Near LeJeune Road and Flagler Street, Kinloch Park Elementary has long served students whose immigrant families are searching for the American Dream.
A traditional public school, Kinloch focuses on the basics, helping its 835 students, from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade, increase their problem-solving skills and critical thinking.
Despite the odds of poverty and instability — 90 percent of Kinloch students are eligible for free or reduced lunch — Kinloch’s third-graders scored on par with Florida students in the math portion of the FCAT in 2011 and slightly behind the statewide score in reading, an indication that many of its students are learning English for the first time.
Over the years the boxy school has fallen into disrepair. An old air-conditioning system leaks into classrooms, where buckets pick up the water, paint is peeling throughout and some rooms are musty with foul air.
A Health Department inspection this summer found ventilation needed to be fixed in a boys’ bathroom and an overflowing toilet.
In the 1990s, Miami-Dade Public Schools were focused on building new schools in the suburbs, in a program that used bonds to pay for construction, as more families moved outside city limits. Now county voters have the opportunity to help revamp plumbing, electrical systems and air conditioning at 260 schools, many of them 50 years old or more and closer to the urban core where more families are moving.
Kinloch’s students deserve to study in a school where buckets are used to clean the floors when students are gone for the day — not to pick up dripping water in their classrooms while they try to learn.