School board hears about Lely, future Marco public high school

Charter Middle School Board listens to Lely principal Ken Fairbanks, school district operations manager

Jennifer Tenney of the Marco Island Charter Middle School Board says that as a graduate of Lely High School she would defend Lely forever. Tenney, whose last name was Trafton in high school, said she was offered every opportunity there. The Charter School Board met with Lely Prinicipal Ken Fairbanks and Collier County School District Chief Operations Officer Michele LaBute Wednesday evening regarding a public school on Marco and Lely High School.
Kelly Farrell/ Staff

Photo by KELLY FARRELL, Staff // Buy this photo

Jennifer Tenney of the Marco Island Charter Middle School Board says that as a graduate of Lely High School she would defend Lely forever. Tenney, whose last name was Trafton in high school, said she was offered every opportunity there. The Charter School Board met with Lely Prinicipal Ken Fairbanks and Collier County School District Chief Operations Officer Michele LaBute Wednesday evening regarding a public school on Marco and Lely High School. Kelly Farrell/ Staff

Jennifer Tenney of the Marco Island Charter Middle School Board says that as a graduate of Lely High School she would defend Lely forever. Tenney, whose last name was Trafton in high school, said she was offered every opportunity there. The Charter School Board met with Lely Prinicipal Ken Fairbanks and Collier County School District Chief Operations Officer Michele LaBute Wednesday evening regarding a public school on Marco and Lely High School.
Kelly Farrell/ Staff

Photo by KELLY FARRELL, Staff // Buy this photo

Jennifer Tenney of the Marco Island Charter Middle School Board says that as a graduate of Lely High School she would defend Lely forever. Tenney, whose last name was Trafton in high school, said she was offered every opportunity there. The Charter School Board met with Lely Prinicipal Ken Fairbanks and Collier County School District Chief Operations Officer Michele LaBute Wednesday evening regarding a public school on Marco and Lely High School. Kelly Farrell/ Staff

— When it comes to an on-Island public high school, the Marco Island Charter Middle School board heard it just won’t happen during their meeting Wednesday evening.

Lely High School Principal Ken Fairbanks shared the opportunities Lely offers in academics and extra curricular activities, saying anything a student or parent could want from a high school is offered at Lely.

Marco Island Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandi Reidemann reminded the board that Fairbanks was a 2008 winner of the Students Choice Support Staff of the Year award.

“If Marco parents get a little more involved instead of constantly complaining, I think they’re sending their kids to a great school,” Charter School board member Tarik Ayusan said of Lely.

Jennifer Tenney, also a MICMS board member, agreed, saying that as a graduate of Lely High School she would defend it to her dying days for all the school offered her. She said she didn’t think a small high school could offer the diverse extra curricular activities Lely offers.

Collier County School District Chief Operations Officer Michele LaBute confirmed the breadth of curriculum available at Lely, which has about 1,400 students, could not be offered at an Island high school of likely about 325 Island students.

While many schools in the district are dropping in enrollment, Lely is close to maintaining student numbers with a relatively low drop of 2 percent from 2008, Fairbanks said.

LaBute said a public high school on Marco cannot happen, but she didn’t completely nix the idea of a charter high school, which is open to the public but is operated by a contractor for the School District.

“A charter school is an entirely different issue,” LaBute said, adding that she wasn’t an expert on charter schools.

Collier County School District Assistant Superintendent Cynthia Jansen is well-informed on charter schools, LaBute said.

Jansen wasn’t immediately available to comment.

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Comments » 25

Fossil writes:

As a member of the MI Charter School Board Mr. Tarik shoiuld be thinking of his community first not that of Lely. Our children should not have to travel 20 miles a day to go to school. Ms Tenney, with all due respect, there are countless studies proving that smaller classroom size promotes better educational results. I attended a small high school that offered varsity sports, band and other extra curricular activities. There is no reason a MI high school cannot offer after school activiites. Again, this is not about Lely high school, it is about Marco Island having it's own school.

marcoislander writes:

Great job Jennifer Thanks for speaking for the far majority of people on Marco.

HMW writes:

Kudos to everyone in this artical!! Truer words could not be spoken! Like Tarik said to Marco parents...stop constantly complaining and get more involved w/ Lely. This artical does speak for the Marco majority. Hooray!

Marconian writes:

With all due respect marcoislander and hmw these comments do not speak for the majority which is not a surprise being since a MI High School is what would be considered a positive improvement and a necessity for the community! The trend here on the Island seems to be voiceterist minority's shouting out against anything positive as in the past water plant expansion/strp/collier blvd improvements/and now a charter high school and like all these items listed we where guaranteed would not be accomplished by over the top rants and negative press. But in the end all was accomplished! To all those that believe in there community DONT GIVE UP! At some point there is no choice but for the powers that be to see the light and realize its what the true majority wants! How can a community such as ours draw in young families with high school age kids when they have a 20 mile commute to school ? And as for Tarik how dare you to make such a snob comment based on your position which should be bias to the facts, but it sounds as if yours is personal which in point your voice in this should be considered conflict of interest on the topic! Also who cares what awards MR.Fairbanks has received does that shorten the mileage between marco and lely? All of the arguments being made against us having our own High school are just more irrelevant distractions towards our ultimate goal of being a true independent city if we cant have something as simple as a High school I would say incorporation 10 years after the fact is a failure and myself along with many many others hope and pray this is not the case...

themessiah writes:

Moronian & Fossil....

The two of you sound so ridiculous it's laughable.

I went to Lely High School....I also went to Golden Gate Middle School (the only available school when I moved to Marco Island over 20 years ago).

You want to talk about your precious kids awful commute 20 miles (ROUND TRIP I MIGHT ADD)???

How about standing at 6am on San Marco Road, waiting for my bus, getting dusted by mosquito spray from the airplanes overhead.....I survived.

What you get out of any school is what you put into it. If you don't contribute or put forth any volunteer time or effort at Lely, you CANNOT complain. Lely High School was (and is) a great school that cannot be replaced by an island school.

Have you heard the one about a dead horse and an overdone beating.......

JenniferTenney writes:

I just wanted to clarify and add to my comments in the article. I am not necessarily against a charter high school (I think the charter middle school is a wonderful asset and a charter high school may have similar success), however, I wanted to defend Lely High School and assure Marco Island parents that their children can receive a great education from Lely. I agree with the comment above that you get out of a school what you put into it and if you take advantage of what Lely has to offer, you will receive the best education possible, including: a wide variety of AP and honors classes, Model United Nations, Speech and Debate, Mu Alpha Theta (math competition team), National Honor Society, Rotaract, Band, Chorus, Ochestra, Drama, Sports ... and the list goes on. In addition, Lely has fantastic teachers and a supportive and involved principal. If any student applies themselves and takes advantage of the opportunities offered, they will get a strong start in life. My concern is that a charter high school may not have the numbers to be able to offer all of the above listed activities ... but if it can, that would be wonderful. In the meantime, be assured that your kids can receive a great education from Lely. As for the commute, for middle school, I was bussed to Gulfview Middle School (which was an hour bus ride each way with construction and rush hour traffic), so by the time I got to Lely, the 15 minute drive was nothing! In addition, as a native islander, I was used to having to travel to Naples and was happy to be exposed to and meet and interact with people from outside our small community.

Fossil writes:

Ms. Tenny, always remain loyal to your school. I am sure Lely is a wonderful school, but that is not the point or the subject of this ariticle. Marco Island is an independant city that should be providing an education to the children that live within the City. I am sorry that you and themessiah had to waste so much of your youth getting to and from school. No one other than themessiah has suggested replacing Lely with a MI high school. Think how much more you could have used it to participate in some of those extra curricullar activities, if you hadn't had to waste it getting to and from school. That is one of the reasons I support a high school in Marco Island.

lelymom1 writes:

The PR on the Marco high school pusher side has been negative from the beginning. Many of that small group are relatively new to the area. They didn't realize they were going to meet heavy resistance when they decided to use an attack mentality towards beloved Lely High School and the thousands of people who support it. Now they know.

Marconian writes:

First of all im not going to respond to poster #5 who by his alias thinks he is Jesus Christ which by the way is quite offensive! secondly to poster #8 your comment runs in a circle! Every thing you have accused MI high school supporters of you have done in three sentences! Also, let me get this right your saying that residents that have not lived here longer than you don't have a right to an opinion or the right to call for something they want and believe in for the future of their children, well it seems as if you are one of those persons using attack mentality as evidence from your recent post! Nobody is calling for an end to lely they will always have enough students to fill their Naples based school living in Naples! And for those of you who would want to continue to send your children there that is your choice! But for those of us who do not want to Where is our CHOICE! who are you to choose for our children! as I stated earlier Incorporation 10 years after the fact a CITY without a high school is a failure!

Marconian writes:

I couldn't resist! I tried but I just couldn't! themessiah your mosquito spray rant is whats laughable its quite possible that this might be whats wrong with your ability to put together logical thought processes today you might want to get that checked out! LOL....ha! ha! ha!

lelymom1 writes:

Marconian, you asked if you got it right? Glad you asked. The answer is no. Your assumptions are incorrect.

Timing for this issue couldn't be worse. Waiting a couple of years for the economy to level might be a better idea. Oh, and take a more positive approach.

Marcoptomist writes:

Marco should have it's own high school, period.

For those that want there kids to go to Lely, send them there, support the school, get involved and love your school and choice for your child.

For those that want their kids to go to a Marco High school, send them there support the school, get involvoed and love your school and choice for your child.

I have not seen such stupidity coming out of so many people. I can not imagine how having a high school on Marco Island would not be benificial to the community as a whole.

Again, send your kids where you want, but, Marco should have it's own high school. It is rediculous how those who go to Lely or send their children there feel they have to defend it like it is the best school around. If you did have a great experience their or are having a great experience there, that is even better. I even support the Lely High students at vitually all of the fund raisers I see on the island. It is our children who benifit from either choice, if we had one. So go ahead defend it, send your kids there, no one will stop you. So, why fight a high school on the island if the community as a whole would benifit?

themessiah writes:

MORONian, I cannot take anything you say on these blogs seriously after your "black daddy" comments. You sir, are a moron.

Marcosnook03 writes:

There is nothing wrong with wanting a h.s. on the island. What is wrong is that just because folks on the island want one people have to come up and try to destroy their opinions. The real solution is probably a charter school because in my opinion the public school system in this state and country is in decay and is not a good place to place your children. Charter schools blocks away from district schools of like type in many instances fo from A (being the charter) and f(being the district school). Why is that? The private organization that runs typically is not satisfied with mediocrity. The local school oards all are. Grant it, the charter schools do answer to the boards, but not in micro managing situations. I say stop the bashing, mobilize and push for a charter it's probably th eonly way a new h.s. on this rock will make a differance.

marcoislandres writes:

Tarik Ayusan comment “If Marco parents get a little more involved instead of constantly complaining, I think they’re sending their kids to a great school,” this is an insult to all the parents who want to bring a high school to this island since it is clearly aimed at them.
I don't have children at Lely and I won't have children at Lely and I don't need anyone to tell me I should have children at Lely. I don't tell you what is best for you kids and I don't need anyone telling me what is best for mine. If you love Lely great but I don't understand why you are so against people wanting a high school on this island. No one will make you send your kids there, Lely is not closing. And don't tell me we can't have a high school because there's no room for football, soccer, etc, again that is my choice if I want to sent my kids to a school that does not offer these programs.
Poster #8, your statement about the people who want this school being a small group of new comers to the island is way off, you have no idea how many people at Tommie Barfield want this, just ask the Women who was collecting signatures in support of the high school there last week. I signed it and I have lived here almost 20 years and other people I know signed it and they have lived here longer then me.

Marconian writes:

themessiah, The black daddy you keep referring to that I acknowledge saying! would be my nephew who by the way is the FATHER of my great niece thank you very much! so what is your point? oh yeah i remember even though my family consist of a diverse background,( who all love one another by the way!) I was accused of being racist. please go play your games elsewhere! This is about a high school not ethinic background.

liberator100 writes:

moronian: You can not write, you can not read or compose a logical sentence. You need to go to a decent high school. Off Marco Island, of course. Correct spelling of the word is ETHNIC and not ETHINIC.

Lovely sentence: "The black daddy you keep referring to that I acknowledge saying!" What did you say?

And more: "would be my nephew who by the way is the FATHER of my great niece thank you very much!" LOVELY. Just LOVELY.

And for your information; a high school on Marco Island is not just ABOUT race, it is ALL about race.

themessiah writes:

The Moronian,
Do me a favor....
When your nephew visits in June, please ask your great niece how her "Black Daddy" is doing while he's within earshot.

Let me know how that one works out for you and what his official response is.

You're a tool.

Marconian writes:

EXCUSE ME BUT MY NEPHEW HAS ALREADY SEEN YOUR BLOGS AND BELIEVES YOU TO BE A RETARD AND STATED WHEN HE GETS HERE HE WOULD GLADLY BEAT YOUR a--!

faithfultrojanette writes:

IMPORTANT NOTE: Charter Schools don't run on air. Charter schools need money to operate. Correction - LOTS OF MONEY!

Can you say

P A R E N T MONETARY D O N A T I O N S ?

Can you say

Charter Board Fiscal Responsibility?

Lovely! Then you are all set! Good Luck!!!!

HMW writes:

Faithfultrojanette, you are 100% correct. All of those in favor of a HS have not acknowledged this fact. I would like to know where this money is going to come from. Parents donations, that's a laugh. More like exorbitant property taxes that will always increase because the school will always need something like astro turf for their imaginary sports program. It's not fair to those that do not have children, which is majority of the residents on Marco. In the end the taxpayer will suffer.

lelymom1 writes:

Looks like someone has grown addicted to media attention, of which there has been plenty. Regardless of what they will have you believe, the facts are:

The majority of people do not want a new high school on Marco.

A high school on Marco isn't needed. Learn the difference between want and need.

As stated by faithfultrojanette, there is no money for a new school. Yes, HMW, they don't want to discuss this issue.

They will have very little to offer. Definitely not enough to give a well rounded, enriching high school experience.

There is no location for a new school.

Speaking of location, Tract K is not, and will not, be available for a new school. Stop saying that it is still an option. TRACT K IS NOT AN OPTION!! Yikes, your refusal to acknowledge this issue makes one wonder about your sanity!

Poster #15, you actually have no idea how many people think you people just don't have a clue. The woman asking for signatures was turned down by many highly intelligent people. Ask her, and if she's honest, she'll be able to tell you exactly who they were.

marcoislandres writes:

lelymom1, I just spoke to the women who was asking for signatures of people who supported a high school on Marco and you were right she told me that no one who was highly intelligent would sign it. She also said that most of the people who did sign it were new to the island and not highly intelligent. I guess she is honest, no mensa for me.

lelymom1 writes:

Another "not facing the facts" post. No one said people who signed it were not intelligent. Spin, spin, spin again.

liberator100 writes:

moronian, you need immediate medical attention.

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