MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Parents near Golden Glades Elementary School in Miami Gardens are furious to learn their children may be transferred to another school.
The proposal is part of Miami-Dade County Public Schools' annual district-wide review of school attendance and boundaries.
"Why the hell would they close a good school down?" asked longtime resident Ruthena Cromer, who said she is among four generations of her family who attended Golden Glades Elementary. Her grandchildren are currently enrolled.
The anger and questions started spreading in the days after a Jan. 29 meeting at the school, where school district representatives informed parents and teachers about proposed boundary changes and possible transfers.
"To me, they weren't expecting that many parents in the community to come out," said parent Sian Clemons, who attended the meeting. "The questions they were asking were like, 'Uh, we don't have the answer right now.'''
According to statistics posted on the Miami-Dade Public Schools website, Golden Glades Elementary is at 56 percent capacity. The proposed plan, which many parents oppose, would transfer its population of kindergarten to fifth-grade students to Myrtle Grove K-8 Center about a mile away. Myrtle Grove is currently at 68 percent capacity.
"I would not be sending my kids to Myrtle Grove," said Eva Lanier, whose children attend kindergarten and first grade at Golden Glades.
Parent Jasmine Henry said she doubts students will get the individual attention at another school that they receive at their neighborhood Golden Glades Elementary.
"This is like family," said Henry. "They really care who comes and picks up your child and who is not picking up their kids."
The outcry brought school board member Steve Gallon to the school Friday afternoon. He told parents he hears their fears about having no effect on the district administration decisions.
"The possible closure of any school, that's the last option," said Gallon. "I'm very proud of the parents who have come out and support the neighborhood school, and we want to support them."
Gallon said the district is ensuring the district reviews the parents' feedback as this process moves forward.
District-wide, Miami-Dade County school boundary decisions are expected next month.
Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie has already declared no boundary changes for the 2018-19 school year.