POLL: Group opposes proposed Marco charter high school during Collier School Board meeting

Do you think Marco Island should have a high school?

See the results »

View previous polls »

— Lely High School senior Bailey Quinn is an honor student.

She swims on the school’s swim team.

She has always determined what kind of student she is.

“Lely High School has not defined who I am,” she told the Collier County School Board Thursday evening.

Though Lely doesn’t define her, Bailey told the Collier County School Board on Thursday afternoon that the acceptance of a charter school application, which would put a charter high school on Marco Island, would be detrimental to students living on Marco Island and to the new charter school and Lely High School.

“Putting a high school on Marco is ridiculous,” she said. “The students there would be unable to receive everything Lely has to offer,” she said, rattling off a list of 13 sports, various clubs and the fact that one-third of the members of the marching band come from Marco Island to prove her point.

Several Marco Island residents came to the meeting Thursday to express their opposition to Marco Island’s proposed charter school, which will be considered by the Collier County School Board at its Oct. 21 meeting in Immokalee.

Board members will discuss whether the marine-biology, hospitality and environmentally focused curriculum, as well as budget, staffing and other aspects technically meet state requirements before making a final decision.

Proponents of the charter school have said they would appeal to the state if the board denies the application.

The school, which will also offer traditional curriculum, is dubbed Marco Island Academy, and has been organized in less than two years by the nonprofit Marco Island Discovery Center.

Operating the school is estimated to cost $1.7 million in the first year and to increase incrementally based on new students, according to the charter application. Those costs are paid through donations, as well as state and local tax allocations that would have gone to the schools the students are zoned to attend. In the case of Marco Island residents, that is Lely High School.

Proponents of the high school said it continues the natural progression of schools on the Island. Marco is home to Tommie Barfield Elementary School and the Marco Island Charter Middle School. Others said it would enhance the quality of life for families on the Island.

But Michael Levine, a Marco Island resident and former New York educator, said the school is creating animosity on the Island. He said he would like to see a high school somewhere on the Island, but he doesn’t believe the spot or the plan for the school is a right fit.

“And I would not want to take away from Lely,” he said. “If they spent half of their efforts on Lely High School, they could bring it up to their standard. Their reasons are selfish.”

Marco Island resident Gerald Swiacki said he believes those who are proposing the charter high school “want a private school education with public dollars.”

“I think there is elitism and racism among supporters,” he said. “Most families who live in Marco can afford private school education if necessary.”

Lely High School is 36 percent white, 40 percent Hispanic and 13 percent Haitian, among other races at the school. The Marco Island Charter Middle School is 74 percent white and 20 percent Hispanic, according to Collier County School District figures.

In other board business, the Collier County School Board is waiting until after the November school board elections to move forward with plans to find a new superintendent, but board members agreed Thursday that they would work on a timeline and get some pricing information on different options to find Collier County’s next superintendent.

Board members agreed to contact private search firms, the Florida School Boards Association and members of the community to get input on potential costs, a timeline and suggestions for things to put into the district’s request for proposal, which will be sent to various firms for bid later this year.

Board Chairwoman Kathleen Curatolo told board members that the process to find a new superintendent takes an average of six to nine months, according to her research.

The Collier County School Board voted 3 to 2 last month not to extend Superintendent Dennis Thompson’s contract beyond July 31, 2011.

Connect with K-12 education policy reporter Katherine Albers at www.naplesnews.com/staff/katherine-albers/.

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

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Comments » 31

OldMarcoMan writes:

Makes me want to rethink the 26th amendment.

marco97 writes:

“I think there is elitism and racism among supporters,” he said. “Most families who live in Marco can afford private school education if necessary.”
Not in my neighborhood homes average $250,000 to $300,000 this is were the people with children live. Why do people think that everyone on Marco is a millionaire?

naples_rocket writes:

“I think there is elitism and racism among supporters,” he said. “Most families who live in Marco can afford private school education if necessary.”

Well, Mr. Swiacki I would suggest you visiting administrators at both schools on Marco and ask for some demographics. At least at Tommie Barfield every third child receives free or reduced price lunch, meaning that those kids are from low or very moderate income families.
It is so funny that so many people think that Marco is inhabited with millionaires. Yes, there are plenty of wealthy old people here, but young families with children, people who have to make a living by going to work are very far from being wealthy and can only dream about private schools for their kids. Plus, there are plenty of private schools in Naples.

here_is_my2cents writes:

in response to marco97:

“I think there is elitism and racism among supporters,” he said. “Most families who live in Marco can afford private school education if necessary.”
Not in my neighborhood homes average $250,000 to $300,000 this is were the people with children live. Why do people think that everyone on Marco is a millionaire?

Thank you! I couldn't agree more. Why does everyone think it is so wrong for us to want our kids to stay in there home town to go to school? Is it just because that's the way it's always been. I grew up attending a small town school and I received a fantastic education.

ski4life writes:

I am very proud of Bailey for speaking her mind on such a touchy subject. There are many parents with kids at TBE and charter that support Lely 100%. Make it private. I'm all for options, but not every whim needs to be put on the taxpayers. We already have a school...let's support it! Put it up for a vote - there must be a way to get the true public opinion.

dspislandhome#233683 writes:

What a wonderful opportunity for Marco Island to actually take part in enjoying a Public Charter High School. This is our future educational direction to stay competitive in a very complex and global economy. This is a choice that I am proud to support!!! Signed a mother who values choices for education; one who wants our talented teenage population to prosper in time saving opportunities and enhanced community guidance and service. Let's really make a difference!!!!!

dspislandhome#233683 writes:

It would be absolutely thrilling to see some of our older, "smarter" population come forward to help rally for our opportunity to advance public charter schools. Some of our "own" very talented residents residing right here can really make a difference and leave a lasting legacy for greatness. "God grant us the Serenity to accept the things we cannot change, COURAGE to change the things we can and the Wisdom to know the difference." Who else on this Island can be summoned with the heart to help build this Island up educationally into something more than it is now! Where are all the unselfish, intelligent, and noble leaders who know how to see beyond their own self serving ideas? The wise and mature figureheads who know how to care about our teenage population and truly support them and their families!!!!!!!

MarcoPasha writes:

Face it, another Charter High School with an annual budget of $2 million dollars has very long shot competing and the state level, let alone national or global arena. So far the board of directors or the national advisory board of this “non-profit” done nothing to address concerns impress or convince the Marco Island community for:
1) Need for another High School that can offer anything better than Lely.
2) Their credential to create a world class institution that will start a deluge of parents to move into the Island for hospitality education for their kids.

If you bought a property on the Island in the last 5 years, you are most likely be spending at least $50,000 between taxes, electricity, water and maintenance. If you rent it might cost you half as much in shelter. With the national unemployment “officially” running at %9.6 this is hardly a place to make living.

If public education at Lely is not good for you, there is Charter High School on the Island: The Christian Academy. They have about 6 pupils per teacher, hardly crowded. If the goal is to attract more renters to all those empty condos, we better off taking the $2 million dollar and hire retired local private transportation for the 13 mile trip to Lely.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to dspislandhome#233683:

It would be absolutely thrilling to see some of our older, "smarter" population come forward to help rally for our opportunity to advance public charter schools. Some of our "own" very talented residents residing right here can really make a difference and leave a lasting legacy for greatness. "God grant us the Serenity to accept the things we cannot change, COURAGE to change the things we can and the Wisdom to know the difference." Who else on this Island can be summoned with the heart to help build this Island up educationally into something more than it is now! Where are all the unselfish, intelligent, and noble leaders who know how to see beyond their own self serving ideas? The wise and mature figureheads who know how to care about our teenage population and truly support them and their families!!!!!!!

"God grant us the Serenity to accept the things we cannot change, COURAGE to change the things we can and the Wisdom to know the difference."

Beautiful words.

Please practice what you preach, especially "the Wisdom to know the difference."

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to marco97:

“I think there is elitism and racism among supporters,” he said. “Most families who live in Marco can afford private school education if necessary.”
Not in my neighborhood homes average $250,000 to $300,000 this is were the people with children live. Why do people think that everyone on Marco is a millionaire?

I guess the word "MOST" did not include your neighborhood nor did it include mine.

But if you knew where this pea started rolling from you would have a much different picture.

I do not live in a 1.8 million dollar condo.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to Klabautermann:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You mean you have feelings? With all the put downs and name calling you have done over your several hundred posts. Cut the crap!

lauralbi1 writes:

Let's do some Fifth Grade (or maybe third grade for Tommy Barfield) math. If there are 125 students from Marco Island available for the 9th and 10th grades in a new High School, and the new High School requires 250 children in order to open (can someone confirm this), how many children from off Island (mostly from the Migrant workers on 6L Farms) have to be bussed in to complete the minimum enrollment??
Whether the number is 125, 100 or 75, I guess it is okay to Bus these students in on a 20 minute ride, but not okay for the Marco students to take a 20 minute ride to Lely.
Are these statements and assumptions correct ?? We would like to know. And if not, what are the facts ??
Ed Issler

santabarbara writes:

dspislandhome#233683:

You are so right!!!! We do have many very talented people on our island who are very likely to step up to the plate for our children's education as soon as the charter is approved. We have such super public schools for elementary and middle schools that the natural progression as Deltona visioned is to have a super public high school as well.

MarcoPasha:

Marco does not have a charter school on the island as you posted earlier called the Christian Academy. Marco Island does have a private school named Winterberry Christian Academy. This is not a charter, it is a private school and I am assuming it is the one you are referring to. We have a private but we do not have a public charter school on the island.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to santabarbara:

dspislandhome#233683:

You are so right!!!! We do have many very talented people on our island who are very likely to step up to the plate for our children's education as soon as the charter is approved. We have such super public schools for elementary and middle schools that the natural progression as Deltona visioned is to have a super public high school as well.

MarcoPasha:

Marco does not have a charter school on the island as you posted earlier called the Christian Academy. Marco Island does have a private school named Winterberry Christian Academy. This is not a charter, it is a private school and I am assuming it is the one you are referring to. We have a private but we do not have a public charter school on the island.

Deltona visioned many things that did not happen for one reason for another. It is lame to pick one item form the dozens and make like Deltona knew 40 years ago what was needed for the here and now. Not reason enough for the Majority of us.

santabarbara writes:

in response to Ocram:

Deltona visioned many things that did not happen for one reason for another. It is lame to pick one item form the dozens and make like Deltona knew 40 years ago what was needed for the here and now. Not reason enough for the Majority of us.

Ocram:

Everyone is entitled to their opinion about agreeing with Deltona's vision of land use.

For example, Ed Issler is a big supporter of Deltona's vision of land use and their deed restrictions and that is fine too, ie.New Life Community Church deed restrictions. Ed can be in favor of Deltona's deed restrictions and you can be opposed. I just happen to agree with Ed on this one. I agree with Deltona's deed restrictions just like Ed Issler.

If it is or isn't the majority is something neither you nor I can say with 100% accuracy although I am sure we both have our ideas on it and you feel it isn't the majority and I feel it is the majority. Doesn't make either of us bad, just different ideas.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to santabarbara:

Ocram:

Everyone is entitled to their opinion about agreeing with Deltona's vision of land use.

For example, Ed Issler is a big supporter of Deltona's vision of land use and their deed restrictions and that is fine too, ie.New Life Community Church deed restrictions. Ed can be in favor of Deltona's deed restrictions and you can be opposed. I just happen to agree with Ed on this one. I agree with Deltona's deed restrictions just like Ed Issler.

If it is or isn't the majority is something neither you nor I can say with 100% accuracy although I am sure we both have our ideas on it and you feel it isn't the majority and I feel it is the majority. Doesn't make either of us bad, just different ideas.

You are absolutely correct that we should be able to, in a reasonable way, voice our opinions.

In addition should we not be concerned with finding out, in truth, what the majority of this island wants before we attempt to take on doing something to satisfy the "wants" of anyone?

You sound sensible to me and I did not mean to offend you and apologize if I did. I am rather sure that you are not a "bad" person any more than I am. Thank goodness, that definitely is in the, lowest possible, minority here.

santabarbara writes:

Ocram:
No offense taken but thanks for the rational words. I too am tired of the name calling on the blogs.

In theory I believe finding out what the wants of the community are sounds legitimate. My concern lies in what our community would do with the results. If the majority said no to a school, would the ones if favor really need to abide by that including the school district and city council(that is assuming they vote in favor for a high school). On the other side, if the majority said yes to a school, would the ones opposed really be okay with that. They may still have a bad taste left especially if they live near it. I am just not sure a vote would truly resolve the communities concerns.

Possibly a win-win for our community would be if someone who owns about 6 to 8 acres, that is not near single family homes on the island steps up to the plate and donates their land to the school district. The land owner would get a decent right off due to donating to a non-profit, the residential areas would not be disturbed, and the kids would get another high school choice. Note this is not an easy task to find but maybe someone reading this blog knows someone who owns some commercial land who would like to have their name on a school building. Similar to Bill Rose's donation that led to the Rose Hall building at the library. Just throwing this out there as a possible solution to all parties in our community.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to santabarbara:

Ocram:
No offense taken but thanks for the rational words. I too am tired of the name calling on the blogs.

In theory I believe finding out what the wants of the community are sounds legitimate. My concern lies in what our community would do with the results. If the majority said no to a school, would the ones if favor really need to abide by that including the school district and city council(that is assuming they vote in favor for a high school). On the other side, if the majority said yes to a school, would the ones opposed really be okay with that. They may still have a bad taste left especially if they live near it. I am just not sure a vote would truly resolve the communities concerns.

Possibly a win-win for our community would be if someone who owns about 6 to 8 acres, that is not near single family homes on the island steps up to the plate and donates their land to the school district. The land owner would get a decent right off due to donating to a non-profit, the residential areas would not be disturbed, and the kids would get another high school choice. Note this is not an easy task to find but maybe someone reading this blog knows someone who owns some commercial land who would like to have their name on a school building. Similar to Bill Rose's donation that led to the Rose Hall building at the library. Just throwing this out there as a possible solution to all parties in our community.

I was driving off of the Island earlier today and noticed a significant piece of land on the right side of the road between Marco and Fiddler's creek. It is a dry parcel, how large I could not tell but appears to be larger than 10 acres. Could this be what you are thinking about? It would be easier to reach by Naples students and would be a skip and a jump from Marco. Could be the right place.

Lhsroc writes:

I am a student at Lely High School. And most of you are all under a misconception. Lely doesn't shape who your kids are. Is that what you're afraid of? Lely has given me a bunch of different experiences and I socialize with a bunch of different people of different races and It has not changed me if anything It made me more socially rounded. This charter high school is optional yes. But What I don't get is why do older people even care? Do you have kids that are going into high school most likely not! Many people think All marco people are rich? Not my family... or my block... or the area I live. Because Most all of the houses are homes to families to parents that bust their butts to put food on the table and get nice clothes for their kids. Yes their are the more wealthy families but most are not wealthy, middle class is more like it/ blue collar. Alls I'm saying is that If you don't send your kids to Lely or even another high school. They'll be missing out on social situations and experiences that won't happen over the bridge of Marco Island.

santabarbara writes:

Ocram:

Regarding the piece of land off the island that you noted in an earlier post.

Do you know the owner? Can you find out the size of the land and if the owner would be willing to donate it to the school district for use. The high school seems open to other locations if they were given to the school district similar to Tract K. This could be a win-win for our community if you are able to negotiate with this owner.

This project needs a hero to step up with ideas, land and a solution for all in our community.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to santabarbara:

Ocram:

Regarding the piece of land off the island that you noted in an earlier post.

Do you know the owner? Can you find out the size of the land and if the owner would be willing to donate it to the school district for use. The high school seems open to other locations if they were given to the school district similar to Tract K. This could be a win-win for our community if you are able to negotiate with this owner.

This project needs a hero to step up with ideas, land and a solution for all in our community.

This is what I have heard about some of the land in that area. On the original Deltona maps the land was designated for school use. Sometime after Deltona was stopped by the Army Corps/Environmentalis the land was "traded" by the school district for other land in Naples which in turn got used for school buses to park.

I do no know who owns the land at this point along 951. The chances that it be donated would appear to be slim to none. But it is worth checking out. Has anyone at the Academy looked into this before time is wasted repeating the process?

frankie30 writes:

For those of you who sent your children to MICMS, could you please explain to me why you didn't send them to Manatee Middle?

AFulcher writes:

I was so disappointed to read the racism comment in the Sunday paper. Wow, I just had to register to say you would be surprised to know that our teens do not tend to regard skin color as important since racial prejudice is generally not a factor in their lives. They live in a world (reality TV, sports, school & friends) of multicultural acceptance. We could learn a lesson from them.

Also wondering if there was this opposition to the Middle School? and if there was, thank goddness it was overcome.

Sister_D writes:

in response to Klabautermann:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Pardon my concerns.

Klabautermann,

In order to pay attention to your posts could you please clarify for me, since I am new to this way of communication, what may your background be in order to evaluate others with your responses? Also, why has staff found it necessary to delete, so many, of your comments?

SunBum writes:

The days when Mississippi and Louisiana were ranked the lowest performing states are gone.

Currently, Johns Hopkins University, among numerous other think tanks, has named education within the state of Florida as being the second worst in the nation due to its high dropout rates in over 200 state schools. It gets worse. The Alliance For Excellence In Education has named 4 Collier High Schools with graduation rates of 50%, 53%, 53%, and 58% among the Worst In The Nation. In a first of its kind suit, the ACLU is even suing a Florida School District over the low graduation rates saying they reflect a violation of the Florida State Constitution guaranteeing a student’s right to a quality education. On August 24th, the USDOE awarded at least $170 million to the state of Florida as part of the Race To The Top agenda, further validating Florida‘s immediate need for educational improvements.

Thankfully, there are many Marco Island families whose children have been successful within district schools, in spite of these staggering revelations. That said, the families of local high school dropouts who clearly stand posed to become the silent majority cannot be ignored. I say silent because you won't find at-risk students whom the system has failed to serve adequately speaking out at a School Board meeting, in a Letter to the Eagle‘s Editor, or posting here. Therein, lies the dark side of our island Paradise that is all too rarely visible. Politically correct or not, we must face the fact that Marco’s youth have not been excluded from the district’s dropout or penal system rates. In short, there IS trouble in Paradise.

The Marco Island Academy is offering a solution. Given that our resident’s tax bills will remain the same no matter which school our children attend, who among us would not demand the better “bang for our buck“? Eldreidge Cleaver once said, “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” The children of Marco must be a part of the solution, not part of the problem currently being reported to Congress.

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2010/a...
http://web.jhu.edu/CSOS/graduation-ga...
http://www.all4ed.org/files/Prioritiz...
http://www.manhattan-institute.org/ht...
http://www.fldoe.org/ARRA/RacetotheTo...
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2...

.

giggel211 writes:

in response to lauralbi1:

Let's do some Fifth Grade (or maybe third grade for Tommy Barfield) math. If there are 125 students from Marco Island available for the 9th and 10th grades in a new High School, and the new High School requires 250 children in order to open (can someone confirm this), how many children from off Island (mostly from the Migrant workers on 6L Farms) have to be bussed in to complete the minimum enrollment??
Whether the number is 125, 100 or 75, I guess it is okay to Bus these students in on a 20 minute ride, but not okay for the Marco students to take a 20 minute ride to Lely.
Are these statements and assumptions correct ?? We would like to know. And if not, what are the facts ??
Ed Issler

Mr. Ed Issler,

you want to do 3 grade math so do it:

125 + 125 equals 250.

That was the result i learned in school. Maybe your result is different. And again the Kids from 6 L Farms already attending the schools here. But i think i can tell you this a million times and you don't get it, because it is not in your favor.
And you should know the facts. You have a copy of the application. Start reading.

lauralbi1 writes:

islandeye: Already taken care of and in the works. By the way. MICA has done this to all the Deed restrictions of the properties that Deltona assigned to them (extended them I think 20 years, we are only doing 10).
Ed Issler

Sister_D writes:

in response to Klabautermann:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I do agree with you that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but it seems that there is quite a bit of name-calling and bully-ing on all sides, rather than the facts of the topic being posted. Unfortunately, sir, I think that so many of your posts have been removed for this exact offense. What does this approach say to our children when they read these conversations? It is a poor
example to them. We teach the children and young adults that name calling is abhorrent--should we not follow the same rule. ALL parties should try to stick to the topic. And, I believe, that it does no good for your cause if that is your consistent way of answering others posts.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to Klabautermann:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I did check out what Santabara asked. I did not take on a job that the Academy could/should have done themselves since I recently found out, that, they knew about this property all along. Ms. J. Barrett, second in leadership for the Academy, lives in Fiddler's Creek. I suppose you did not "know" that yourself, since you seem to know everything else.

Congratulations on reaching new lows in insulting a Nun.

Johnnymarco49 writes:

in response to lauralbi1:

Let's do some Fifth Grade (or maybe third grade for Tommy Barfield) math. If there are 125 students from Marco Island available for the 9th and 10th grades in a new High School, and the new High School requires 250 children in order to open (can someone confirm this), how many children from off Island (mostly from the Migrant workers on 6L Farms) have to be bussed in to complete the minimum enrollment??
Whether the number is 125, 100 or 75, I guess it is okay to Bus these students in on a 20 minute ride, but not okay for the Marco students to take a 20 minute ride to Lely.
Are these statements and assumptions correct ?? We would like to know. And if not, what are the facts ??
Ed Issler

Your just so smart Ed...we should just vote to make you mayor. Your the reason people don't like old people. Although I have been told that I should be nicer to you since you have some sort of mental disorder (probably from asbestos dust). You start issues you can not finish and frankly the Rio Ct "friends" you talked to agree that you moving away is a great idea.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to Klabautermann:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

She probably figured that you were not worth the effort, just like everyone else has.
I am quite happy being part of the 86% which you are not part of. Have a good life!

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