Special needs school closure recommended in Broward

Superintendent Robert Runcie announces plan

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. - The Broward County Public Schools superintendent recommended Thursday that one of two special needs schools will close at the end of the school year.

At Sunset School in Fort Lauderdale, parents were visibly upset when Superintendent Robert Runcie announced the center would close.

According to the plan, students would be funneled to two other special needs schools next year: Cross Creek in Pompano Beach and Whispering Pines in Miramar.

"I'm very upset. This decision is going to literally destroy the lives of hundreds of children," said parent Vicki Perdue.

An hour later, at a meeting at Wingate Oaks, Runcie told the crowd that most students could remain there next year. The auditorium erupted in applause.

Not everything at Wingate Oaks will be status quo, though. Adult students and their teachers will relocate to another center. And the school will no longer accept new enrollments.

"That means the school will die a slow death," said parent Daniel Martinez.

Runcie said the status of the school will be re-evaluated as the changes happen. Its long-term future is up in the air.

Wingate parent Michelle Johnson said she will fight to keep the school open for her daughter, Davita, who has Cerebral Palsy.

"If another fight is necessary then we'll continue to fight for the benefit of our children," Johnson said.

Runcie has said the changes are an efficiency measure. Both schools, which serve fewer than 200 students combined, are under-enrolled.

Copyright 2013 by Local10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.