Cracks have begun to appear in Parkland’s partnership with the Broward County School Board for the construction of modular classrooms at Heron Heights and Park Trails elementary schools.
With the school board failing to honor its promise that it would build seven classrooms in schools within the city by August this year, the city has threatened to back out of the agreement if the modulars are not ready for use before the start of the 2016-2017 school year.
According to the amended agreement that was approved by the city commission, the School Board will build the facilities before July 2016.
It was Commissioner Dave Rosenof who suggested that the city include a provision in the new contract that it could terminate the agreement with the School Board if the project gets delayed further. The rest of the city officials were also for it.
“We are concerned,” said Vice Mayor Stacy Kagan. “We are a little nervous with all the changes. How realistic are the new dates?”
“If you don’t do this, we want our money back is basically what it boils down to,” said Mayor Michael Udine.
“The city’s obligation was to come up with the money, which we did. The School Board’s obligation was to construct, maintain and staff the modulars… The city provided all the money that was due in a timely manner.”
The School Board had issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the construction of the modulars in October last year. When that proved unsuccessful, it issued another RFP. When that proved futile, as well, a third RFP was issued.
“I want to work as a partner with the School Board to get this done for our children,” Udine said.
“In reality, we don’t build schools; we come up with money to help build schools. There has got to be a better job done on this. This was really something that needed to be done last year. This was something that was planned by the City Commission 18 months ago.”
The initial plan was to build eight modulars with the $2 million given by the city, with the School Board deciding where the classrooms would be located. The number was later reduced to seven, with Heron Heights getting four classrooms and Park Trails the rest.
At one point, there was talk that only six classrooms would be built.
“Are we done now with reducing the number of the modulars,” said Commissioner Christine Hunschofsky.
“Will it be seven? Originally, it was supposed to be eight modulars. In March, it came down to six. Are you certain it will be the seven modulars?”
Leslie Brown, the School Board’s chief portfolio services officer, said the RFP was for the construction of seven classrooms.
A playground at Heron Heights would have to be relocated, as the plan is to build the new facilities closer to the existing school building than was originally proposed. The school wouldn’t have to pay for the relocation of the playground, she added.
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