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Broward Charter Schools Closures Reveal Larger Issues

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BROWARD COUNTY (CBSMiami) — The unexpected closing of three Broward County charter schools this week has cast a spotlight on a system that sometimes lacks oversight.

Friday there was chaos in the offices of Eagle Charter and Smart Academy in Lauderdale Lakes as students tried to get their records and figure out their next move.

The schools cited low enrollment for the closure.

On Wednesday another charter school was shuttered in Tamarac.  The Touchdowns 4 Life Charter school also cited low enrollment.

CBS 4 spoke to a former teacher at Touchdowns on Saturday.

Bibiana Ortiz spent 15 years teaching at traditional Broward county public schools and it was her first experience with a charter school.

“I wondered why parents were dropping their kids off when there were only two teachers and three classrooms,” she says.

“The math and history teacher was let go on the ninth day.  The principal was let go and myself and one other teacher were left to carry the whole weight.  They didn’t have p.e. and recess was in the parking lot.  We didn’t have supplies or books and we haven’t gotten paid.”

Ortiz says the owner had good intentions but left everything up to a newly elected board of directors to make sure everything was right.

Meanwhile the parents of children who have been forced to leave their charter schools, now have to find new placements.

Horace and Rose Ghent who have three children in the Lauderdale Lakes charter schools say it’s a heavy burden.  They run their own business and now have the daunting task of placing all three of their children in new schools.

‘We have quite a few decisions to make.  And we have to make sure they are the right fit,” says parent Rose Ghent.

Her son Gregory Williams says he had trouble finding his transcripts and the school lost a record of his service hours.  Now he may have to do them over again.

“Last year a lot of teachers left and they were telling us they were leaving on their own but the the teachers told us they weren’t getting money and they weren’t being paid.

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