Homeowners in Northeast Miami-Dade want their school board member to pick a side – and stick to it – when it comes to the proposed location for a new high school. But school board member Martin Karp is reluctant to dig in.
At issue: a proposed annex campus to relieve overcrowding at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High in the Aventura area. School district plans call for a new, 500-seat school to be built on the athletic fields at Highland Oaks Middle on busy Ives Dairy Road.
Homeowners fear a new school could make local traffic – already infamously clogged – even worse. There are also worries the annex would impact student diversity and course offerings at Krop, a top high school where 40 percent of students are black, 36 percent are Hispanic and 22 percent are white.
People with those concerns want the annex to be built on the current Krop campus, and the Sky Lake-Highland Lakes Area Homeowners Association recently sent Karp a letter asking him to take a position on the issue by April 20.
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“We are asking for a definitive and declarative statement from Dr. Karp as to where he stands on this proposed project, and we have not received that to date,” said Howard Weiner, who leads a recently-formed homeowners association committee dealing exclusively with the school issue.
Karp recently posted on an online neighborhood messaging board that he’s against the proposed location “at this time in the process.”
“Maybe there’s an option that works for all communities and, academically, stands strong,” Karp told the Miami Herald. “I’m waiting to see what the staff and superintendent come back with.”
That’s not good enough for the homeowners association.
“It’s not strong enough because he stated ‘at this point in the process’... but that leaves him an opportunity to change his mind,” Weiner said.
Karp stressed that there are also families who support the Highland Oaks campus location – and he represents them, too. He also said it is “premature” to commit to a position until the district completes its traffic studies and weighs the academic impacts of building the new school, which will be modeled after the superintendent’s own high-tech high school called iPrep.
School district spokeswoman Daisy Gonzalez-Diego said the facilities department is studying "all possible options" when it comes to the school site, and officials hope to have their analysis done by mid-April.
Even if he were to pick a side, it's not clear Karp would have much sway over the final decision. That rests with school district administrators, according to Gonzalez-Diego