The legendary activist Georgia Jones-Ayers grew up in Allapattah when it was a segregated neighborhood for black railroad workers like her dad.
She went on to work for her community, launching The Alternative Program along with Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Tom Petersen to offer first-time offenders job training and schooling instead of jail time.
Now, Ayers’ mark on Allapattah may become more tangible. The Miami-Dade County School Board will vote Wednesday on a proposal to rename Allapattah Middle after the late community leader, who died in February at age 86.
“Doing this for Georgia is just the best thing that we could possibly think to do in light of all the work she has done for the community,” said Kenneth Kilpatrick, executive director of The Alternative Program (TAP) — which will also be renamed in Ayers’ honor.
Though she is most known for her work with TAP, Ayers was also involved in education issues with branches of her program on some school campuses. She volunteered as a PTA member for years, Kilpatrick said.
School board member Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall called Ayers a mentor to many troubled children.
“She was one person that, if a parent had difficulty with a child, she would be able to intervene and get that child on the right track,” Bendross-Mindingall said.
In other business, the school board on Wednesday will cast a final vote on a controversial school boundary issue in Coral Gables.
The city and some parents asked the school district to do away with a lottery system and instead draw regular attendance boundaries for three elementary schools in Coral Gables: George Washington Carver, Coral Gables Preparatory Academy and Sunset.
The lottery system, called “controlled choice,” originally started as a way to racially integrate schools.
Under the proposal to be taken up Wednesday, the school district would implement regular attendance boundaries for the three schools on a temporary basis. The impact of the changes would be studied after two years, when board members could decide to make the attendance boundaries permanent.
Samuel Joseph, a resident who headed a citizens’ group opposed to controlled choice, called the proposal a fair compromise.
“Moving forward, we will have less confusion, more predictability,” he said.
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