Immokalee School district breaking away from Collier County?
The problems inside the Collier County School District are proving to be the last straw for some educators and leaders in Immokalee. ABC7 uncovered a new plan for Immokalee to disband from the district and essentially become its own mini-district.
Teachers and community leaders in Immokalee say they're fed up with what's going on within the Collier district and will do what they need to do for their students.
"There already is serious momentum," said educator and community activist Tari Harris.
Like Harris, teachers and community leaders say it may be best for all five public schools there to break-away from the district and the school board, and run Immokalee schools under its own administration.
"Maybe if it's going to be to the advantage of our children, let's look at it," said community leader Dick Rice.
Organizers say ongoing funding and curriculum issues that the district continues to ignore are the reasons for the proposal.
"There are several issues that we have been concerned about for several years. This is not something new," said Harris.
Harris says under the No Child Left Behind Act, there is wording that allows a group of schools to break-away from a district if that community wants to do so.
The plan would essentially mean self-rule. Immokalee leaders would have to find their own school board - likely made of educators from local universities.
"They'll decide what they really want to do. This is one option that's readily available," said Harris.
As for funding, Immokalee tax dollars would stay in Immokalee and so would its portion of federal funds.
At least three Collier School Board members say the plan may be a bit premature. They say Immokalee schools are looking better, test scores are on the rise, and that Immokalee is on their radar.
"If she's concerned about school board governance, then that's something we will have to work through," said Collier County School Board member Pat Carroll. "I would miss them terribly."
Organizers say they're modeling their plan after plans in Miami-Dade and San Diego counties where this sort of thing has happened before.
As for what's next, the group will be finding out what the public thinks, hiring an attorney, and writing letters to state officials and local universities telling them what may be happening.