Somerset parents, neighbors unhappy with school’s plans to move campus to Kendall
Somerset Academy is drawing the ire of both parents and neighbors in Coral Gables and Kendall as it expands its charter school empire.
Angry parents crowded into a cafeteria recently to hear that their kindergartners likely will be bused to a new school in Kendall after Somerset lost its Coral Gables lease at Granada Presbyterian Church.
Meanwhile, about 40 neighbors of the proposed school met Sunday, outraged by Somerset’s plans to replace a small neighborhood school that has been run by the same family for six decades and attended by fewer than 300 students.
Somerset wants to build a new campus on the site of the old Pinewood Acres, 9500 SW 97th Ave. in Kendall, to serve 2,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
“We’re not against education, but what we are against is the numbers they’re trying to introduce into the area and the huge buildings,” said Jose J. Suarez, who chose the secluded neighborhood 14 years ago for his modern glass and concrete house.
The outrage among both groups highlights the tricky waters Somerset has tried to navigate in opening its charter schools in residential neighborhoods. Since it was founded 15 years ago, Somerset, a nonprofit managed by its for-profit partner, Academica, has grown into one of the state’s largest charter school companies, with 42 schools around Florida, in Texas, Nevada and online.
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