Miami-Dade Public Schools: Shenandoah Middle School is poster child for $1.2B bond referendum

Voters to decide Miami-Dade County Public Schools bond issue on November 6 ballot

MIAMI - Shenandoah Middle School, one of the oldest schools in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools district, could benefit from a $1.2 billion bond referendum on the November 6 ballot.

"This is the original room that was here 72 years ago?" asked Local 10's Sasha Andrade.

"Yes, the original room -- used to be an open courtyard," said Humberto Miret, the principal at Shenandoah Middle School.

Miret gave Local 10 a behind-the-scenes tour, complete with smelly bathrooms.

"It's not that they're not cleaning, it's just that there's no air flowing through them," said Miret.

There were also holes in the ceilings throughout the building.

"The problem is we have leaks. Like the other day, after Tropical Storm Isaac, my room was flooded," said Israel Ordonez, a math teacher.

Teachers opt to keep the shades down because the windows are too rusty.

"When you open those windows, what does it look like outside?" asked Andrade.

"Oh, no, you can't open those windows. They'll crumble," said Ordonez.

The building hasn't had a paint job in 20 years.

"You mention the word 'simple' in this school -- it's complicated. Because even to undertake a paint job you have to look at the windows, the windows need to be replaced," said Jaime Torrens, Chief Facilities Officer for Miami-Dade Public Schools.

Torrens said the condition of Shenandoah is unacceptable.

"The windows, the walls, the ceiling, the lighting -- all this needs to be upgraded," said Torrens.

There are 280 schools across the district in need of repairs, said Torrens, but he added that nothing can be done unless voters pass a $1.2 billion bond referendum in November.

"This is a significant amount of money, but we have 45-million square feet in Miami-Dade Public Schools," said Torrens.

Without the money, Torrens said the schools will continue to crumble.

Shenandoah has the fewest computers of any middle school in the district and only a handful of SMART Boards. The middle school has more than 1,000 students.

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