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High School Facing High-Dollar Fines For Tree Massacre

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – An uprooted Mahogany tree laying in front of Ft.Lauderdale High School in Ft.Lauderdale’s Middle River Terrace Neighborhood is standing in the middle of a slight controversy between the city and the Broward School District.

Ft.Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler says the District cut down about one dozen trees without the city’s consent. “I think the right thing to do would’ve been to come to the city and come to the community and say we want to move these trees.”

Mayor Seiler says he’s frustrated with the decision because the city would’ve relocated the trees.

In a letter to the Broward Schools’ Superintendent, theFt.Lauderdalecity manager said the move was in specific violation of the city’s code ordinances.

If the district is found to be in violation, they could be fined up to $15,000 for each tree that was cut down.

Residents like Rick Matheny don’t think the school district should be fined.

“It’s a great school and I’d just feel bad if they’re getting charged this because the kids are already knocking on doors to buy band equipment and stuff like that.”

“I think huge fines place on the education system at this point, when we’re trying to revamp our education system for punitive actions, is not the thing to do,” said Ft. Lauderdale Resident Jonathan Wright.

Ultimately, Mayor Seiler agrees. He says hefty fines are normally reserved for repeat offenders.

“What we’re hoping is that whatever is brought in to replace those trees are bigger and better and as mature. That would be more important to me than dollars out of the Broward County School Board.”

The Broward School District released this statement:

The School District’s legal staff is currently evaluating the city of Fort Lauderdale’s violation notice. The District has been working with officials at Broward County’s Department of Environmental Protection on project plans for Fort Lauderdale High School as required by the county’s code of ordinances.  

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