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Broward Committee Demands Action For Dilapidated School

HALLANDALE BEACH (CBS4) - From cracking ceilings, to flooring that's breaking apart, to rusted and broken lockers.  Parents say Hallandale High School needs work in the maintenance department.

"They left ceilings open, they left holes in the wall, they left incomplete projects," complained James Sparks, a concerned parent.

Sparks is part of a group of parents that has made it their mission to improve Hallandale High School.

Monday night they tried to speak out at a public meeting, but were told that issue will be brought up at a future meeting instead.

"We think it's a tactic to maybe make confusion," said Sparks.

Sparks and many other parents took part in a successful 1995 lawsuit against the district, charging that schools in low-income, predominantly black neighborhoods, like Hallandale High were not being kept up as schools in higher income areas of Broward. Former Hallandale parent Cynthia Oliver says nothing has changed.

"We keep finding the same issues, 80 years out, that we still don't have equality in the schools," said Oliver.

The result of that lawsuit was a newly formed Broward School Board Diversity Committee, which monitors schools to make sure they're treated equally.

But in a December visit to Hallandale High, the committee members saw a whole lot they didn't like.

The report said the weight room needs a total facelift and new equipment to replace the broken and ripped machines.

They say the ceiling and floor in the boy's locker room is falling apart, and pipes may be cracking.

The report even said the school's auto shop was like one in a third world country.

The committee also found that many computers have no batteries or internet access and the books are outdated. One English teacher saying he was on his seventh year using the same textbooks.

Problems that have parents like Oliver demanding accountability from the district.

"We want to know where the money is, they keep telling us the money's available and then they tell us it isn't. It makes no sense," said Oliver.

CBS4 News reached out to school district officials for comment on the report Monday evening. They did not respond by airtime.

But one piece of good news the Diversity Committee found, was that despite all its challenges Hallandale High's graduation rate has gone up by 13 percent.

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