MDCPS next steps, Pembroke Park's police force, and the Harvard Crimson’s first Latina president
What’s next for Miami-Dade County Public Schools with Superintendent Carvalho’s upcoming exit? Pembroke Park wants to police itself and break away from BSO. And A former WLRN intern is the Harvard Crimson’s first Latina president.
On this Monday, Dec. 13, edition of Sundial:
What’s next for MDCPS?
Miami-Dade County Public Schools are about to enter a new era.
The school board has to look for a new superintendent, after more than a decade with the same leadership. Last week, Alberto Carvalho announced that he will be leaving his job here for the opportunity to lead the Los Angeles Unified School District.
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"With all due respect, sometimes I wanted to throw him out of the window because I might have gotten mad at something. We still talked it out and we still sat at a table and we figured out what it is that needed to get done,” said Karla Hernández-Mats, the president of the United Teachers of Dade. “Including making sure that we passed a referendum, which was for me personally, the biggest accomplishment that we've been able to to get because it's $1 billion that went to the salaries of our educational workforce in four years.”
Carvalho has said that there is somewhat of an urgency for him to move on to Los Angeles and that it is “unlikely” that he will stay in Miami through the end of the school year.
It’s now on the school board to find an interim and replacement superintendent.
“I believe that public schools should be run and led by educators. So I'm sharing that sentiment with conviction. But I also understand that as a board member, as a member of a nine-member board, we have to engage in a process,” said Steve Gallon, vice chair of the Miami-Dade County Public School Board, who has in the past also served as a teacher, principal and superintendent.
“We'll make a decision that's in the best interests of our employees, our faculty, our staff, our community and most importantly, our students,” he added without expressing a timeline for the next move.
Pembroke Park tries to leave BSO
One small town in Broward County is trying to break away from the Broward Sheriff's Office — because using BSO is getting too expensive. That town is Pembroke Park, home to just more than 6,700 residents when no snowbirds are visiting.
Town officials have been meeting with other cities for months to complain about things like increasing costs year over year to use BSO. Plus, a lack of control over contracts with the Sheriff's Office.
"We're paying for service that we're not getting. That is my biggest concern," said Pembroke Park Mayor Geoffrey Jacobs.
Now, Pembroke Park is trying to create its own police department.
He argued BSO deputies assigned to the town can't be found actually patrolling the town. Instead he said the town has taken out a $2.5 million loan to start its own department of 16-20 officers.
"It's a timely process. I had hoped it was going to be done sooner, but it wasn't," he said. "We have had to build our own department that we can operate under [$3.3 to $3.5 million] and the annual operation costs will be under what we're paying."
The town has been delayed in getting its communications systems off the ground.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony wrote an opinion piece recently in the South Florida Sun Sentinel disputing Pembroke Park's abilities to run a quality police department:
"At this time, basic elements of good policing, such as police officer training, standard operating procedures and communications, do not appear to be in place. ... BSO has offered to remain in place until September 2022 to allow for the town to be adequately prepared for the change of service. Town officials have rebuffed an extension. ... We hope that the town commission will reconsider," Tony wrote in the piece.
The Harvard Crimson’s first Latina president
For this first time in its 148-year history — the Harvard Crimson is going to be led by a Latina.
Raquel Coronell Uribe grew up in Miami and is a former WLRN intern.
The prestigious school’s student newspaper includes alumni like former U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. Also, multiple Pulitzer-prize winning journalists.
She is the daughter of prominent Colombian journalists who fled their native country after receiving death threats linked to their investigative reporting.
“It actually taught me the value of journalism and of telling the truth. If people were going to such extremes and such lengths to just like, cover up disinformation, it was clear to me, even then that it was something that must have been really important,” said Coronell Uribe. “It really inspired me to try to do that, not only in journalism, but in everything I do. Just make sure that you're always telling the truth and prioritizing your values over everything else.”
When she first enrolled at Harvard University, her chosen major was pre-med. She was inspired by her grandfather, a doctor in Colombia, and her leukemia diagnosis, which she received when she was 16 years old.
“I learned the value of a single day. You know, you really can't take anything for granted, not even a moment. And I think that really taught me to kind of do everything I can and every day that I have, because you don't know when, this could be your last day,” she said.
At The Crimson, Coronell Uribe has covered police accountability and served as a social media manager. You can find more of her reporting here.
You can find her reporting during her time interning at WLRN here.