Today at 1PM the Lee County School Board will review three options regarding the Beach School (see below). The public is invited to attend to speak at public comment before the board reviews the three options. A final vote on what will happen to the school will take place next month.
Hurricane Ian ripped through Fort Myers Beach and severely damaged the school. The School District has been slow to clean the school and many on the island believe the district is using the storm as an excuse to close the facility, which they say costs over $21,000 per student to operate because of the low enrollment numbers.
Members of the ad-hoc committee put together a plan to increase enrollment, which includes employees of resorts when they open, recruiting students who live off the island and creating a magnet school with specialty curriculum. Here’s a chart of how the committee sees the enrollment growing.
They say when that enrollment plan is increased.
Enrollment at the Beach School has been trending down since 2004. The school board vote will most likely come down to whether members believe enrollment will increase in the next 3 to 5 years. Of course, a deserted island due to a catastrophic hurricane does not work in the favor of the beach parents right now.
The School Board will hear public comment and review the options below on February 22nd. They will pick one of the three at a meeting in March. For now, and the foreseeable future, beach kids will be bused off the island to San Carlos Elementary.
Watch the episode with John Koss and Monica Schmucker HERE.
Here’s how you can contact lee County School Board members directly:
Armor Persons, District 5 (Chair)
Samuel Fisher, District 1 (Vice Chair)
Melisa W. Giovannelli, District 2
Chris N. Patricca, District 3 (includes Fort Myers Beach)
Debbie Jordan, District 4
Jada Langford Fleming, District 6
Cathleen O’Daniel Morgan, District 7
Here are the three options the school board will consider.