Public education is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. The education of our children is critical to a productive society now and in the future. An educated society is an engaged society. Not only is it important to have high quality teachers at our public schools, but it is just as important to have involved parents.
As a former PTA president at Addison Mizner Elementary, when my children were younger, I received firsthand experience working with parents who are committed to ensuring their children are provided an excellent education. As a PTA organization, we worked with the Palm Beach County School District and the Boca Raton City Council to add additional classrooms to the Addison Mizner Elementary school campus to ensure the school would be in compliance with the newly passed class size amendment.
Today’s teachers have a lot of pressure placed on them because of school grades and standardized testing requirements. There aren’t always enough hours in the day to get everything done, so they will recruit help from parents. Parents can do more than just plan classroom parties, they can also help out in the classroom as volunteers when teachers need a few extra hands to get the work done. Parents are also key to organizing and assisting with extracurricular activities, i.e. band parents, field trip chaperones, fundraising planning.
Another key component to an excellent education is communication between parents and teachers. This is vital to ensure a student is learning and to inform parents of any issues that may arise. Constant two-way communication between parent and teacher will help ensure a student is successful by quickly addressing any learning issues that may arise.
Right now, overcrowding in Boca Raton schools is a major issue. I believe there are several causes of the overcrowding:
- A-rated, popular Boca Raton schools
- Demographic changes in Boca Raton
Today, when a developer proposes additional housing, whether it is single family homes or multi-unit housing, the school district requires the developer to submit information to the school district. The school district then determines how many additional students will be added to the local schools and calculates a dollar figure, paid by the developer to the school district, to handle the additional students. There are several outstanding questions about the monies that developers are paying to the school district.
- Is the money being paid by Boca Raton developers staying in Boca Raton to help Boca Raton schools?
- Are the calculated dollar figures enough to cover actual costs?
- Who is accountable to keep track of how much money is being paid by Boca Raton developers?
The residents of Boca Raton deserve answers to all of these questions, as soon as possible.
As the Palm Beach County School District and the Boca Raton City Council wrestle with how to address the current overcrowding situation in Boca Raton schools, current and future parents of Boca Raton students must express their opinion to these two bodies on how to deal with the overcrowding. Involved parents can absolutely influence the final solution to the overcrowding problem.
The email addresses for the Boca Raton City Council are:
- Mayor Susan Haynie –firstname.lastname@example.org
- Deputy Mayor Jeremy Rodgers –email@example.com
- Councilman Robert Weinroth –firstname.lastname@example.org
- CRA Chair/Councilman Scott Singer –email@example.com
- Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke –firstname.lastname@example.org
The Boca Raton representative on the Palm Beach County School District is Frank Barbieri. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
In the end, the correct solution must provide the best learning environment for current and future Boca Raton students at the elementary, middle and high school levels.