Marco charter high school plans land locked?

Finding space, whether Key Marco, Tract K or another site, crucial next step

— As plans for a Marco Island charter high school grew, so did the need for land. Two locations — a site near Key Marco and Track K — have been proposed for the “green” campus, which is to include a community center and summer camp, along with the academy.

Tract K, an 11.6-acre site owned by the Collier County School District, is the ideal size and location, but has its challenges, say proponents of the school campus, dubbed Marco Island Discovery Center.

“We know there has been a lot of controversy over Tract K and this school. We want to work with this community, bring people together not divide them,” said Marco resident Tara Hagan, a member of the non-profit Marco Island Discovery Center, which is planning the project of the same name.

School District officials and city attorney Alan Gabriel have said there is no requirement for the land to be used for a school; proponents of the charter high school interpret the land agreements differently.

Marco residents Jane Watt and Hagan, joined by Lynne Irvine, an educator from Michigan, went before the Planning Board Friday morning to garner support and explore land possibilities for their 6-acre project. Alternatives to Tract K surfaced at the meeting.

Island parent and Planning Board member Vince Magee said he was undecided about his support at first. He offered knowledge from six years experience planning the Charter Middle School several years ago.

“Donations dried up because there are people in the Tigertail area who don’t want that to be a school,” Magee said of an earlier proposal for the middle school to be on Tract K.

Hagan said the campus is to have a residential or resort look.

“I live in the Tigertail section and I’m fine with it,” said Planning Board member Irv Povlow.

“What is it you’re trying to achieve here that cannot be achieved at Lely?” Povlow then asked.

“If you thrive in that environment, go to Lely. There are a lot of students who do not thrive in that environment,” Hagan answered.

Irvine added that the proposed school of about 400 students would offer smaller class sizes, which improves performance and instills a higher sense of community.

Community Development Director Steve Olmsted said though the school is not needed from a student capacity standpoint, Tract K is planned and zoned for a school with a conditional use permit.

The current American bald eagle’s nest, he said, is going to be a formidable obstacle because development is restricted in the 360-foot radius around the nest, which is located near the center of the vacant lot.

Resident Darrell Brown, a former developer, suggested alternatives, including a 68-acre parcel in the environmentally protected, but developable Key Marco, or a 10-acre site near Vintage Bay condos and Key Marco.

“There are some civic minded people there,” Brown said. He added that the 10-acre site already has utilities, including water, sewer and electric, making for easy development near a tidal lake.

Being near the protected Native Habitat Parks of Key Marco, where the association and a landscaper, Greensward of Marco, recently received and are appealing city code violation fines for improper removal of protected native habitat, may offer an opportunity for leaders of the education center, which have the goal of focusing on the encouragement of sustainable living and biology.

Gerry Tsandoulas, president of the Key Marco Community Association, says it’s premature, but difficulties include several parties involved in Key Marco or Horr’s Island. The gated community also enjoys their low-traffic, privacy, he said.

“The land is there, but I don’t know if they can overcome all the obstacles,” he said.

Irvine said Tract K and the Key Marco area are being pursued and other ideas are welcome.

Project cost, grants and design are dependent upon finding a site and crucial to the group’s plan of opening the school by fall 2011 and a camp by summer 2011, Irvine said.

View proposed school's Web site in a related link to the left

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Comments » 51

u2cane writes:

This is a waste of time and money. There is no need for a school, just a few parents who don't want to send their kids to Lely for s----- reasons. Lely is rated the same as Naples High and a good education can be gotten there.

extra234 (Inactive) writes:

This is great news.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Gosh u2cane, a school full of concerned parents that care about their children,,yes we need to nip that in the bud don't we.

u2cane writes:

Concerned about what is the problem (old man on marco). Its not education that the parents are concerned about. A great education can come from Lely, no need for another school. Why waste money on another school when marco kids can blend and learn about other cultures while getting a fantastic education. I'd rather send my kids to Lely then some small charter school. Its 2009, not 1909.

OldMarcoMan writes:

From what I've seen in the paper they seem concerned about their children.

Did I say you cant get a good education at Lely? No I didn't. For a big factory school it seems to be about average.
Did I say anything about about diversity? No, in driving past the Marco schools I see brown faces, black faces and white faces all walking home together and I don't think a local high school will end that, do you ???

You would rather send your kids to Lely than a charter school, that a choice. Why don't you want others to have the same opportunity to choose?

marcoislandres writes:

It's the long bus ride that I don't like and if a dog park improves the Island so would a high school. Send your kids to Lely if you want but don't make it sound like the people who want the high school are racists because that just is not true. Please tell me what cultures are going to school at Lely that are not going to school on Marco?
Schools are the best investment any community can make.

lelymom1 writes:

No Old Man, u2cane has got it right. This is an expensive pet project for elitists. Has nothing to do with caring about your kids. Lely parents care about their kids!

If your group truly wants to bring people together,like Hagen says, Watt needs to stop saying that a lot of Lely students are not thriving. That is not a unifying statement. A lot of Lely students are thriving, but she never wants to talk about that.

And what does Watt mean by using the term,"that environment?" Statements like that seriously bring into question their motivation for starting a new school on mostly-white Marco Island.

marcoislandres writes:

Lely mom,

Your statement above makes it sounds like you are saying high schools should not be built in mostly white areas?, if you use that reasoning why have one in immokalee a predominantly Hispanic community? Shouldn't they be forced to travel further to school so they can have diversity?
You build schools were you live, what difference does it make who lives in that community or what race they are.

clearlystated writes:

marcoislandres-your slanted interpretation of post #7 is beyond belief!
Anyone out there care to explain what "that environment" means?

playballonK writes:

Hope you folks get tract K for your school but Monte Lazarus and the good ole boy network has that on their $$$ making radar, and you know what that means.

freedomofspeech1 writes:

30 people showed up for this meeting......doesnt sound like much interest to me....Give up! This will never happen and if it will not provide the experience that a child can get at LELY! High School is about the entire experience...not just having small class size....These kids will be deprived of the full experience of Sports, Band and many other activities...It is for some, but not most...the few kids that want small class size should go Seacrest. Why waste millions of dollars on a school that NO ONE WILL ATTEND!

joetf404 writes:

I never seen so much complaining about building a School. It's a school to educate children. Not a prison.
I believe this country was built for Freedom. Especially Freedom of choice. Just because they build a school doesn't mean your children have to go to that particular school.I have looked into Marco Island Discovery Center's envision of a school, and I am excited about it, my wife and children are excited about it. As for diversity I went to a small school in a farm community, I went on to college and a career. I have been to every state and 4 different countries (not in the military). Our children will not be sheltered because of a small classroom. (that argument is ridiculous)And as for only 30 people showing up to the meeting, MIDC has to do a better job in getting the word out, I have contacted them to get on their mailing list to hear about these meetings. I suggest we all do the same.
By the way the small "deprived" high school I went to, was State football champs for 3 years in a row and had a kickass band.
My kids will go to this school. the choice is easy for us looking at the State's grading of schools.

u2cane writes:

Honestly, have these parents really thought about how you get your child into a good school nowadays? You must be well rounded and include activities with your academics. How would you do that at a Charter School? You think Lely is big? Are you kidding me, my high school had more kids in 1992 and there are plenty of high schools in Collier and the rest of the state that are bigger.

Wow, the long bus ride? Are you kidding me? I drive to North Naples for my job, let's talk about a long ride. What, your child has to get up at 6 instead of 6:15 because of a long bus ride? Gimme a break. Old marco man, they do have a choice, send them to a private school on their own dime, not someone else's.

The Charter School would be a waste.

u2cane writes:

"My kids will go to this school. the choice is easy for us looking at the State's grading of schools.

#12 Posted by joetf404 on July 1, 2009 at 7:41 a.m"
Are we saying that kids from Lely can't get into a great school because Lely is a "C" School? Do we truely understand the state's grading system and why they have it? Where on your college application does your school's grade go? How is Duke, Brown, Cal Tech, Stanford, Penn, or Princeton going to know what your school is graded? They care about how well your child did and what they did with their time in high school as well as how they present themselves. That is a reflection of their intelligence, upbringing and work ethic, not the school they attended. Any child that attends Lely can get into any college they desire, if they apply themselves the right way. This would be the same as if they attended a smaller charter high school. Attending a charter high school isn't going to make it easier for one's kid to get into any school. I know people who have graduated Lely that have gone on to great colleges.

joetf404 writes:

Obviously you all have a one track mind. To knock a new school no matter what the one's who support it believe in.I never knocked a certain school only stated I have a choice of one school over another and which one in my opinion and experience is better. I truly don't know how you think a small classroom equals a sheltered child. As I stated before I went to a small school and I had no problem getting into a college and I have not had any prolonged problems in life dealing with any situation. Many predominant people in history have gone to small schools and excelled. This is not a valid argument in my opinion. As for the school's grading, no the college doesn't see that. But as a well educated concerned parent it's not Rocket Science that I would want my children to go to a better school. When I went to school an "A" was better than a "D".
As for sending my children to a private school this is also a option and a choice.

u2cane writes:

There is no gurantee that the new school would be an "A" school or even score higher then Lely. Lely is a "C" school, same as Naples High. All the rating means is that the students at the school scored a certain mark on state standardized tests, that is it. Doesn't mean that Lely has bad teachers or provides a lesser education then another school, it just means the students collectively scored that on state tests. Lely has some of the best teachers around and just because you open a new school it doesn't mean you are getting a better education. You do have a choice of one school or a private school, so why build another school? In case you haven't noticed the area doesn't need anymore schools, in fact could probably combine 2 high schools. Its a waste to open another school, unless the 30 people who showed up want to pay for all of it.

themessiah writes:



This has already been attempted and failed.
Repackaging a failure into a "discovery school" will not fool anyone.

joetf404 writes:

Hmmmmm. Then why a Charter Middle school? Which is by the way an "A" school and a great success. This is the standards I'm going for in a Charter High School. Why should we settle for a "C" school.
Attempts and Failures are a fact of life. Did you happen to go to a small sheltered school? So you just roll over when things get tough?
We would all be speaking with an English accent and paying tax to the Queen if our forefathers did that.

clearlystated writes:

joetf404, educate yourself. The letter grade does not apply to individual students at Lely. Plenty of Marco Island students at Lely are "A" students. You keep focusing on one issue does not apply to the english speaking students from Marco who ARE getting an exemplary education at Lely High School.

Oh, and speaking of things getting tough, you people better get on the right track and start supporting the Marco Charter Middle School. You're all beating a dead horse into the ground while our middle school is standing on shakey ground.

Wake up! Do the right thing and start supporting what you already have!

OldMarcoMan writes:

Yeah Joetf, everyone gets a Trophy.
The world doesn't keep score, everyone win.
How dare you want some to excel.

By the way, never buy into the lie that some with ambition and drive will be successful no matter the disadvantages.

LOL what a load.

Opps I was trying to be nice in this debate, but it doesn't really matter a D is the same as an A.
Rude is Polite.
Average is good enough.

joetf404 writes:

I hear you MarcoMan! How could I be so audacious for a person who went to a small school. I should be hiding under a rock somewhere afraid of the big mean world and be ashamed I want something good for my children.Shame on me.

And I guess an Associates Degree and Doctorine isn't good enough I must get edgeamacated.

u2cane writes:

Ignorance is bliss for you two. Lely is not a "D" school and the grading system has nothing to do with the quality of education. Maybe if you two actually learned something about how the grading system works, or paid attention to what the actual grade was, then you would have an intelligent conversation with the rest of us. Maybe your small school wasn't good enough.

MrBreeze writes:

I think the matter is that some people want a private high school on the Island. I went to a public school in a rough inner city. The travel time was 20 min. one way. My opinion is that a good school is important for education, but you also need good students who want to learn.

Putting a high school on Marco Island is like Ava Maria although Marco Island does not have the room. The concept of the school is not bad if there was ample space for one. How about the 951 corridor for location just off the island where the traffic and land space could be worked out.

Like any private school, I hope that private funds are to be used for it's operation.

lelymom1 writes:

Yes u2cane, those people need to educate themselves before they post. Opinions mean very little unless there is a relevant, truthful basis for them.

Mr. Breeze got to the bottom line, which is:
private school = private funds.

Thanks for the chuckle, messiah, on your Dead Horse Alert. It seems that the current strategy of the small group who want a Marco high school is to keep this story in the public eye in the hope that someone will pay for their kids to have a new school.

Maybe this group could pool their resources, rent/buy some commercial space, and get started. No one is going to try to stop them from doing that.

One thing to keep in mind - every dollar spent on a new school is a dollar that could be used to assist/support/improve existing schools.

joetf404 writes:

Yep, u2cane ignorance is bliss and you show yours very well. If you bother to READ my posts. You would see I NEVER stated Lely was a "D" school. I have done my homework in this matter. I have looked into BOTH sides and I know how the grading system works. Have any of those that oppose this school looked at the other side? I doubt it.Maybe we don't want another park on the Island that is basically a street corner, or an expensive sculptor for City Hall. To put it to you simply we are looking out for the best interest of our children.

And lelymom good for your school spirit and all I have the same for my "small not good enough school" ( I attended,which got me into OSU on a scholarship) but to just say we should go out and pool our resources and do it ourselves is very dis-concerning to put it politely.

And Messiah for someone to go by a screen name as that, Do I have to say more?

BOTTOM LINE is the people that are for the Marco Island Charter High School want this type of school for their children to attend. And, we like the school that is envisioned for Marco.

If anybody wants to attack my education or intelligence in the future I'd be glad to meet them and show them my SAT's and Degrees. (from my small insignificant school and beyond)

lelymom1 writes:

Everything is fine as long as everyone pays for what you want. Is that it?

What's truly disconcerting is that you're upset by the thought of having to pay and work for what you want.

Many of us are not against a small school on Marco. There are a limited number of students who might be better served in a smaller setting. If it's private (which it has to be without state funding), we're against paying for it.

PS - Glad to hear you're so smart!

joetf404 writes:

Now lelymom this is a very disturbing. Everyone that is up in arms about a group of people wanting a Charter school don't seem to bother to read anyones post who have a different view. Or is it that their reading comprehension isn't very good?

Fossil writes:

I have read a lot of useless banter here. It seems to me that either those against the proposal are perhaps not residents or they have no children and are unwilling to support more infrastructure dedicated to the children of their neighbors. A few opponents actually believe extrcurricular actiivites are more important then an education (think that's why we have a dumbed down society?). All of this banter is distracting from the real goal. We have a responsiblity to our children. Our children deserve a good education in their own community. Our community can afford to give them that education and we have a moral responsiblity to do so. Now lets get back to work and make it happen.

lelymom1 writes:

Post #25, paragraph 2.

OldMarcoMan writes:

If you cut out the ones who don't live on Marco, don't have Kids, and are in the Teacher Union I think there are just a few of us really discussing this.

By the way, why does the Teachers Union oppose a Charter School? Are they not Union Shops? I'm not being a smart #ss I just don't know. It seem if they where Union the Teachers Union would be all for it so they could get more members?

Marconian writes:

I'm going to weigh in on this topic and im sure the insults will fly from the anti mhs crew
We need this school.Why there is so much anti sentiment over it is ridiculous!The arguments being waged against the idea of this school are obsolete and rubbish.
Point being the further this moves forward and the closer it comes to being. (and trust me soon it will go through and be a reality!)The more obnoxious and rude will the negative posters become as they see their useless comments mean nothing!
Bravo for all who have envisioned this and Kudos to those that are seeing it through! With out a doubt my Child will attend Her senior year at MCHS.
She looks forward to it as to do I!

u2cane writes:

Hmm, give me some good reasons why we need this school. I don't see any in your post.

u2cane writes:

Yep, u2cane ignorance is bliss and you show yours very well. If you bother to READ my posts. You would see I NEVER stated Lely was a "D" school. I have done my homework in this matter.

Sorry Joe, I was referring to old marco dude who keeps referring to a d grade. But the grade really doesn't make a difference to colleges. By the way, I wouldn't brag about going to OSU (assuming Ohio State, but could be Oregon State or something else) because my dog could get in there. Its one of the largest colleges in the country, but not one of the best.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Soooooo,,,, with your massive repository of knowledge you don't know the answer???
I should have ask MY dog.

clearlystated writes:

No problem marconian: put your money where your mouth is and open your school. The rest of us (majority)don't want to pay for it!! Why can you not understand that? It's very simple.
u2cane is right- they've failed to make a case for a need to open a new school. And they won't, because there absolutely is no need for another school.
Good thing they got away from that lame excuse that it's too far to drive! I don't know of a rational soul who bought into that. Somehow none of them mind driving to Naples for things they want, but to educate their children? No way! Too far! Gimme a break!

joetf404 writes:

Ohio State and in 1975 your dog might have gotten in to University of Miami but I don't think he would have made it to OSU. But sounds like a smart dog.
And it seems that by saying I received a scholarship means I want everything given to me.
Just amazing.
I initially came on here to voice my opinion and I repeat "my opinion" gathered from my research on the subject of a Charter high school . And It has boiled down to attacks on my intelligence and educational background.For which I had to defend myself. No one seems to be putting up valid issues either way just throwing personal jabs at one another.
Also I don't see any posts from Marcoman stating anything about Lely being a "D" school.

MrBreeze writes:

Please joetf404 Dude, if you think you are so smart we will believe you, if you just stop telling us so many times.

Fossil writes:

Why all the discussion about Lely HS? Is there a proposal to weaken or harm that school? This disussion is about a new High School for the residents of Marco Island. Our children require a school. No further reason for it is necessary. Furthermore, our community can afford it. Our political leaders have a moral obligation to provide infrastructure for our children as they do for our adult population. It is imperative to the welfare of our community to offer our own a place to go to school. Without a highschool, Marco Island will never grow and prosper because young families will always live where a HS is offerred. Our children will always leave and live elswhere because they cannot raise their own families here. This proposal will be successful because the citizens of Marco Island know that it is the right thing to do. The proposal is not about Lely, it is not about Naples and it is not about Collier County. It is about OUR community. Support and build the school, ignore the naysayers.

clearlystated writes:

Fossil, that's just a bunch of hogwash and the majority of us know it. Our leaders have a moral obligation to provide a high school here?!?!? That is nonsense.

You will have rude awakening if you think taxpayer dollars will be spent on this project. We are already paying taxes for schools, and most of the property owners here don't even have school age children.

The reason kids leave this area is:
A. They can't afford to live here
B. They go to college and get a job somewhere else
C. They realize, "Hey, there's a real world out there where the majority of our neighbors aren't senior citizens and aren't retired or on vacation."
How will a high school on Marco change all that?

Your group made this an issue about Lely by bad mouthing a school that has well served this area for over 30 years.

Fossil writes:

clearlystated: I'll give you this: You have clearly stated your opinion and confirmed one I made earlier. You and those who share your opinion reject public funding for schools. That rejection is not reserved for Marco Island. Studies and polls have shown what you write to be true statewide. You no longer have school age children or never had them and feel no obligation to the parents of your community. You have a right to feel that way. As a retired citizen however, your responsibilities to the rest of our great nation did not end when you stopped working. The rest of us must pay our taxes and accept the will of our political leadership to provide for our communitites. Some in Marco Island obviously take that opinion more seriously than you do. I am not going to restate why Marco Island needs a school because you already know why nor am I going to try and explain to you how your taxes benefit so many other projects that are targeted to the elderly, infirm and retired that younger folks must help pay for. Your question is a distraction intended to bait me. Communities throughout our country smaller and more economically challenged then ours, provide their children with an education grades K-12. We have a moral obligation to do the same and it is our continued duty as citizens to do so. You may choose your social group, party affilliation or church but as an American citizen you have a moral responsiblity to the welfare and safety of our entire community to include every citizen of the City you reside in.

Joe_Btfsplk writes:

Bottom line - a waste of time and a waste of money - dressing up a pig does not change the situation.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Ok, Ok,,,,, who's the Pig? Is the Pig Lely,The Tax Payers, A High School on Marco, Teachers Unions, or is the Pig Marco?
Gosh you have to get some easier metaphors.

Sometimes a Pig is just a Pig?

clearlystated writes:

Fossil, you ignore the fact that the State of Florida rejected funding for a public school on Marco, not me and those who share my opinion. Educate yourself.
You are assuming many things about me, and you incorrect.
I repeat, it's hogwash.

Marconian writes:

Fossil you could not have said it any better and nailed the facts without speculation and if anyone finds argument in your comment and im sure they will they not only need to leave OUR community they need to move out of America.

clearlystated writes:

Nailed what facts? The fact you choose to ignore is this:
The State of Florida has denied funding for a new school on Marco.

We should move out of America because we don't agree? That is ridiculous. This has nothing to do with a moral obligation. Kids are already getting educated. Lely is sending another batch of local youth to colleges all over the country. Same thing has happened every year for over 30 years.

Looks like some of you have never heard of punctuation or run-on sentences. The lack of correct usage of the English language makes many of the above posts difficult to understand. It's funny considering the subject is the education of local kids. Looks like some of the adults posting here need to go back to school.

Fossil writes:

OK Marconian. Give us the name of the Florida State official and the Agency he/she works for. I believe your research will find that your claim is mistated.

u2cane writes:

Yawn, why don't we start talking about how bad Marco needs a college now. I mean our politicians owe it to us, right???

friendforlife writes:

I have to agree with clearlystated. In the words of u2cane, "a good education can be gotten there". Yee haw.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Hold on long enough and the State will make Lely a Charter School anyway so everyone gets what they want.
Lely Area High School, Marco Campus Extension? Has a ring to it.

GBR writes:

I don't have a dog in this fight, but it looks like some of these posters have real good smarts!!


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