca SCAD past, present, and future reports which are absurd in almost all cases ? Have you come up with a plan to fix ?
Did you watch the Feb 26th CRA meeting where the 475 project off Palmetto was discussed ? The first SCAD report recommended $142k to be donated to the BOE for the students coming out of the 48 multi- family condos. Than without any reason it was reduced to $17k. Are you watching this developer rip off? The most alarming statement was made by Mr Barberi when asked about this issue. He said “I don’t quite understand the board’s methodology(how or why this happened) and I will get someone to explain it”. He represents Boca district 5 on the school board and he doesn’t know what is going on. We know all about this scam. The developers are saving millions and nobody cares or is watching yet Boca is facing a building school crisis because of overdevelopment.
I have a deep respect for Mr Barberi. He is a concerned grandparent. His grand children are in Boca schools. He has brought Ms Garrison and Ms Paul, key board executives, several times to Boca meetings to explain what is going on. He did an excellent job bringing us up to date as to actions taken after the Parkland tragedy. I respect his efforts.
Finally, the city council came up with a great idea. They passed a resolution to keep the developers SCAD dollars instead of sending to the BOE where we know it will never come back but will be used to build schools elsewhere. These dollars will be used to help Boca schools. At the same time we should put together our own methodology to determine those SCAD dollars. Instead of $17k maybe $170k for the 475 project on Palmetto.
Now how do we spend these millions that the developers have saved with this conspiracy?
To me a no brainer. SCHOOL SAFETY.
Two days after 9/11 I attempted to enter the Boca Jewish Community Center where I have been a member for over 20 years. They didn’t wait for a task force to discuss what is needed. They had the tightest security possible and they still do. THEY ARE PROTECTING THE KIDS. And what are we doing? Another task force???? They have their own private security that are well armed and motivated to protect their kids.
All the ideas regarding school safety are good but lets face reality; it is about money and resources. Mr Barberi talked about the 150 highly trained Board of Education officers but there are 187 schools in the county. We simply can’t depend on them as part of a long term solution. Boca police right now would be stretched very thin until and if they hired at least 20 more officers to assign to the schools. Mr Barberi talked about Federal and State dollars. We simply can’t count on those dollars Mr Barberi. We need solutions now.
My solution is simple. We contact private security firms today to come in with bids to provide 20,at least, highly trained , motivated , and paid to protect out kids while they are in our 11 schools. We supplement them with Boca police presently and with the 10 ,at least, new hires that the city, I assume, will hire to permanently be present in our schools for a total of 30. This would be a long term solution as I see it.
We simply can not depend on outsiders to provide dollars or resources to protect out kids. It is our job. There are members on this city council that will say “There is no money and/or not our job”. I disagree.
We pay for this security from multiple Boca sources. I estimate a high of $50k a year for a security guard and at 20, to start, that is only $1 million a year.
The first source is the millions collected for the first time from developers that have been shorting the schools in above described SCAD reports. The second is the money from the 1 cent sales tax that is owed to us. I estimate that Boca contribution is over $5 million a year. The third is from the Boca reserve fund of close to $300 million that has been quietly collected for a new city campus. The fourth is the $45 million profit from the sale of the Boca Muni golf course. Education Task Force are you reading this? This is absurd to say there is no money.
At the next city council meeting the city needs to direct city staff to put out for bid to security firms. Second, hire 10 more policeman asap. Or do they want to study and talk about this for another year.
I decided to do my own research so I contacted a security consultant in New York and they told me that we have one of the top school security firms in the country right in our area. I contacted APB Security in Jupitor,Fl. They told me that they could have 20 armed guards in our schools in 2 weeks and it would cost a lot less than hiring 20 new Boca police officers. They are ex military type . Google www.APBSecurity.com and see for your self. Go to Institutional College Campuses.
Over crowding is an issue but safety and protecting our 10,000 Boca kids is very serious. If anyone on this council hesitates they need to leave. We need leaders on this council and we got 2 that are running for election next week. Kim Do and Monica Mayette. We all know their major concern are Boca kids. We need to join them .
Vote March 13th. Please pass my note to your family and friends.