MIAMI (CBS4) – A South Miami-Dade charter school that outraged parents after it was linked to boozy after-hours parties appears to be headed to closure, after the Dade School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to shut the Balere Language Academy down.
The action is not final, as the financially troubled school could still take an appeal to the Florida Board of Education, but Wednesday the school’s attorney couldn’t say if that will happen.
Balere officials and students were in the auditorium as school board members voted unanimously to shut their school down, but were unable to speak because there was no public hearing on the vote,
The little known school near South Miami Heights stunned parents after they learned that adult parties had apparently been held at school facilities long after students had left for the day.
One such party from Saturday, August 6th titled “Lexus Dave Video Bash” is featured on YouTube and shows young men and women at the festive event. The address of that party is listed as the same location as the Balere Language Academy at 10875 Quail Roost Drive, a school for children from kindergarten through 8th grade.
Neighbors complained to the Miami-Dade school district that this was one of two such parties at the school earlier in 2011.
One flyer shows a woman in a bikini with champagne bottles. Another shows a bikini-clad woman in a suggestive pose by a smiling man wearing expensive jewelry and sitting by a pile of cash.
Parents complained to the school district about empty beer bottles and lingering smoke from the parties.
The school district sent the school a letter, calling attention to the flyers and warning that students should never be exposed to alcohol and tobacco. A letter from Deputy Superintendent Freddie Woodson said parents and concerned citizens had expressed concern that some school children were exposed to the parties.
School officials promised a full investigation, and as their probe continued, the school sank into debt and it’s facilities on SW184th street were placed under foreclosure.
School officials denied the parties were taking place, and lobbied to keep the school open. While school board officials noted Balere had raised it’s state letter grade from F to A in the course of a year, other problems led to the decision to close the school.
The board did not discuss the school before taking the vote.
Taxpayer dollars help fund charter schools, but they are run by private or nonprofit boards independent of the school district.