Collier School District could lease Tract K land in Marco to nonprofit eagle group

— Collier County School Board members may find themselves in a clash with Marco Island City Council members as the school district considers letting a nonprofit group take a piece of land on Marco Island under its wings.

Marco Island City Council Chairman Frank Recker wasn’t pleased with the proposal that will go before the school board on Feb. 15. The draft lease agreement would allow the Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation, a nonprofit formed last year seeking to further protect Tract K’s nesting American Bald Eagles, sole use of the District-owned land for five years with a potential to extend.

“I’m very disappointed because I’ve always believed the city should have the final say in the use of Tract K,” Recker said.

However, the proposed lease poses an opportunity for the School District. The vacant land near Tigertail Beach on Marco Island has been inhabited by protected American Bald Eagles for several consecutive nesting seasons limiting any potential use of the land.

The Marco Eagle Sanctuary Foundation seeks to protect the eagles by preventing a planned charter high school or other development on the 11.6-acre parcel, which was deeded to the District by a prominent island developer, Deltona Corporation, in 1989 at a cost of $10.

The Foundation plans to create a “passive park,” or a park with no activities or events that would disturb eagles, such as sports, on the site.

The draft agreement is for a five year term beginning May 1 and ending April 30, 2016 with an option to extend the lease or purchase the land. The Foundation will pay the district $30,000 annually in quarterly installments of $7,500 each.

“This agreement, if approved, will preserve the environmental integrity of the property for the eagles and residents of Marco Island and provide some revenue to the District to help with our financial challenges,” said District spokesman Joe Landon.

It will also prevent Marco’s planned charter high school from being there in the foreseeable future. The charter high school could pose an economic threat to Lely High School, the currently zoned school for Marco Island residents, because state and local dollars would follow students to a charter school.

Jane Watt, chairwoman and president of Marco Island Discovery Center and Academy, the planned charter high school, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The charter high school looks to open temporarily this August in modulars, or trailers, on a leased site that is near the gated community of Key Marco on San Marco Road. The temporary site is inhabited by Gopher Tortoises, which will require special permitting to be removed.

Recker said the School District’s lease to the Eagle Sanctuary Foundation would serve a blow to the charter school’s future, as the leaders had their sights set on using Tract K as the eventual long-term location for their school.

Despite there being no explicit requirement in the deeding of the land to the district, Recker is among many Marco Island residents and officials who believe Deltona’s intent in giving the land so cheaply to the District was for it to become the location of a school.

Recker had recommended on several occasions that the city consider a two-year first purchase option at a cost of $100. It would have required the District to hold the property while council sought community feedback on Tract K’s use. Recker’s recommendation did not pick up steam with other council members and now they could lose a say in the matter for five years or more.

“That’s why I urged council to tie it up for a couple years at virtually no cost, so that the people could decide through public hearings what, if any use, there should be. Should we buy it? Should we let it go? Should we not care what the school board does with it?” Recker said of the questions that he believed should be posed to residents.

“I think it’s unfortunate if the school board ratifies it because I think it takes it away from the people’s decision,” he said.

Recker, and the majority of City Council members, have voiced support for the charter high school, even if some were less direct on their desires for Tract K. Some wanted the city to make it a park; a group of entrepreneurs sought to make a solar demonstration site there. So far, almost every idea attracted some heat from at least one segment of the island or county population.

“We all love eagles, but there are other things we love too,” Recker said.

Other aspects of the agreement include:

n The foundation must pay to maintain the land, including mowing and insurance.

n All improvements made to the land by the Foundation will require District approval first.

n The Foundation plans to add fencing and pedestrian pathways, which will be done at their cost and which may have to be removed if the District requests it at the end of the lease.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Related Stories

Comments » 63

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

How many times did citizens of this community try to bring this discussion before the City Council this past year? We asked for a referendum on several occasions and were shoved aside by you and certain other members of the Council. Now you, Councilman Recker, have the audacity to say that you wanted to know what the other 12,000 voters on Marco wanted. How disingenuous can you be?

33yearresident writes:

MICMS is not on Tract K. Why? The same reason the academy will not be on Tract K. THE EAGLES!!
The academy is green?? The only green thing about them is they want your greenbacks.

1Paradiselost writes:

After reading Mr. Reckers comments and watching his behavior a city council meetings.

I just can't get this tune out of my mind......

If I were King of the Forest, Not queen, not duke, not prince.
My regal robes of the forest, would be satin, not cotton, not chintz.
I'd command each thing, be it fish or fowl.
With a woof and a woof and a royal growl - woof.

As I'd click my heel, all the trees would kneel.
And the mountains bow and the bulls kowtow.
And the sparrow would take wing - If I - If I - were King!
Each rabbit would show respect to me. The chipmunks genuflect to me.

Though my tail would lash, I would show compash
For every underling!
If I - If I - were King!
Just King!

"Bert Lahr" from the Wizard of OZ

Music and Lyrics by
Harold Arlen & Yip Harburg

And what do they both lack.....Courage!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ul2r7C...

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Paradise,

I would hope you meant "Courage" to stand up for all of the tax payers not just those of the MIA, which he had his name attached to as a Volunteer.

1Paradiselost writes:

in response to Ocram:

Paradise,

I would hope you meant "Courage" to stand up for all of the tax payers not just those of the MIA, which he had his name attached to as a Volunteer.

Your are correct!!

ajm3s writes:

Dr. Recker:

Your statement: “I think it’s unfortunate if the school board ratifies it because I think it takes it away from the people’s decision", is not accurate.

If it was the people's decision it would be presented as a referendum item for a vote. However, as an elected Council member, you do represent the folks but I say it is quite a stretch to conclude the people have spoken with a single voice, to build a school on Tract K.

I will not discount the vision of the developers to set aside specific sites as future use for schools- but that may include a nature site as a laboratory for students to witness.

My fight in this game, is the hypocrisy of the MIA and some of its board members which sit on its National Advisory Board.

Mr. William Browning, was a founding member of the US Green Building Council’s Board of Directors and he still serves on the USGBC’s Governance Board.

With this level of experience and leadership as guidance for the MIA, I cannot in my wildest dreams understand why one would pursue raw land and disturb a site with protected wildlife.

It is simply beyond the pale. I believe, the MIA is its own enemy. They lay out a PR campaign that espouses great environmental and green building ideas, but go about making choices that run counter to their stated foundation and goals.

In preparing to defend your positions, may I recommend you allow the citizens of this community, no matter how divided be given the opportunity to be heard without the need of a PAC or glib public relations as exemplified with the MIA.

As a start, may I recommend you read the MIA's literature regarding "State of the Art Green Campus". A principle based on the tenets of the Green Building philosophy under the auspices of the USGB Council.

Here is a primer:

http://www.greenschoolbuildings.org/g...

Note: there will be a test at the end of the class, and it will not be open book.

Question #1:

Place the following sites in order which best meet the fundamental concerns of the USGB Council:

A. Existing building on a developed site on a readily available within 5 miles of Marco Island.
B. 5.7 acre site with 60 gopher tortoises adjacent to mangroves currently stressed due to lack of water drainage
C. 11.6 acre site with nesting pair of eagles and two offspring

Answer: _______________

deltarome writes:

The school board is more afraid of MIA being a financial success than care about the eagles. They know that MIA will take funds from Lely that the school board desperately needs.

ed34145 writes:

Wow!!! Something Recker can't control. He must be devastated.

RayPray writes:

“We all love eagles, but there are other things we love too,” Recker said.

A comment worthy of Orwell.

Were I an eagle, I would be sweating....

Marcoptomist writes:

You've got to be kidding me? Is this a joke? This is about a group of people that bought homes on a "Future School Site" and now suddenly became eagle lovers. How could you buy a home on this property and not know that someday, something was going to be built there, maybe not a school, but, something. Now, faced with the reality that the property behind their homes, may actually be put to it's intended use or something else, they form MESF, and somehow are trying to possibly work out some kind of lease agreement with the District for $30,000 a year? Wow. Has anyone noticed that the eagles are nesting in a "Non-native Australian Pine Tree"? If I pulled a permit to build a home with one of these trees, I would be required to remove all exotics. Ok, so it has a nesting eagle it, great. So when this group pulls a permit to add fencing and pathways, will they have to remove the trees? This has really come down to two things, "the charter school could become an economic threat to Lely High", thus the political backlash from the District and all the red tape they gave the Academy when trying to get a Charter High School approved and secondly,a newly formed group (i.e. MESF), using the eagle as their wedge to create a "green space" in order to save their views in a self serving manner. This is public land with an eagle on it for now. Someday, the eagle will move on or die of old age. Until then, let it be, then put this land to it's intended use of a school. This lease would benefit only a few people as opposed to thousands of young children for years and years to come. Recker is right, "WE all love eagles", but, for God's sake, there are other things, too. Where were these eagle loving people when the proposed solar panels were being discussed? I don't recall anything about the Eagle at that time. Finally, oh the turtles! Does anyone know how many Gopher Tortoise relocate permits have been given over the past 5-10 years or more on Marco Island. At least today, people try to safely relocate the turtles. I'm sure in the old days, they were not moved and construction did not stop. Come on, just move the turtles, give the children of this island a high school, just like their elementary school and middle school. Let future families of Marco have a choice of sending their kids here or to Lely - Personally, I don't care where people want their kids to go to high school, but it should be their choice and for the betterment of the City and it's residents, both present and future, we should have a High School - on the island. There is so much promise in the future of Marco Island having it's very own complete school system. Go Marco Island Discovery Center! Good luck to you and I wish you all the success in the world. Have a great day everyone.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to deltarome:

The school board is more afraid of MIA being a financial success than care about the eagles. They know that MIA will take funds from Lely that the school board desperately needs.

DUHH!

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Recker said at a Council meeting that it was not up to the City to decide on the disposition of Tract K. It is and has been up to the School Board. And as our old buddy Klabs has always said nothing more, nothing less.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

The situation is that the MIA wants to use public tax dollars to finance their private school. Adding the "Green School" concept was just one of their guised attempts of a means to an end.

So lets stop bad mouthing Lely and support it with the efforts that will benefit a much broader spectrum of students, not just our own.

Go ask your "other self" why he called for a referendum and none of the proponents have. If they had we would not be going through this "Snake Oil" presentation for so long.

GO LELY!

freedomofspeech1 writes:

Mr Recker the city of Marco DOES NOT own this land and has NO SAY in its use. The land is owned by the school board and they can do whatever they want. If you listen the operative word here is "Lease" NOT "sell".....The group is not controlling the land they are only leasing it. The land will NEVER be used by the academy becaus the academy will be defunct in 1 year!

RayPray writes:

"The land will NEVER be used by the academy becaus the academy will be defunct in 1 year!"

The Potemkin Village Marco Apartheid Academy will collapse this Spring, since nobody in their right mind will consign their kids to trailers -- with much delicious to observe public recrimination & finger pointing....

There are precious public egos at play with this remarkable fiasco....

themessiah writes:

I see the MIA already has their bus transportation system worked out .......

http://africa.updmedia.com/kenya/big/...

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to themessiah:

I see the MIA already has their bus transportation system worked out .......

http://africa.updmedia.com/kenya/big/...

ROALMAO! Got Depends!

marco97 writes:

in response to RayPray:

"The land will NEVER be used by the academy becaus the academy will be defunct in 1 year!"

The Potemkin Village Marco Apartheid Academy will collapse this Spring, since nobody in their right mind will consign their kids to trailers -- with much delicious to observe public recrimination & finger pointing....

There are precious public egos at play with this remarkable fiasco....

Tommie Barfield still houses some classes in trailers to this day but I guess you don't know this because you have never been to the schools on Marco.
The middle school had trailers for a long time before the school was built also.

RayPray writes:

"The middle school had trailers for a long time before the school was built also."

The Middle School was a sensible project.

With the Apartheid Academy it's not temporary trailers that are the problem but the permanent overweening ego

"...you have never been to the schools on Marco."

???

marco97 writes:

in response to RayPray:

"The middle school had trailers for a long time before the school was built also."

The Middle School was a sensible project.

With the Apartheid Academy it's not temporary trailers that are the problem but the permanent overweening ego

"...you have never been to the schools on Marco."

???

Ray you stated that "Marco Apartheid Academy will collapse this Spring, since nobody in their right mind will consign their kids to trailers" and I was just pointing out that both schools on the island used trailers and Tommie Barfield still does. So what you ment to say is that trailers are alright as long as you like the project.

liberator100 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

20_Days writes:

in response to marco97:

Tommie Barfield still houses some classes in trailers to this day but I guess you don't know this because you have never been to the schools on Marco.
The middle school had trailers for a long time before the school was built also.

The needs and behaviors of high school, young adults, are quite different than elementary or middle school children. Let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that there is little to no difference in what is required by each of those unique age levels.

If the trailers were connected to a real school building that is being expanded than that is quite different than trailers sitting by themselves. High school students have a huge amount of energy reserves and with nowhere to go to release those energies, you will be up for some real learning experiences yourself.

To think otherwise is fool-hardy.

20_Days writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

From what you are saying, if I am not mistaken, is that all of the students attending the proposed Marco Island Academy will only be from Marco Island. That is not what I was led to believe.

Is_It_True_Partially_True_Or_Not_True (Inactive) writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You making big mistake, calling many students from E. Naples criminals. Now how will they act when they meet up wit our kids or mabe you? Not smart thing to say.

marcojoe writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

GET OVER YOURSELF

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to Is_It_True_Partially_True_Or_Not_True:

You making big mistake, calling many students from E. Naples criminals. Now how will they act when they meet up wit our kids or mabe you? Not smart thing to say.

Dubrovnik,

What do you expect. I just hope that the students at Lely do not read this and seek out the person or persons who so consistantly bad mouth's them.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

To add to that thought. I really should not care what Herzili or Klabautermann has said but it worries me that some of the kids from Lely might find it, "entertaining" to respond to these idiotic comments and take it out on our Island's kids. No depth of intelligence, in those remarks.

NoRulesInKansas (Inactive) writes:

in response to themessiah:

I see the MIA already has their bus transportation system worked out .......

http://africa.updmedia.com/kenya/big/...

LMAO!!!! Totally hysterical! thank you for the visual!

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

in response to themessiah:

I see the MIA already has their bus transportation system worked out .......

http://africa.updmedia.com/kenya/big/...

Funniest thing seen, in a long time. GREAT!!!!!!

ajm3s writes:

in response to happyhorowitz34145:

Funniest thing seen, in a long time. GREAT!!!!!!

You will need to add a crossing guard for those not on the bus (turtle). On Marco Island, a crossing guard consists of one or two MI police officers with vehicles flashing.

Dr. Riviere, do not misinterpret my lament as one who does not like the city. In fact, it is to the contrary. I LOVE this city, but I HATE the wasteful use of resources.

Note: I was a crossing guard as an elementary student during times when 7th and 8th graders were instructed and given the responsibility of safety crossings for students (first through 8th grade) walking home. We even had a badge, a chest belt, whistle and safety flag.

Oh the times have changed in 45 years. There could be a claim that students today may not be qualified, but is the direct replacement by police officers, a bit over the top. Unless they wish to volunteer as we did as student safety patrol officers in times past.

SunBum writes:

While the Federal government is advocating and funding charter schools nationwide, and the state of Florida has accepted funding and agreed to institute charter schools within the state, the Collier District has a longstanding opposition to the concept which dates well before the first mention of the MI Academy. http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2007/n...

Given the $3.5 million taxpayer dollars the District has just been fined for non-compliance with the state’s student/teacher ratios one would think the School Board would be committed to fiscal responsibility. The case in point, Statute 1002.33(18)(E) states: “If a district school board facility or property is available because it is surplus, marked for disposal, or otherwise unused, it shall be provided for a charter school’s use on the same basis as it is made available to other public schools in the district.” http://archive.flsenate.gov/statutes/...

The residents of Marco Island need to be asking if the School Board is not setting the District up for yet another multi-million dollar fine to be paid by the taxpayers for non-compliance of a state statute.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

Kelly Farrell,

Your headline in to today's Eagle reeks of biased rag newspaper reporting. Your opinion is far from appreciated and will lead me to cancel my subscription to your newspaper.
I would hope that your Editor takes a closer look at you not so funny attempts swaying public opinion. Report the facts not your childish attempts of being disparaging.

ajm3s writes:

in response to SunBum:

While the Federal government is advocating and funding charter schools nationwide, and the state of Florida has accepted funding and agreed to institute charter schools within the state, the Collier District has a longstanding opposition to the concept which dates well before the first mention of the MI Academy. http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2007/n...

Given the $3.5 million taxpayer dollars the District has just been fined for non-compliance with the state’s student/teacher ratios one would think the School Board would be committed to fiscal responsibility. The case in point, Statute 1002.33(18)(E) states: “If a district school board facility or property is available because it is surplus, marked for disposal, or otherwise unused, it shall be provided for a charter school’s use on the same basis as it is made available to other public schools in the district.” http://archive.flsenate.gov/statutes/...

The residents of Marco Island need to be asking if the School Board is not setting the District up for yet another multi-million dollar fine to be paid by the taxpayers for non-compliance of a state statute.

Excellent, rebuttal.

alanint writes:

Frank "Wrecker"s hipocracy never ceases to astound me. He has been putting off legitimate debate on this subject for months and is now upset because the Eagle Sanctuary Group outmaneuvered him politically?
Frank, you have been clearly bias on this subject and have not even feigned parciality in your decisions relating to Tract K. Your ego is bruised, nothing more.
If your record of other expenditures is any indication, I would not let you manage the petty cash box at my office.
Who gave this monkey a gun?

ajm3s writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nice! Now this is what I call a discussion. I am waiting for the Council to call the electorate misinformed or just a bunch of rabble rousers, or perhaps it is a fait accompli from some on the Council that the school will be built on Tract K. And the legals suits will engage.

20_Days writes:

This mornings headline was infantile. It is obvious that the writer has forgotten her journalistic values--your job is to report the news--not your opinion.

Mr. Recker's comments are simply astounding. Residents have been unable to speak at council meetings about this issue (except for Mrs. Watt who is not only given the time, but it given it carte blanche). They have been curtly told that it is not appropriate as the land is not city owned. Numerous times a referendum has been called for and it has been denied. When an offer was made by the Sanctuary people to fund it, it was pushed aside rather than
given an ok. So, Mr. Recker why do you now change your tune? Because, there are 4 of you on the MIA's volunteer list and you have obviously had discussions, in other venues, on the topic. So to discuss it at a meeting could possibly be in violation of the Sunshine Laws. Also, as councilors, you are legally required to vote with an unpreudiced viewpoint. By mere fact that you are all volunteers, you cannot honestly vote in that manner. You have a hugh Conflict of Interest. All 4 Councilors should not be allowed to discuss, or vote on any issue related to Tract K in council because of their preconceived and determined plan.

Remember, the City of Marco DOES NOT OWN the property.

The school board has done an outstanding thing, not only for a federally protected species, but for the taxpayers of this city and this county. THey will have a guaranteed income to spend on all students. The future purchase option is legal and common. We will not have to be taxed by the school district for this property's usage. It will be maintained by the Sanctuary and does provide an educational experience for all residents and visitors to Marco.

The eagles and their future generations will live untouched by development and outside disturbances to their way of life. They were here before all os us so they have squatters rights.

The city wins as they do not have to maintain this property and they do not have to tax us for additional monies to either purchase it or police it. Gee, guys, I guess you will have to find another way to pick our pockets?

The MIA is going to have to stop behaving like a 4 year old and stomping their feet and bullying everyone who does not do or agree with them. This is not city property so the school board is free to do what they want. And you can stop with the Deltona vision crap--what about all the other sites that ended up not what was opined for them? Grow up and put your energies to your school. You have a leased site--perhaps in the future it will be amenable to build there. If not, you will find another site and hopefully by then your public persona will be greatly improved.

alanint writes:

Write the editor, Bill Green an email. I friend did to complain about the headline and was told by Green that the headline was his, not Ms. Farrells and he did not find it bias at all. Let him know you feel. This sort of thing needs to be stopped in its tracks;

bdgreen@marconews.com

deltarome writes:

Shame on those on Marco who are using the Eagles to bury their head in the sand. They care nothing about giving island children a decent education. Something they brag that their grandchildren are getting. How selfish. Lely administration is tied up with keeping funding and keeping order, not educating people for this centuries competitive requirements.
Shame on you!

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to deltarome:

Shame on those on Marco who are using the Eagles to bury their head in the sand. They care nothing about giving island children a decent education. Something they brag that their grandchildren are getting. How selfish. Lely administration is tied up with keeping funding and keeping order, not educating people for this centuries competitive requirements.
Shame on you!

Shame on the MIA for trying to maneuver what could have been a good idea to educate our island's and turning it into something far beyond the needs or wants of the majority of this community. If you do not think so, ask for a referendum.

Selfish is not caring about anybody else's life than that of your own. You moved here knowing what was available, so what is the problem? Change things for everyone else to satisfy your own personal needs. Who should be ashamed?

Why are you now talking about Island Children Only? I thought the desire was to bus in another 250 from Lely to fill this "World Class" dream. If island children were your only concern, which now seems the case, then you should have stuck with the "Y" until proving yourself to be equipped to take on expansion.

Tax dollar spending should go to educate everyone living in that taxed area, it should not be funneled to people who think they are more deserving or better than others.

alanint writes:

in response to deltarome:

Shame on those on Marco who are using the Eagles to bury their head in the sand. They care nothing about giving island children a decent education. Something they brag that their grandchildren are getting. How selfish. Lely administration is tied up with keeping funding and keeping order, not educating people for this centuries competitive requirements.
Shame on you!

Island children are already getting a decent education. There are two decent schools here on the island and a decent high school in Naples, for those who don't want to ship their kids off to prep school. Lely is an outstanding school with outstanding programs. It's low test scores reflect the large percentage of students who are not native English speakers. My son attends Lely and most of the students and faculty there are rather tired of MIA and its supporters demonizing the school and its curriculum. The simple fact is that every student will get back commensurate with what they put into school. This includes MIA, if it ever opens. As was pointed out to you previously, MIA is the group who should be ashamed of themselves for trying to bulldoze this project through using arrogance, deception, half-truths and outright lies.
It isn't about the children. It's about Jane Watt's ego and a handful of parent's elitism. If they were so concerned about education, they would have settled at the "Y", started operations, proved themselves, then looked for ways to expand. Demanding Tract K is nothing more than their elitist need to have a prestige address on the island.
Explain this; If hard sciences are at the core of the MIA curriculum, how is it that they just hired a principal whose present position is "special projects coordinator" at a language academy!!!
Don't bother trying to shame us...we know we are right.

Tigertail writes:

in response to alanint:

Island children are already getting a decent education. There are two decent schools here on the island and a decent high school in Naples, for those who don't want to ship their kids off to prep school. Lely is an outstanding school with outstanding programs. It's low test scores reflect the large percentage of students who are not native English speakers. My son attends Lely and most of the students and faculty there are rather tired of MIA and its supporters demonizing the school and its curriculum. The simple fact is that every student will get back commensurate with what they put into school. This includes MIA, if it ever opens. As was pointed out to you previously, MIA is the group who should be ashamed of themselves for trying to bulldoze this project through using arrogance, deception, half-truths and outright lies.
It isn't about the children. It's about Jane Watt's ego and a handful of parent's elitism. If they were so concerned about education, they would have settled at the "Y", started operations, proved themselves, then looked for ways to expand. Demanding Tract K is nothing more than their elitist need to have a prestige address on the island.
Explain this; If hard sciences are at the core of the MIA curriculum, how is it that they just hired a principal whose present position is "special projects coordinator" at a language academy!!!
Don't bother trying to shame us...we know we are right.

Ditto, well said. Shame on you DeltaRome! Let, "We The People", decide what happens to tract k, put it on the ballot, and OUT of Mr. Recker's biased hands!!

Jojo writes:

in response to Marcoptomist:

You've got to be kidding me? Is this a joke? This is about a group of people that bought homes on a "Future School Site" and now suddenly became eagle lovers. How could you buy a home on this property and not know that someday, something was going to be built there, maybe not a school, but, something. Now, faced with the reality that the property behind their homes, may actually be put to it's intended use or something else, they form MESF, and somehow are trying to possibly work out some kind of lease agreement with the District for $30,000 a year? Wow. Has anyone noticed that the eagles are nesting in a "Non-native Australian Pine Tree"? If I pulled a permit to build a home with one of these trees, I would be required to remove all exotics. Ok, so it has a nesting eagle it, great. So when this group pulls a permit to add fencing and pathways, will they have to remove the trees? This has really come down to two things, "the charter school could become an economic threat to Lely High", thus the political backlash from the District and all the red tape they gave the Academy when trying to get a Charter High School approved and secondly,a newly formed group (i.e. MESF), using the eagle as their wedge to create a "green space" in order to save their views in a self serving manner. This is public land with an eagle on it for now. Someday, the eagle will move on or die of old age. Until then, let it be, then put this land to it's intended use of a school. This lease would benefit only a few people as opposed to thousands of young children for years and years to come. Recker is right, "WE all love eagles", but, for God's sake, there are other things, too. Where were these eagle loving people when the proposed solar panels were being discussed? I don't recall anything about the Eagle at that time. Finally, oh the turtles! Does anyone know how many Gopher Tortoise relocate permits have been given over the past 5-10 years or more on Marco Island. At least today, people try to safely relocate the turtles. I'm sure in the old days, they were not moved and construction did not stop. Come on, just move the turtles, give the children of this island a high school, just like their elementary school and middle school. Let future families of Marco have a choice of sending their kids here or to Lely - Personally, I don't care where people want their kids to go to high school, but it should be their choice and for the betterment of the City and it's residents, both present and future, we should have a High School - on the island. There is so much promise in the future of Marco Island having it's very own complete school system. Go Marco Island Discovery Center! Good luck to you and I wish you all the success in the world. Have a great day everyone.

Your information is so incorrect. Why do think the solar panels stopped? Because of the eagles then and now. It didn't matter if it was solar panels, condo, school etc. We do not want this land developed for anything. You must be another one of those MIA eco-sabotagers.

Is_It_True_Partially_True_Or_Not_True (Inactive) writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

If it is worth repeating it must be true.

ajm3s writes:

in response to alanint:

Island children are already getting a decent education. There are two decent schools here on the island and a decent high school in Naples, for those who don't want to ship their kids off to prep school. Lely is an outstanding school with outstanding programs. It's low test scores reflect the large percentage of students who are not native English speakers. My son attends Lely and most of the students and faculty there are rather tired of MIA and its supporters demonizing the school and its curriculum. The simple fact is that every student will get back commensurate with what they put into school. This includes MIA, if it ever opens. As was pointed out to you previously, MIA is the group who should be ashamed of themselves for trying to bulldoze this project through using arrogance, deception, half-truths and outright lies.
It isn't about the children. It's about Jane Watt's ego and a handful of parent's elitism. If they were so concerned about education, they would have settled at the "Y", started operations, proved themselves, then looked for ways to expand. Demanding Tract K is nothing more than their elitist need to have a prestige address on the island.
Explain this; If hard sciences are at the core of the MIA curriculum, how is it that they just hired a principal whose present position is "special projects coordinator" at a language academy!!!
Don't bother trying to shame us...we know we are right.

You may be hitting the core of the MIA when you peel back the PR.

I will say, the MIA folks are free to pursue a Charter School, but it strikes a wee bit "elitist" when we will need to bus in the economically disadvantaged. You know the ones that perhaps represent the 40% or more that never graduate and add to the statistics which paint Lely as a subpar learning center.

Again go to the MIA website, on the home page in the upper right hand corner that reads: "More than 57% of the student population in Collier County School District is categorized as 'Economically Needy'".

How is building a Charter School within the confines of Marco Island going to help this group? Are we going to bus them to Marco Island? Is not that the argument from some as to why they do not want to go to Lely? The bus trip.

I guess a building or site on Rt 951 is not a good location.

Please help me understand the goals of the MIA. The more I read your website, the more I am confused as to your direction.

I am afraid, the more I read the website, and then compare to the uncompromising nature of some MIA's positions, the more I sense an aroma of elitism. Again,the MIA may be a charter school of excellence, but I suspect, if it was up to the folks they would like to see a school that addresses the shortcomings the MIA claims but does not address. And your quote on your home page leads me scratching my head. Are you trying to convince me that you really want to address those that are not graduating in Collier County or from Lely?

Enlighten me. Because I could continue on this vain. The proclamations on your website, are simply beyond comprehension when I look at the decision and selections made to date.

But hey, I accept that I may be misinformed, but based on the information I have read and listened to from the MIA, it seems more about the MIA's kids and not the disadvantaged.

Or perhaps disadvantaged means traveling so long a distance that it is not acceptable to those that live on this island with means that I would say is "economically ADVANTAGED".

I grew up in an economically disadvantaged home, and my skewed life experience respects those charter schools that are created and serve the disadvantaged communities to address those concerns your raise. But continuing on this vane, not all charter schools are created equal. Some start with more funding then others and consequently may serve a special interest that is advantaged vs disadvantaged.

Marco Island is entitled to a charter school, but please remove any claim that it is to address the economically disadvantaged.

ajm3s writes:

Just to continue on my point, I will go on to the next statement of the MIA's home page of the website:

"Our student population will be as diverse as the community in which we live. The Academy will provide a level playing field in education for all students, regardless of their socio-economic background."

Is the community Marco Island or East Naples or somewhere else? Ms. Watt specifically stated to the Marco Island Homeowners' group that the supporting members of the MIA would NOT except a site outside the island.

If that is the case, your quote "....regardless of socio-economic background" takes on a slightly significant meaning. Does it hint of elitism? Because as many on Council have stated publicly, Marco Island is special.

I encourage everyone to read the homepage of the MIA with a discerning eye. I hate the controversy, the bitterness between pro and anti-charter school. But I get outraged when I read this homepage, it strikes so much of elitism and not serving those who need it the most as they claim in the opening salvo.

Am I distorting the picture?

But I felt the same outrage, when I read another controversial topic, the CRA, as presented by a consulting firm hired by the City last year. There seems to be lack of honesty and fairness when proponents do not wish to provide a clear and open message.

In the end, it may be to their demise. I wish it wasn't, because there are merits. However, when the message appears hollow, I can only point to their words, not mine. They establish the message, the goals and objectives and I see shortcomings which diminish their message.

Truth has no agenda, it never had. Can the MIA please help me out on this one? Because you are reminding me of the CRA consultants advising us of all the benefits, but it is the reality that I yearn for. Is your message to help those that are "economically disadvantaged" in Collier County as in your highlighted bullet?

If so, you may have started with misinforming the public at the onset. How is one to gain public support?

All I can say good luck.

ajm3s writes:

To Ocram:

As the self-appointed guardian of "staying on topic", I will defend my previous blogs by simply now asking the folks to go to the Marco Eagle sanctuary site and read their message and hold them accountable.

http://marcoeaglesanctuaryfoundation....

The two sites are quite different, especially with regard to clarity and statement of goals.

How's that for defending my previous, off message rants? Because to your credit, it is nice to stay on topic, especially for folks like me that go all over the place or try to bring in another topic. I try not to but lately, the Marco Island Eagle has been remiss in reporting certain stories, so whenever I can stretch a point to bring it to the fore, I do.

Got to go read the Sun Times (that weekly newspaper) with daily breaking news. As compared to the Eagle, that (don't know the word for a paper that prints three times a week) seems to miss a few stories here and there.

Having fun on Marco. Hope you enjoy. And I miss your occasional levity, which we need now and then. But Messiah, was there in a pinch for humor.

alanint writes:

Don't you get tired of listening to your own babble?

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

ajm,

There is really nothing more to say than thank you for putting into print what needed to be put into print for all to see.

When people examine your points and spend some time thinking clearly they will see that what you say is clearly the truth. Something that needs to be examined by everybody involved.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to alanint:

Don't you get tired of listening to your own babble?

Alanint.

When you have nothing significant to say, it may be better just to hold your tongue.

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