Thomas to spend $16.5 million on new E.Ward Middle

February 3, 2012

Superintendent Malcolm Thomas is a numbers guy. When dealing with the African-American community, his mantra is always about numbers. He closed Spencer Bibbs rather than upgrade because of attendance. He threatened to close Lincoln Park for the same reason.

Other schools aren’t given the same standard. He is rebuilding A.K. Suter Elementary, which has one of the smallest attendance zones in the district, and, according to, Thomas is spending $16.5 million on Ernest Ward Middle School, which only has 460 students and whose enrollment has been flat.

Thomas is spending $35,869 per student. The small school has done well on FCAT and is one of the county’s oldest school. It’s also in a district that Thomas needs votes, and it is interesting that he is making this announcement the same week he filed for re-election.

My point is— if you are a numbers guy, then be consistent. However, there appears to be a double-standard. If not based on race (although Ernest Ward’s enrollment is 79% white), at least, his decisions on capital outlays appear to be based on who the superintendent favors and where he needs votes.

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