Too many students, and not enough room — that's been the problem in the Avalon Park area of east Orange County.
Now, a private developer has announced plans to build two charter schools in Avalon Park, and said he can have them open sooner than a proposed relief school the county plans to build.
Tiffanie Beachuam pulled her two children from Avalon Middle School in January, because the overcrowding got so bad.
The school, built to accommodate fewer than 1,000 students, now has a student body of over 1,800.
"Ideally, I want to see the school built on Timber Springs, where it should be," Beecham said. "And if the developer wants to add additional schools, then so be it, but we need that school."
While the district and the county have failed to nail down a location for its relief middle school, developer Beat Kahli, CEO of Avalon Park Group, is offering his own solutions.
"I like the competition. I like that parents have choices," said Kahli.
In the heart of Avalon Park, Kahli's charter school for grades 6–12 would serve 1,400 students. A K–8 charter school planned for Avalon Park's South Village would have 1,150 students.
Kahli said he will build the campuses and then lease them to the charter schools with which he already has agreements. He said the new schools will be a win-win for everyone in the community.
"Having a great charter school there will attract residents to Avalon Park to rent our apartments," Kahli said.
This is the sixth proposal Kahli has offered in the last eight weeks, and he said this is a firm one. He still has a few more steps to go through before he can break ground, permitting and approval from the county.
While he did sell Avalon Middle School to the district in the past, he said he does not intend to sell these new schools.
"There are no political games, because I'm not a politician. I'm an international businessman," Kahli said.
Orange County School officials said the charter school plans will not affect any plans the district has to build a nearly $40 million relief middle school.
The County Commission is expected to make a decision Tuesday afternoon that could move plans forward for that school.