Schools deal with homeless students

Miami HeraldFebruary 6, 2009 

Ever since Lorie Ross and her family moved from Davie to Port St. Lucie last month, her oldest daughters have risen before dawn each day so their father could drive them 90 miles south to their old school.

Davie Elementary is the only school Alexis, 9, and Courtney, 8, have ever known.

''They want to stay. All their friends are here. And it's right in the middle of the FCAT,'' Ross said.

Ross' family and hundreds of others have been forced to find new places to live because their mobile home park, Palma Nova in Davie, is closing. The thousands of residents are supposed to be out by the end of this month.

Among them: about 500 public school students. They include about 250 Davie Elementary students -- about a quarter of the school's enrollment and enough kids to fill a dozen classrooms.

Already, a few Palma Nova families have told the school district they will be homeless when they move out, said Dianne Sepielli, coordinator of homeless education.

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