Parkland City Officials Prepares to Adopt Final Millage Rate, 2023 Budget, Other Fees
Parkland City Commission.

By Bryan Boggiano

The Parkland city commission strongly disapproved of comments made during Coral Springs City Tuesday meeting suggesting revisiting contracts affecting fire and paramedic services in Parkland if the MSD boundary proposal passes.

The Parkland Commission addressed the comments at their Thursday meeting, stating fire services were not in danger to the city and that statements made in Coral Springs were emotional and not based on facts.

Coral Springs called for a special commission meeting on April 4, following the school board’s March 29 vote to reject the Interim Superintendent Dr. Earlean Smiley’s recommendation to keep boundaries the same for the 2023/2024 school year and eventually to adopt the H1 proposal at their first boundary hearing.

In response, Coral Springs commission members and residents expressed strong disapproval of the process, stating the school board openly violated Policy 5000, mishandled the MSD rezoning process, and denied parents the opportunity to speak on the issue.

During the April 4 meeting, the commission discussed revisiting contracts with Parkland, including fire and paramedic services, and the possibility of filing an injunction to stop the MSD rezoning process from proceeding if the city found grounds to sue.

At the Parkland meeting, residents disagreed with the Coral Springs Commission’s comments, saying any cuts to fire services are the opposite of what the MSD rezoning process is about school safety.

Jen Solf said she felt disheartened and threatened by Tuesday’s proceedings in Coral Springs, while Kevin Higgins said it would not make sense to take action against the roughly 1,000 Coral Springs students who attend MSD.

“Threats to terminate services is pretty much the opposite of what this is about, which is safety,” said Amanda Velardi.

Similarly, Anna Farrand said, “I feel that it has gotten to the point where it is embarrassing and insulting.”

Mayor Rich Walker assured residents that fire and paramedic services are contractually obligated to continue through Sept. 2026, saying the agreement between Coral Springs and Parkland is mutually beneficial.

He condemned a statement initially made by Coral Springs City Commissioner Nancy Metayer Bowen, who floated the idea of revisiting shared fire and EMS services, access to parking at North Community Park, and access to athletic fields in Coral Springs if the H1 boundary proposal passed.

Ultimately, Metayer Bowen said she would not support revisiting any services that could compromise safety.

“I think we can all agree that there has been a lot of emotion in this boundary process,” Walker said. “I do not want any level of emotion or any comments…to mislead any of our residents.”

He stated the MSD rezoning process is nothing new, stating anybody who feels blindsided has not been paying attention. Despite this, he said the MSD rezoning would incentivize both cities and the school board to address inequalities between area schools.

Walker said the city worked transparently with the school board during the entire MSD rezoning process, which started with address verification. After that did not ease overcrowding at MSD significantly, they explored rezoning options.

Despite potential ramifications of rezoning 351 Coral Springs students to Coral Glades High School, Walker said the purpose of the MSD rezoning is to ensure children’s safety, not to divide two cities or make MSD a Parkland-only school.

“Parkland is not looking to rid itself of Coral Springs,” he said. “That’s ridiculous. We want each other. We need each other.”

Vice Mayor Simeon Brier echoed Walker’s sentiments, saying he does not see MSD rezoning as a Coral Springs vs. Parkland issue but rather as an issue to address overcrowding and potential safety issues. He believed there was no animosity at the cores of either city.

Commissioner Jordan Isrow condemned what he saw as emotional attacks from Coral Springs, saying that for the cities to get along, there cannot be emotional arguments or scorched-earth tactics. The latter criticism was in response to a comment made by Coral Springs Commissioner Joshua Simmons.

Although not everybody will be happy with the solution, the MSD rezoning process is based on extensive research and collaboration with Coral Springs and the school board. “This is a real-life issue that requires real-life solutions and pragmatic thinking,” Isrow said.

Commissioners Ken Cutler and Bob Mayersohn strongly encouraged residents to speak up and make their voices heard at the next school boundary public hearing.

Be positive. Be passionate. Be proud to be a resident in one of the greatest cities in the state,” Mayersohn said. 

The second school boundary public hearing will take place at J.P. Taravella High School on Wed., April 12, starting at 5:30 p.m.

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Author Profile

Bryan Boggiano
Bryan Boggiano
A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan plans to pursue geosciences at Florida International University for his master's. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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