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Broward Could Make History With ‘Charter Conversion’

Mellissa Butler-Smith remembers feeling powerless a little more than a year ago — the Broward school district was closing her son’s special-needs school, and the protests of parents seemed to be falling on deaf ears.

The situation at Fort Lauderdale’s Wingate Oaks Center is remarkably different now. Frustrated with their treatment by the school district, parents and teachers voted to split off from the school system and convert Wingate Oaks to a charter school. Wingate Oaks parents are going charter to save their school — and they hope to keep the same principal, teachers and staff. With the school district committed to closing Wingate at some point, the only way to preserve the status quo is to break away.