Still short on drivers and teachers, Miami-Dade Public Schools ready for classes, super says

MIAMI, Florida. – While Miami-Dade County Public School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho still has a few stress points to iron out before students return to personal education classrooms on Monday, Carvalho said he is confident the district is ready.

The district is still working to fill about 60 bus routes out of 1,000 in the entire district and has a shortage of 50 teachers.

Carvalho said students and parents can expect a different classroom for the 2021-2022 school year.

COVID-19 screenings, better cleaning, air filtration systems and air conditioning units are some of the improvements to name a few.

The biggest topic in the new school year is the debate about masks in schools.

Broward County is feeling the heat of the state education council, which has given the district 48 hours to meet Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ mandate that allows parents to decide whether their children should wear face coverings.


Miami-Dade County also went the way of Broward County, voting to approve a face mask mandate as well.

“We are now focusing less on the threats and the impact and pressure from other government agencies,” Carvalho said.

He said he is ready for what may come as he also recommends a mask mandate despite opposition from the state.

“We are determined and unwavering in our belief that doing good sometimes comes with threatening conditions, but that defines who we are and we remain steadfast in supporting the protocols we have adopted,” said Carvalho.

Teachers like Maria Marrero are cautiously optimistic about Monday and ready to get started. “…Making sure we’re really ready. I think sometimes that’s (is) filling in the gaps if there are any, because we’ve all tried,” Marreo said.

Also on Friday, the district released a press release about improvements to many of its facilities, citing expenses totaling $889 million on renovations, remodeling and replacement of schools and technology upgrades. Some of the specific projects were:


Temporary Herbert A. Ammons Middle, $24 million: Includes a new 750-square-foot student outpost, two-story facility with seven kindergarten classrooms, each with an individual toilet; 20 primary classrooms, eight with individual toilets, 10 intermediate classrooms and two K-5 classrooms.

Georgia Jones-Ayers Middle School, $4 million: Includes on-site asphalt paving, PE shelter, portable equipment demolition, exterior paint, life safety upgrades, fire alarms, new hallway to provide fresh air circulation, locker room renovation, HVAC system and new computer labs.

Toni Bilbao Preparatory Academy Middle School, $11.8 million: An addition that includes the construction of a three-story building containing 454 student stations, with all required connecting covered walkways; 47 new parking spaces and associated drainage and landscaping.

Comstock Elementary, $14 million: Includes a new three-story, 38,140-square-foot classroom building with covered walkways, landscaping, leveling, and drainage; selective demolition; a new car park, emergency generator, Energy Management System (EMS) and fire alarm system with connection to all existing campus facilities. New security cameras will connect to the existing system.


Coral Gables Senior High School Phase I & II, $26 million: Includes a new 357 student station, two-story addition consisting of two art labs, oven room, student toilets, two staff toilets, two social science classrooms, gym/dance room, dining and serving area, indoor dining area, four computer labs, resource room, setup and design . Phase II will consist of upgrades to all windows, floors, ceilings, lighting and HVAC systems throughout the campus.

Lillie C. Evans K-8 Center, $2.6 million: Includes refurbishment of ground floor classrooms with new floors and millwork in the Student Services Center, interior painting, refurbishment of restrooms to meet ADA requirements, selective exterior painting, new construction of a building with hydraulic elevators and a new HVAC system in the cafeteria.

Fairlawn Elementary, $1.2 million: Includes construction of a new two-story, 1,500-square-foot, two-classroom building, with new floors, new LED lighting, two Promethean signs, new furniture and new storage cabinets. Replacement of the air handler unit (AHU) in the existing dining area. The addition will be attached to an existing building via an existing covered walkway and stairs.


Joella C. Good Elementary, $4.9 million: The work includes a new fire alarm system, an aluminum covered walkway connecting the parent drop-off area to the main school building, a digital marquee board and security cameras; re-sealing and re-stripping of the staff/visitor parking lot, bus main entrance drop-off and parental drop-off area; refurbishing and re-stripping basketball courts; selective fence upgrade, window and HVAC system repair and replacement.

Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) at Florida International University (FIU), $19.7 million: It will be unveiled in the fall and will be the only public high school in Florida to have a partnership with a public university. The new facility will include 640 new student stations, a unique wetland research area, environmental labs and an open classroom with canoes and boat storage.

Miami Edison Senior, $4.4 million: Includes refurbishment of the restroom, improvements to the HVAC system on three floors of the main building, and upgrades to the existing parking lot.


Miami Palmetto Senior High Phase III, $53.1 million: Including partial replacement and renovation of a multi-storey building of approximately 134,000 square meters with 101 new student stations. The building will have general classrooms, skills labs, art, music and dance studios, vocational labs, an administration office, support areas, covered walkways and parking areas. Also included in the project is a new one-storey art/music/dance studio and theater, new hard courts, playing field and dining area.

Ojus Elementary Phase III, $1.8 million: Including partial replacement of window and ceiling; replacing lighting in classrooms and administration office; remodeling existing student toilets to meet ADA requirements; replace exterior door; renovation of student toilets; partial exterior painting, new ADA driveway and emergency lighting.

Palm Springs North Elementary, $13.5 million: Includes a 24,500-square-foot, two-story building with eight primary classrooms, 17 intermediate classrooms, a media center, covered walkways, parking lot, and courtyard.


Pine Villa Elementary Phase II, the $2.3 million: Includes demolition of 11 portable devices and building 5, remodeling of student toilets, replacement of windows, exhaust fans, window AC units, drinking fountains, grease trap, vinyl compound and carpet floors, as well as repair of the public address system and upgrading of the kindergarten surface . Also added were fire alarm and security alarm systems; selective paint all over the campus, including the PE shelter, basketball court re-lining, basketball court equipment upgrade; window building replacement, HVAC system replacement and partial roofing work.

Poinciana Park Elementary, $2.9 million: Includes covered walkway, new playground paving, fence repair, plumbing fixture replacement, fire alarm repair/replacement, security alarms, floors, ceiling, kitchen HVAC system, extractor hood and stage curtain, electrical upgrades and repair.


Richmond Heights Middle, $4.3 million: Includes campus-wide HVAC system upgrades, unit fans, air handling units, rooftop electrical upgrades, replacement of existing stairwell lighting fixtures and main electrical distribution panel and panel board.

Southwest Miami Senior, $16.3 million: Includes replacement of windows throughout the campus, renovation of restrooms, and installation of a parent drop-off area. In addition, improvements have been made to cooling towers, electricity, lighting, drainage, refinishing and interior and exterior paint. New AHU, chiller and cooling tower in gym.

Sunset Elementary Phase I of II, $2.9 million: Includes renovation of classrooms, student toilets, windows, floors, lighting, interior paint and HVAC replacement, a new clinic, a new HVAC system in the kitchen, and exterior paint in Buildings 2 and 3.

Nathan B. Young Elementary, $4.2 million: Includes selective window replacement, interior and exterior painting, door replacement, ADA refurbishments for single and student toilets, new cameras, new HVAC system in the kitchen and teacher lounge.

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