Boca Raton Education Task Force- Where are You and What are You Doing?

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Have you met yet? Are you going to publish a meeting schedule ? Have you put together a plan for Addison Mizner, Boca High, Verde, and the other Boca schools? Are you going to expand to a second group of 7 concerned residents to help provide solutions as recommended by Councilman Singer? Are you going to expand your mission to include school safety in light of the Parkland tragedy ?

Can you answer these questions with either a statement or a presentation to the city council. The residents are concerned especially regarding school safety that nothing is being done.

I have given you a head start. I have read the 288 page Board of Education 2018 budget along with last 5 budgets. I have determined that there are huge process breakdowns that are costing us millions . Boca residents are getting screwed big time!!!

In my attached video this week I have compared 2 SCAD reports which stand for School Capacity Availability Determination. This info flows into the FISH reports which stands for Florida Inventory School Houses. And this info is used to come up with BOE 10 year construction plan . It is seriously flawed in Boca’s case.

Have you examined the over 100 Boca SCAD past, present, and future reports which are absurd in almost all cases ? Have you come up with a plan to fix ?

Did you watch the Feb 26th CRA meeting where the 475 project off Palmetto was discussed ? The first SCAD report recommended $142k to be donated to the BOE for the students coming out of the 48 multi- family condos. Than without any reason it was reduced to $17k. Are you watching this developer rip off? The most alarming statement was made by Mr Barberi when asked about this issue. He said “I don’t quite understand the board’s methodology(how or why this happened) and I will get someone to explain it”. He represents Boca district 5 on the school board and he doesn’t know what is going on. We know all about this scam. The developers are saving millions and nobody cares or is watching yet Boca is facing a building school crisis because of overdevelopment.

I have a deep respect for Mr Barberi. He is a concerned grandparent. His grand children are in Boca schools. He has brought Ms Garrison and Ms Paul, key board executives, several times to Boca meetings to explain what is going on. He did an excellent job bringing us up to date as to actions taken after the Parkland tragedy. I respect his efforts.

Finally, the city council came up with a great idea. They passed a resolution to keep the developers SCAD dollars instead of sending to the BOE where we know it will never come back but will be used to build schools elsewhere. These dollars will be used to help Boca schools. At the same time we should put together our own methodology to determine those SCAD dollars. Instead of $17k maybe $170k for the 475 project on Palmetto.

Now how do we spend these millions that the developers have saved with this conspiracy?

To me a no brainer. SCHOOL SAFETY.

Two days after 9/11 I attempted to enter the Boca Jewish Community Center where I have been a member for over 20 years. They didn’t wait for a task force to discuss what is needed. They had the tightest security possible and they still do. THEY ARE PROTECTING THE KIDS. And what are we doing? Another task force???? They have their own private security that are well armed and motivated to protect their kids.

All the ideas regarding school safety are good but lets face reality; it is about money and resources. Mr Barberi talked about the 150 highly trained Board of Education officers but there are 187 schools in the county. We simply can’t depend on them as part of a long term solution. Boca police right now would be stretched very thin until and if they hired at least 20 more officers to assign to the schools. Mr Barberi talked about Federal and State dollars. We simply can’t count on those dollars Mr Barberi. We need solutions now.

My solution is simple. We contact private security firms today to come in with bids to provide 20,at least, highly trained , motivated , and paid to protect out kids while they are in our 11 schools. We supplement them with Boca police presently and with the 10 ,at least, new hires that the city, I assume, will hire to permanently be present in our schools for a total of 30. This would be a long term solution as I see it.

We simply can not depend on outsiders to provide dollars or resources to protect out kids. It is our job. There are members on this city council that will say “There is no money and/or not our job”. I disagree.

We pay for this security from multiple Boca sources. I estimate a high of $50k a year for a security guard and at 20, to start, that is only $1 million a year.

The first source is the millions collected for the first time from developers that have been shorting the schools in above described SCAD reports. The second is the money from the 1 cent sales tax that is owed to us. I estimate that Boca contribution is over $5 million a year. The third is from the Boca reserve fund of close to $300 million that has been quietly collected for a new city campus. The fourth is the $45 million profit from the sale of the Boca Muni golf course. Education Task Force are you reading this? This is absurd to say there is no money.
At the next city council meeting the city needs to direct city staff to put out for bid to security firms. Second, hire 10 more policeman asap. Or do they want to study and talk about this for another year.

I decided to do my own research so I contacted a security consultant in New York and they told me that we have one of the top school security firms in the country right in our area. I contacted APB Security in Jupitor,Fl. They told me that they could have 20 armed guards in our schools in 2 weeks and it would cost a lot less than hiring 20 new Boca police officers. They are ex military type . Google www.APBSecurity.com and see for your self. Go to Institutional College Campuses.

Over crowding is an issue but safety and protecting our 10,000 Boca kids is very serious. If anyone on this council hesitates they need to leave. We need leaders on this council and we got 2 that are running for election next week. Kim Do and Monica Mayette. We all know their major concern are Boca kids. We need to join them .

Vote March 13th. Please pass my note to your family and friends.

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Born and raised in Chicago and a graduate of Loyola University. I went on to study at Chicago Kent Law, part of Illinois Institute of Technology, but stopped short to serve in the US Army for 3 years. Moved to Boca Raton with my family 35 years ago and began a 32 year career with IBM as Sales Executive and Business Director Manager with the Manufacturing Technology Center - now the Don Estridge School. Volunteering is in my blood, I especially enjoy working to raise money for children with special needs at the Jewish Community Center and look back fondly on the years spent coaching soccer and supporting Boca Jets football. My two children attended Addison Mizner, St Andrew's, Boca High, and are both graduates of University of Florida. If I sound like a fighter I am, beat cancer three times and I support all survivors who face that same challenge.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Jack , on behalf of parenst with students in the Boca school system ,you are our hero !!!
    I agree with everything you said, the money is there and it’s unfortunate that 4 out of the five Council members do not seem to care about any of the school issues. This is why it’s crucial that Monica and Kim get elected so they can get started day one on implementing everything you spoke about.

    • Chris, I am not a hero. I am a grand parent and a nobody that is scared for 10k boca kids. Expecting teachers to be armed is stupid. They teach and we provide protection for the kids and them . Boca police have a tough job being assigned to the schools since being asked to be peace makers , breaking up fights, and many other assignments. that have nothing to do with a madman with a AR 15. All they have is a sidearm. They are human also. Fear,confusion sets in. They have only seconds to respond if they are even remotely close to the shooter. We can train all we want but it doesn’t solve the problem with an active shooter on a campus. I was told only one solution. Each employee has on their desk a red button when pushed goes to every guard in the school that there is a shooter and they have access to their own AR 15’s for confrontation. Review Israel’s security measures. We need private security ex military guards on all of boca campuses to be able to react in seconds. Chris, we need to flood the next council and ask them what are their plans. They are hoping this issue will go away or say ” Go talk to the School Board”. The kids rallied big time and are the parents to lazy to get involved. . .

  2. One of the biggest items in our tax bill is for the school district. It would not bother me if 100 percent of this tax money was managed by our own city school district. Is it possible to drop out of the county district and run our own? We’d have a lot more money and we’d have home rule in this very important area.

    • Joe, it doesn’t make sense to go to home rule. Actually, the Palm Beach Cty Bd of Ed is doing an ok job. Boca has 9 A schools and 2 B schools. For 9 schools they spent $63m for teachers, schools, etc and $32m for admin,buses,and 100 other things for just boca benefits. . This means they are top heavy in admin,etc. Not smart enough to throw stones. But what concerns me is there so called police force. There numbers are huge.. They claim they have 150 officers that guard 187schools. I don’t believe it. Based on budget numbers there should be over 500 officers. Doesn’t add up. Now how are they going to protect boca kids. They can’t. It is up to boca police and not right. In support of your view we could save miilions in boca alone if the county eliminated the Bd of Ed police force which I believe is right. We want to start a movement to get rid of BOE police force. If they can’t protect our kids we don’t need them. My sources tell me they are useless in trying to protect 187 schools. We need private guards with AR 15’s walking our boca school halls. And they refuse to hire guards . Boca needs to get angry and hire our own and send the bill to the BD of Ed. .Instead of sending $144m to the BOE maybe only $130m and save $14 m in Boa property taxes. Broward got rid of their BOE police force for this reason. Wise up boca parents and grand parents. .

  3. Excellent article Jack, thank you for making schools ‘THE’ issue in next week’s election. I like Joe’s suggestion too of keeping Boca money in Boca. Sending all our schools tax dollars to the county sure makes elected officials up there look good. We have to be mindful that we also elect a Commissioner who represents our ideals and vision.
    But first let’s get Monica and Kim on our City Council! Vote March 13th.

  4. Chris and Katie, I just got an email from a VA coordinator who told me that they estimate that there are over 500 ex Iraq and Afganistan combat veterans ,I can’t spell, veterans whom are homeless or would love to get jobs as guards in Palm Beach county. Local security companies can hire and train them on school security and we have a ready dedicated force. They would be contractors hired by Boca and not School Board employees who could be transferred to other schools based on politics. In my article I mentioned a security firm in jupitor and they have been told that all bids or contracts have to come thru them. I say bullshit . There are 187schools in the county .. I care about our 10,546 kids . We need to do something now. In the next city council meeting we will find out how many lazy parents are out there that don’t care expecting the city to protect their kids.

  5. Jack I’m with you, a win win ! Put veterans to work and our children will be protected by the best of the best.

  6. The New Education Task Force is having their first meeting,Thursday March 15th, 6pm at the Community Center-Annex. the public is welcome to attend.

    ALSO…I would like to share action from the parents and school regarding school security and more…
    The parents immediately acted. I accompanied two passionate parents visit Principal Slack at Boca Raton Middle just days after the massacre. They followed up with a meeting at the school where the Sargent from the School District Police spoke to parents . Frank Barbieri and I were both there. The Principal was very receptive. I belive the same took place at Addison Mizner.

    I also brought Denis Estimon who created http://www.wedinetogether.org at Boca High. He is now involved with a more comprehensive program for children of all ages called http://www.bestrong.global. And he brought their Exec Director Ashleigh Cromer. This helps children deal from within the schools. I have invited her to share details of their program at an upcoming City Council meeting. There is action! Please be positive and supportive. The schools are not the jurisdiction of the city but I am helping, and the parents and students are helping. There is a March being organized on March 24th from City Hall to Mizner Park. If you have questions regarding forward movement contact Kim Bremer or Luke Sherlock at parentsafetycoalition@gmail.com

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