Summary of Oct. 4 Town Council decisions

Thursday, October 19, 2017 0 Comments

Barbara Goleman High School is bringing the 22nd and 23rd century to Miami Lakes in 2018-2019, when the school ushers in a new Mega Magnet program, which is aimed at enhancing the quality of education for students in an effort to help them stay consistent with the national standards of learning.

Unlike a traditional Magnet program, the Mega Magnet program teaches more than a set of skills, as students have a new way of looking at the work in a creative place where students feel safe and are enthusiastic about learning and participating in school activities. 

During the October 4 Miami Lakes Town Council meeting, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Board member Perla Tabares-Hantman made the announcement about the program that she has been trying to launch for years.

She said a $15 million federal grant over the next five years allows the school district to enhance education opportunities for students at the highest levels of academic achievement with Goleman leading the way with the Mega Magnet program.

“I’m very excited about this,” she told council members. “It took a while but we finally got it.”
Coral Reef High has been the only school in Miami-Dade with a Mega Magnet program, according to Miami-Dade Public Schools.

Goleman principal Joaquin Hernandez said the Mega Magnet school offers eight different programs including digital marketing, financial issues, enhancement of AP courses and Cyber Security.

“We are bringing the 22nd and 23rd century to Goleman High School,” Hernandez said. “In my 30 years in education, this program is the biggest thing to happen in my life.”

The program is currently in the development and planning stages and will accept students commencing in the 2018-2019 school year.

Council members praised the new program, indicating the new Mega Magnet program places the town at the pinnacle of education.

Councilmember Marilyn Ruano, a strong advocate for education whose son attends Goleman, said placing the Mega Magnet program at the school was the best choice.

“With the number of schools you could’ve chosen, you picked Goleman and I thank you for choosing us,” she said. “I can attest to the hard work they do at the school and we will work even harder to make sure it’s the best Mega Magnet program.”

Councilmember Ceasar Mestre said a lot of residents will be excited over the new program.
“While campaigning last year, I learned that some residents were moving because they weren’t satisfied with schools,” he said. “The Mega Magnet program is the missing piece of the puzzle to make us a better community.” 

In other Town Council News:

• Council members gave their final approval to mitigate the impact of construction sites to preserve adjacent property values and quality of life by requiring a site management plan, temporary fencing and establishing property standards that should apply to all construction sites.

• Council members tabled an ordinance on second reading that would facilitate the complete buildout of the town’s sidewalk network by requiring certain developments to construct new sidewalks, repair existing sidewalks or pay into a mitigation program to offset Miami Lakes’ cost of performing the work.

The work is consistent with the town’s Complete Streets Master Plan and identified in both the Strategic Plan and Comprehensive Development Master Plan for the town’s Mobility Programs.
But council members were concerned over some of the language in the ordinance that would hold homeowners and landowners responsible for building or repairing sidewalks when they decide to renovate their buildings and homes.

Lawmakers didn’t feel comfortable of a charge of 50 percent of the value of the land to help build and repair sidewalks, and wanted to eliminate placing the responsibilities on landowners if the construction didn’t damage the town’s sidewalks.  

Council members gave their initial approval for an ordinance to amend the town’s 2016-2017 budget to create a Disaster Fund for the expenses for Hurricane Irma clean-up and recovery efforts. The ordinance calls for a net of transfers of $1.5 million.

FEMA is offering disaster assistance and the town is hoping to be reimbursed about 85 percent of the total costs for clean up and restoration.

• At the request of Mayor Manny Cid, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman paid a visit to Town Hall to discuss her county-led legislation for police to issue civil penalties for certain misdemeanors instead of taking people to jail.

Heyman said the county’s program allows police officers two choices – arrest someone for committing a crime or issuing civil citations for misdemeanors that include litter, illegal use of dairy cases, trespassing, retail theft by removing a shopping cart, loitering and prowling, possession of marijuana in amount of 20 grams or less, and possession of drug paraphernalia. 
She said the program reduces crime and saved the county money and police time.

“It keeps our officers in place here instead of traveling to the TGK Center to transport someone who committed a crime,” she said. “It’s cost saving and keeping your men and women here.”
Cid said the town might want to take a look at a similar program for Miami Lakes in the future. 
• Lawmakers approved Ruano’s proposal to make assessments and recommendations on improving Jerry’s Squad to better assist the town during natural disasters.

Jerry’s Squad, named after the late Jerry Schneider, is a group of volunteers who assist residents, especially senior citizens, with their property’s needs, including helping putting up shutters and have the proper equipment in preparing for a hurricane.

• Lawmakers approved Cid’s recommendation for a town hall meeting to discuss placing FPL  lines underground in an effort to restore power quicker after a hurricane.

• Council members approved Nelson Rodriguez proposal to improve the town’s hurricane preparedness by revisiting several issues including a permanent generator for Town Center, handheld radios (using Hialeah’s or Miami-Dade Country’s infrastructure), and a Code Red citizens notification system. Rodriguez said the new preparedness plan could be costly and is requesting town staff to seek funding for the program.

• Council members approved Cid’s proposal for an ordinance that requires the homeowners and condo associations to have an emergency plan for natural disasters to be included in the town’s emergency plan.

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