Officials break ground on Oasis High School in southwest Cape
In a city plagued by high foreclosure and unemployment rates, good news can be hard to find, but Cape Coral dignitaries may have found an oasis.
Several city council members and members of the charter school board were on hand Tuesday to help break ground on the new Oasis High School.
“It’s a great day for the city,” Mayor Jim Burch said.
At a cost of $8 million, the new 20,000 square-foot charter school will house 700 students in grades 9-12, and is scheduled to open in August for the 2009 to 2010 school year.
Dr. Lee Bush, Cape Coral Charter Schools administrator and principal of Christa McAuliffe Elementary School, said charter schools offer a unique education experience and the need was growing for a high school.
“The city is growing in leaps and bounds. It was always chartered as a K-12 system,” he said.
While the Lee County public school system has seen a reduction in its population this year, Bush said the charter system continues to grow.
“Our school system has grown every year, including this year,” he said.
The new school will stand beside the existing Oasis Middle and Elementary charter schools that line Oasis Boulevard in southwest Cape Coral. Ninth-grade and 10th-grade students are currently housed in the middle school.
Student body president Anna Larson is among those “high schoolers” attending Oasis Middle School. The 10th-grader praised the charter system as having the small class size and intimacy of a private school at the price of a public school.
“The charter school system brings the best of both worlds,” Larson said.
Bush said that unlike the Lee County school system, charter schools are not partly funded by property taxes and have not been as badly affected by the downturn in property values.
“Our system is solely financed through the state of Florida. We don’t get property taxes. As those things tanked (public schools) lost a lot of money, but we didn’t,” he said.