Marco charter high school controversy turns back to Lely High scenario

A Marco Island charter high school may end up back at its most controversial roots -- Lely High School -- if several city and school officials have their way.

Marco Island’s proposed charter high school was on-again, off-again and on-again as the Marco Island City Council placed it on Monday night’s agenda, took it off and then proceeded to talk about it anyway.

The discussions and debate about support for the proposed school, dubbed Marco Island Academy, have often centered around the proposed location for the school.

“There seems to be a conflict as to where to put the charter school. I was hoping to get ideas here tonight,” said Collier County School Board incumbent candidate Roy Terry.

Terry was somewhat disappointed it wasn’t formally discussed, he said, because although the location is not a necessity to approve or to consider the charter application filed with the District, it would be nice to know where it would be.

The School Board is to consider the Academy and two other charter applications, one for a Silva Learning Academy with a location not yet set and one for a charter high school near Ave Maria University at a meeting scheduled for 3:30 p.m Oct. 21 at Immokalee High School.

Two proposals were broached to place the Marco Island Academy in Naples, including one to build the school on acres of property at 301 Tower Road, which is more centrally located than other previous on-island proposals and is the current location of Comcast, Terry said.

City Councilman Wayne Waldack said he is vying for more discussions between the charter school proponents and school board members about starting the school at Lely High School.

There have been several locations considered previously and all that were announced publicly were on-island, including Mackle Park, the Marco Island YMCA, New Life Community Church on Elkcam Circle and Tract K, which is a piece of property deeded to the Collier County School District by the island developers, Deltona Corp., at a cost of about $10. Those locations did not pan out thus far for various reasons.

Another location that Waldack has discussed with incumbent candidate Pat Carroll and Kathleen Curatulo is at Lely High School, Waldack said.

The initial backlash to the proposed charter high school about two years ago came when students, school officials, parents and other residents said they felt the charter school would hurt Lely and an island school was based on racism and elitism.

Those concerns began to dwindle and Waldack called housing the school at Lely a “win-win.”

Terry said he had envisioned more of a magnet school at Lely with either a humanities and social studies focus or a math and science focus.

The curriculum for the Marco Island Academy, which has been developed by the nonprofit Marco Island Discovery Center board led by Marco resident and parent Jane Watt, is to have a marine biology focus.

Since the issue was not on the council agenda, no vote was taken Monday. However, council has showed support for the school when it was to be located at the Marco YMCA and when it was once considered for Mackle Park.

Watt, president of the Marco Island Discovery Center, could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday night.

Council also:

■ Tabled numerous proposed fee increases until November requesting more justification for the need to increase the fees in a 4-3 vote with Councilmen Waldack, Bill Trotter and Larry Magel dissenting.

■ Unanimously, 7-0, approved a resolution opposing Amendment 4, which is also called the Hometown Democracy amendment and will be considered by all Florida voters in the Nov. 2 general election. Two public speakers, one of each position, spoke on Amendment 4, which will require all amendments to a city or county’s land development code to go to referendum. Marco Island Taxpayers’ Association President Fay Biles said MITA supports it; Shirley English, executive director of the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors said the Association opposes the amendment.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Related Stories

Comments » 19

freedomofspeech1 writes:

ROY TERRY SHOULD NOT BE LOOKING FOR ANSWERS...HE SHOULD BE SUPPORTING LELY HIGH SCHOOL...THIS SCHOOL WILL HURT LELY AND HE NEEDS TO OPPOSE IT!
THE BEST OPTION I HAVE HEARD IS TO PLACE THIS INSIDE OF LELY AND MAKE IT AN ACADEMY. WAYNE WALDACK IS ON TO SOMETHING HERE...

33yearresident writes:

Why even suggest having an academy at Lely? Not one person has provided proof that a new high school is NEEDED. And they can't, because it isn't!
These people didn't want their kids going to Lely!! That's why they came up with the academy idea. Remember, Lely is too far for them to drive. It's okay for everyone else, but not them! LOL
Private school, funded by parents. Shell out the dough, and leave the rest of us out of it!

RayPray writes:

"Marco Island Academy in Naples on Tower Road" ?

This is the solution supported by the majority Marco parents!

It would make it easy to bus over gangs of Africn and Latino youths from East Naples, as well as downscale if yet white Red Necks from Golden Gate.

Diversity!

Constant exposure to Diversity!

This is the main thing Marco parents are today demanding for the willowy teens of the island!!!

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Oh.....Now I see, its not having an Academy, it is where the Academy is. Ten miles from our bridge is too much, Six miles to Tower Rd. is too much or is it the proximity to those "other" students from Naples. It seems that "Choice" is no longer really the question if there are other locations available to have that "Choice".

Now all that work being done by the volunteers can show its merit in a better suited location and who knows it could, also, benefit the other students at Lely.

captnjimbo writes:

Locating at Lely...LOCO.

marco97 writes:

If you locate the Marco Island Academy in Naples then I think it should be called the Naples Academy.

Fossil writes:

These are all red herrings brought up not for the kids but for opponents. This has become way too political. Let's maintain focus folks. Marco Island is the largest City in Florida without a High School. The parents and children of Marco Island deserve a high school in their home town. Our children should be able to walk or ride their bikes to school. This proposal has nothing to do with race, gangs or the personal wants of Waldack and people opposing this proposal who may have raised their kids elswhere and then moved here. It is not about keeping our children out of neighborhoods. They have a right to be here, they too are residents and citizens. This is not about Lely high school losing students or it's quality. This is about OUR community, not Naples, not East Naples, not Lely and it has little to do with high school football or any other non educational extra curricular activities large expensive public high schools offer. The proponents are not suggesting we establish new day care centers or training grounds for ACC football. This is only about OUR children. We are one of the richest communities in Florida. We throw money around the island for the Chamber of Commerce with abandon. Our city has a responsiblity to our own. Aren't our children citizens too? Our children are the most important treasure we have. What is the matter with you people. Your priorities are flawed. You have spent millions on a new sewer and water plant. Millions on new bridges. Yet you balk when it comes to finding a place to build a high school? Here is a chance to give our children a unique education within their own community. Eventually Marco Island will have a High School paid for by the tax payer. When that happens we will have no control and it will be the School Board's high school paid for by ALL of us. You can take that to the bank.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to Fossil:

These are all red herrings brought up not for the kids but for opponents. This has become way too political. Let's maintain focus folks. Marco Island is the largest City in Florida without a High School. The parents and children of Marco Island deserve a high school in their home town. Our children should be able to walk or ride their bikes to school. This proposal has nothing to do with race, gangs or the personal wants of Waldack and people opposing this proposal who may have raised their kids elswhere and then moved here. It is not about keeping our children out of neighborhoods. They have a right to be here, they too are residents and citizens. This is not about Lely high school losing students or it's quality. This is about OUR community, not Naples, not East Naples, not Lely and it has little to do with high school football or any other non educational extra curricular activities large expensive public high schools offer. The proponents are not suggesting we establish new day care centers or training grounds for ACC football. This is only about OUR children. We are one of the richest communities in Florida. We throw money around the island for the Chamber of Commerce with abandon. Our city has a responsiblity to our own. Aren't our children citizens too? Our children are the most important treasure we have. What is the matter with you people. Your priorities are flawed. You have spent millions on a new sewer and water plant. Millions on new bridges. Yet you balk when it comes to finding a place to build a high school? Here is a chance to give our children a unique education within their own community. Eventually Marco Island will have a High School paid for by the tax payer. When that happens we will have no control and it will be the School Board's high school paid for by ALL of us. You can take that to the bank.

I believe your research as far as Cities in Florida not having their own high school is flawed.

Bonita Beach, 32,797 full time population goes to Estero, Safety Harbor, 17,203 full time population goes to Clearwater, Sunny Isles Beach, 15,315 full time population goes to Biscayne Bay, Jupiter, full time population of 39,328 goes to Neptune Beach and there are most likely others.

Marco Island has a full time population of 14,879 is definitely not the largest City without their own high school.

BVoltair writes:

I have spent a life working to provide my family with a better life than I have had. Marco Island is a beautiful place to live and to raise a family. Raising that family includes educating your children. Why be ashamed? Strive to give your children a better life, and instill those values, dreams and goals in your children. Don't let political correctness cloud the American dream.

wwaldack writes:

Fossil,
Your Comment:"This proposal has nothing to do with race, gangs or the personal wants of Waldack and people opposing this proposal who may have raised their kids elswhere and then moved here. It is not about keeping our children out of neighborhoods. They have a right to be here, they too are residents and citizens."

I would wish to express that I support the Charter High School. Education of our young men and young women is paramont. The programs that the Charter High School is suggesting are interesing and should find a way of being implemented.

Lely High School has existing facilities that are ready to be used. This would save the Charter Parents a lot infrastructure money which may be used more effectively in providing the advanced educational programs desired.

My suggestion is to better utilize existing buildings and classrooms that are in existence and better allow the "Academy" to exist inside an existing High School. The purpose is to expand the educational experience for all the young men and young women of Marco Island and of Collier County. As I remember the Academy intended to allow students from off island to enroll as well.

Wayne Waldack

Fossil writes:

For those of you fond of being factually correct: Marco Island is one of the few cities of it's size in the state of Florida, without a High School. Not that it makes any difference. Mr. Waldack, your response simply kicks the can down the road. You have submitted a response that validates keeping our kids off island and promotes maintianing the status quo. Your idea passes responsiblity back to the School Board. Actually, your idea places a burden upon our citizens to furhter subsidize a public school that is located TOO FAR from our community. If you really support a high school for OUR children in our OWN community, then help find a place in our City to build it. One day, the Board of Education will be faced with a need to do it and they will not ask for your help. Nor will they ask for your permission to build it on Track K. They will likely demand that the City either offer a suitable cite for a large conventional school. One with all the trappings or they will build it on Tract K without consideration of Tiger Tail residents. We will ALL have to pay and it will NOT be the school our children deserve. It will be a county school run by the Board of Education.

wwaldack writes:

Fossil,
I am more interested in improving the quality of education for all the young men and young women of Marco Island and if the quality of education spills over to the young men and young women of Collier County, that's good, Right? The Charter High School (Academy) has looked at several different sites and thus far have been unable to come up with a viable high school location. I have suggested partnerships with other existing places of education on Marco Island.

My interest is to start the educational ball rolling rather than just kicking the can around in circles. I would prefer to see movement in increasing the quality of education that the the ideas of the "Academy" can bring to all the young men and young women.

I do not support any idea that would increase the cost of education to the Taxpayers of Marco Island. In 2010, Marco Islanders paid $63,000,000.00 in Ad-Valorem (Property Taxes) for education. That equals $45,000 for each of the 1,400 school aged children on Marco Island. (1,400 is an estimate)

I will not project the future. Today's facts indicate that there is available space at Lely which could be utilized and the many advanced placement courses, school clubs and functions, as well as the many sports programs would be available are some of the positives.

Just to say we have a High School, please don't forget the Church next to Winterberry Park on Marco Island already has a "High School" experience.

WW

marco97 writes:

in response to Ocram:

I believe your research as far as Cities in Florida not having their own high school is flawed.

Bonita Beach, 32,797 full time population goes to Estero, Safety Harbor, 17,203 full time population goes to Clearwater, Sunny Isles Beach, 15,315 full time population goes to Biscayne Bay, Jupiter, full time population of 39,328 goes to Neptune Beach and there are most likely others.

Marco Island has a full time population of 14,879 is definitely not the largest City without their own high school.

Safety Harbor goes 4-5 mile to Clearwater high

Bonita Springs 5-6 miles to Estero High.

The City of Sunny Isles Beach only lists this High school on their web site Dr. Michael M. Krop High School (Magnet) 3 miles away, no mention of Biscayne Bay.

Jupiter has it's own high school, here is the link www.palmbeach.k12.fl.us/jupiterhs/

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Has anyone noticed how many half or un-truths have been posted by the proponents.

1. Volunteers - a list of people who may or may not have "actually" been volunteers. (See comments earlier from City Council members who were listed but they themselves said they were not volunteers.

2. Community Support. Groups that were spoken to, that were listed as such, but never actually committed their support.

3. Marco being the largest city in Florida without their own high school. (False in total there are at least 4 other cities larger than Marco as listed earlier that do not have their own high school.

4. No cost to tax payers. Where does the money come from to begin with? Then what about the infrastructure that has never been addesessed?

5. We are going to be at Mackle Park, then the "Y" then Tract "K" and the church Now we do not know where we are going to be.

Does one get the picture that there is quite a bit of confusion and mis-information just getting this thing rolling? What would the future hold and for how long?

I do believe that there is good intent by some who have been involved and not taking anything away from them, but....

The truth is, is that this is what happens when you have a group of novices taking on something that they really have little experience and background in.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to marco97:

Safety Harbor goes 4-5 mile to Clearwater high

Bonita Springs 5-6 miles to Estero High.

The City of Sunny Isles Beach only lists this High school on their web site Dr. Michael M. Krop High School (Magnet) 3 miles away, no mention of Biscayne Bay.

Jupiter has it's own high school, here is the link www.palmbeach.k12.fl.us/jupiterhs/

Mia copa, I guess my research was flawed too.

But that still leaves the comment as stated many times by the proponents as Marco being the largest city in Florida without a High School as false. Thank you for confirming that!

Nothing had been mentioned as to distances traveled, which has nothing to do with the statement.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to Klabautermann:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You ought to know!

Fossil writes:

Mr. Waldack: I believe your priorities are misplaced. Your first responsiblity is to the children of the community you serve. Not to the children of Lely, Naples, Collier County, the State of Florida, the country or the world. You were elected to serve the citizens of Marco Island. Use your office for what it was intended and do your duty. Serve our citizens and help them achieve a quality high school near their home. It is so obvious to the majority of parents within this community that this is the one educational void our community needs to fill. You of all people must know that our community has sufficient funds to support this effort. You have been a big supporter of commercial interests on this island and and voted for the expenditure of significant resources to support the sewer, water treatment plant, bridges and any other infrastructure that the Chamber of Commerce demands. Why can't our children and their parents expect the same support?

lauralbi1 writes:

Maybe someone could enlighten us as to what is going on with the PROPOSED, UNCHARTERED, CHARTER SCHOOL ?? They have just solicited donations from all Islanders for this school. Their Application to CCSB has not been approved and their Charter is far from being granted. To our knowledge, they have no location for the school.
How can they ask for donations ?? What would we be donating to ?? What happens if there is no school ??
This is deifferent than donating to MD or Cancer research. We donate with no immediate expectation of a cure. But in this case, what if there eventually is no school ??
Ed Issler

1Paradiselost writes:

In Responce to ED...."Their Application to CCSB has not been approved and their Charter is far from being granted. To our knowledge,

They have no location for the school.

How can they ask for donations ??

What would we be donating to ??

What happens if there is no school ??"

Ed You bring up a good point!! I can only think that the lawyers will have a field day with this one!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features