City of Miami Beach - City Commission Workshop

Commission Chambers, 3rd Floor, City Hall
1700 Convention Center Drive
March 29, 2000


Call to Order - 4:18 p.m.

Mayor Kasdin - arrived at 4:50 p.m.

Vice-Mayor Dermer -present

Commissioner Bower -present

Commissioner Cruz - present

Commissioner Garcia -present

Commissioner Liebman -arrived at 4:56 p.m.

Commissioner Smith -present


Charter School Public Workshop

City Clerk's notes: The Commission Workshop was scheduled at the March 15, 2000 Commission Meeting via agenda item R9E. The Commission Workshop was advertised in the Miami Herald Neighbors Section on Thursday, March 23, 2000 - page 18. The purpose of this workshop meeting is to discuss Charter Schools and other alternatives.

Ms. Leslie Coller, chairperson - Committee for Quality Education in Miami Beach spoke.

Ms. Elaine Weisburd, Chamber of Commerce Education Committee spoke.

Ms. Magaly Abrahante, Schools of Choice, Miami-Dade County Public Schools - spoke.

Ms. Mary Mann, United Teachers of Dade spoke.

Ms. Marilyn Spiegal, Miami-Dade County Parent Teachers Association ( PTA) spoke.

Ms. Maria Ruiz, City of Miami Beach, Office of Children's Affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation.

Ms. Magaly Abrahante gave an overview of Charter School Application Review. (Academic Design, Governance & Management, Finance & Facilities, Operations, Final Documentation, Final Disposition of Application)

Commissioner Cruz asked if charter schools are the method to correct the problems or to demand more from the school system. Is the school system willing to make the commitment to bring the standard of schools on Miami Beach up to a level which the parents feel are appropriate?

Dr. Krop stated that Beach High needs a lot of work. Beach High is being looked at and stated that a plan is being prepared which should be completed in 2 or 3 weeks which will assess what it will take to bring Beach High to the level of other new schools. This includes facilities and also the programs. It may cost $5M or $50M. The report should be available in a couple of weeks.

Commissioner Smith stated that charter schools want free land and that this is a problem.

Commissioner Garcia stated that Fienberg Fisher Elementary School is in deplorable conditions and referenced the video tape which was shown at the March 15 Commission Meeting.

Mr. Charlie Dodge, City Manager, Pembroke Pines, gave an overview of the charter schools in Pembroke Pines. Discussion followed.

Ms. Alicia Bower, Principal, Ryder Charter School, gave an overview of the school. Discussion followed.

Mr. Jim McCarthy, Haskell Education Services, which designs and builds charter schools, explained the different construction requirements imposed on the school system versus charter schools.

Because of a prior commitment, Commission Cruz had to leave the meeting at 6:05 p.m. At 6:08 p.m. Commission Dermer announced that he had to leave the meeting to attend a G.O. Bond meeting which he chairs.

The following members of the public spoke: Ms. Elaine Weisburd, Gerald K. Schwartz, Ms. Leslie Coller, Ms. Anita Grossman, Ms. Mary Mann, Mr. Craig Sturgeon, Ms. Magaly Abrahante, and Mr. Victor Diaz.

Mayor Kasdin stated that he would like to see a method to explore the different options and doesn't necessarily believe that charter schools are the best way to go but also doesn't believe the existing method is the best way either.

Commissioner Bower stated that some time back it was proposed that the feeder patterns need to reviewed. One school can be over crowded and another school isn't. May be shifting students could help. Treasure Island and Bay Harbor should be a part of any study.

Mayor Kasdin stated that may be a new committee needs to be formed or the Committee on Quality Education in Miami Beach needs to be expanded. Discussion continued and it was determined that the board should be expanded by seven (7) additional members. Because this is a commission workshop, no official action can be taken.


A. Workshop meeting agenda including the PowerPoint presentation.

B. Speakers List

C. #1 - Charter Schools, Miami-Dade County Schools . Schools of Choice

D. #2 - Charter Schools, Miami-Dade County Schools . Schools of Choice

E. #3 - Pictures of Pembroke Pines Charter Schools.

F. #4 - Letter from Henry C. Fraind, Deputy Superintendent of Schools to Commissioner Luis Garcia, dated March 23, 2000, RE: The existing Capital Improvement Plan for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system.

G. #5 - pamphlet - Ryder Elementary Charter School

H. #6 - Miami Beach Charter School Public Workshop - Names (some) of individuals who attended the meeting.

I. #7 - Article handed out by Ms. Mann, "Why teachers are not those who can't"

J. Audio tapes (2) of the meeting.

End of Agenda

The Commission Workshop was adjourned at 732 p.m.