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First findings from city’s Education Task Force

They weren’t allowed to talk to school principals and had to rely on the data provided.  And for the first time since they were formed more than a year ago, the Education Task Force issued findings to the city council.

Meeting with principals “would have been beneficial, but the [school] district supplied us with a lot of data,” chairwoman Yvette Drucker said Monday. “Our goal is to work with the district.”

The task force was formed to address overcrowding, construction, and renovations in nine city public schools. But since the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shootings, parents are most concerned about school security, Drucker said.

Here’s what the task force found:

  • Some schools are raising money on their own for enhanced security. Calusa Elementary has formed a safety coalition.
  • Cafeteria capacity: Many schools are at capacity and children are eating lunch very early or very late in the afternoon.
  • Construction will help the overcrowding. Six schools have planned additional capacity in the next five years.

They are Addison Mizner, 1,177 and Verde Elementary 1,353. Both schools are being rebuilt as pre-K to eighth grade.  Calusa Elementary, 132; Olympic Heights High, 175, and Spanish River High, 632, modular additions

  • Boundary enforcement. Verifying students live in the school’s boundary has helped but that has to be an ongoing process. Calusa Elementary and Boca Raton High School were cited. Boca High no longer allows students to apply for academies, the report said.
  • Single-family homes in city limits are the main driver of the student population.
  • Students who live outside Boca didn’t affect overcrowding since some go to choice programs at schools like Don Estridge High Tech Middle School.

By Marci Shatzman

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