By George “Bud” Scholl, Mayor
(February 5, 2016) – Although owned and operated through Miami-Dade County Public Schools, no city in the county (and potentially all of Florida) has contributed the mount of resources that Sunny Isles Beach has to ensure that our residents have a great school. Our community school has consistently achieved the highest marks for the quality of its academics and the excellence of its leadership and teachers.
Many of us at city hall dedicate a lot of time and resources to ensure our children have a fulfilling and safe educational experience every day. Our school maintains such a strong reputation that it has become overcrowded. Many students who do not live within the school’s district boundaries (known as district jumpers) are attending illegally. Since many students are coming from out of the area, it is one reason for the extreme amount of traffic that the school generates each day.
As we started working with the school system to plan a potential school expansion, we recognized that it would be irresponsible to do so without taking a hard look at the district jumper problem. Without addressing this issue, we would simply fill another school with non-residents and be overcrowded again. This is a tough issue as parents put their children in a very difficult position when they do not tell the truth about their residence in order to maintain enrollment in a school that they are not entitled to attend. Every parent wants the best for their child, however, not being truthful, and putting their child in a position to also be untruthful, is not a good outcome.
I have had many discussions with school system officials about this problem and how to approach it. We have come to a basic agreement on how to move forward and the funding to do so. Soon we will be initiating an enforcement program to mitigate the problem and ensure that only the students that are entitled to attend the school we support will be permitted to attend. Our goal in addressing this issue, together with the expansion, is to get class sizes smaller so that the students who are entitled to attend our school will have the best educational experience that we can offer.