The Greater Downtown has a 92,000+ population, of which some 14,000 are school-age kids. The Downtown Proper, north of the Miami River to the Omni District, and westwards from Biscayne Bay to North Miami Avenue — roughly the original city of Miami — accounts for one-third. Yet, the Downtown Proper lacks adequate schools.
Downtown doesn’t have enough quality schools to accommodate our children. The City, the community and parents must work together to create an adequate educational infrastructure, including charters.
Two measures will help us move forward. First, we must demand a partnership between the City and Miami Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) to ensure collaboration and availability of resources. Secondly, we need to revive the City’s Education Committee to provide citizens with an ongoing platform for improving education throughout our City.
In the short term, plans to expand Southside Elementary with a secondary school campus that includes workforce/affordable-housing need to be implemented. Additionally, MDCPS’ negotiations around monetizing its properties to fund an expansion of I-Prep must be completed and we need to ensure that plans include a significant number of designated seats for Downtown residents.
In the medium-term, as Downtown expands westward, fragile schools in surrounding neighborhoods need upgrading.
Long term, we should have a new public neighborhood school (PK-12) within the Park West/Central Business District area, for which the County has to make a site and funding available.
As residents and taxpayers, we are entitled to quality public school options in our downtown neighborhood. My family is not alone, downtown accounts for 8 thousand families. City officials do the numbers: To retain these families and the tax-base they represent schools have to be a priority!
Joy Prevor chairs the DNA Education Committee.