Culture of Complacency Continues at St Lucie School Board
In the midst of double digit tax increases and millions of dollars in failed and failing investment we look for bright spots in the community. One of those bright spots is St Lucie County’s only charter high school which happens also to be Port St Lucie’s only A rated high school.
Somerset College Preparatory Academy Charter High School (formerly College Preparatory Academy of the Treasure Coast) is a great school with great rankings and has shown great improvement since it opened its doors. The teachers are excited to work there, the students are excited about learning, and the parents are excited there is finally some school choice for high school.
Unfortunately there are those in this county that feel differently about a successful school. They are the elected members of the school board and our new school superintendent, who is elected by the board members.
Here are their names because these people should be known to every tax paying citizen of this county and beyond. Their names should be synonymous with placing the wants of special interest groups over the needs of our children and our community. These are the names that for too many years have been complacent about our county always ranking in the lowest third of the state in education no matter how many of your tax dollars are given to them.
Donna Mills, Kathryn Hensley, Carol Hilson, Debbie Hawley, Troy Ingersoll
Superintendent – Wayne Gent
Remember these names. Your votes put them in office; your votes can remove them.
What’s at stake?
After four successful years Somerset Prep is looking to expand. They are looking to break ground on their own facility and add a middle school. Anyone who cares about the county, the city of PSL and the children should be thrilled at the prospect of not just another charter school but one that improves year over year in every grading category. Then why is the school board going to deny Somerset the ability to expand? Simple, a monopoly always tries to enforce its monopoly.
With a monopoly you do not get innovation; you do not get healthy competition; you do not get lower costs. With a monopoly you get a bloated bureaucracy whose only goal is to grow the bureaucracy. The quality of the product (in this case education) is meaningless. Your children are held captive to the system.
After reviewing the plans for Somerset Prep’s new facility and expansion the school board had a list of demands. Somerset Prep, led by Principal Erika Rains, made the changes, fulfilled all of the requirements that the school board requested. The result, application denied. School expansion denied. Quality education in St Lucie County and Port St Lucie denied. Children’s futures DENIED.
The board never had any intention of allowing Somerset Prep to expand. It was all a delay tactic to cost the school more money and push back any ground breaking to where they couldn’t get a facility open in time for the next school year. Not opening on time and having a building sit empty for a year waiting on the next school year could make the project economically unfeasible.
Throughout the country we see this played over and over again by school board after school board. There seems to be a war against charter schools. What is the reason for this war? Charter schools make the public schools look bad. Charter schools highlight the inefficiency of public schools by operating with only 75-80% of the per student funding while producing an overall better product.
The board is acting in a deceitful and unethical way. They do so because they know that no one takes notice.
This time they’re wrong.
This situation will continue until citizens stand up and say ‘No More’. It is time to draw a line in the sand and stand up for your community and stand up for your children and grandchildren. Everyone has a stake in this fight. Better schools mean higher property values, desirable communities, better places to work and higher wages.
I am asking you, urging you, begging you to show up and make your collective voices heard. Pass this around and bring a friend. Government belongs to those who show up. Place it back into the hands of the citizens where it belongs.
Where and When:
St Lucie County Public Schools
4204 Okeechobee Blvd, Fort Pierce
Tuesday, September 22 at 5PM
You might also like to tell them personally how you feel.
Superintendent – Wayne Gent (772) 429-3925
Members of the Board 772-429-3914
Donna Mills firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathryn Hensley email@example.com
Debbie Hawley firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol A. Hilson email@example.com
Troy Ingersoll firstname.lastname@example.org