Latin Builders Association Academy Lacks Diversity

Categories: Luke's Gospel
Alex Izaguirre
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke probes a new charter school started by a special interest group.

The Latin Builders Association is one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in Miami-Dade County. For more than 30 years, the LBA and its members have lorded over the reckless growth in West Dade that has overcrowded schools, clogged roads, and stretched police and fire services to the limit. In addition to paving over the Everglades, the group has also done an amazing job of making sure all their homeboys get most of the lucrative government construction contracts.

Now the LBA has figured out a way to continue its monopoly by using taxpayer money.

In August, the LBA opened the doors to its own charter high school in west Hialeah. They've started by enrolling 40 kids from that city, Hialeah Gardens, Miami Lakes, and Miramar, says the principal, Gyovania Marante, and in three years the school expects to increase admission to 500 students. Although the LBA Construction and Business Management Academy is private, it is managed by Miami-Dade County Public Schools. It's the first time the district has partnered with a special interest group to operate a school.

According to the academy's brochure, all the elective classes are designed to prepare students for careers in the construction industry or to turn them into successful entrepreneurs like LBA founder Sergio Pino. Students will also use iPads and get internships with LBA members, Marante says.

That's great, except that only 2 percent of the student population is African-American and non-Hispanic white, according to school counselor Julia Muñoz. Those numbers are incredible, but they don't surprise me. The school is located in the nation's most Cuban-American city, too far west for kids to commute from heavily black cities such as Opa-locka, North Miami, and North Miami Beach.

Marante insists LBA Academy is not intentionally targeting Hispanic children. "We've reached out to parents in North Miami and North Miami Beach," she says. "We've done mail-outs to every zip code in Miami-Dade and Broward. We target everyone in our recruiting."

It's not enough. I'd certainly like to see Miami-Dade County Public Schools approach me and other entrepreneurs in Miami's entertainment industry to open a charter school to offer kids business careers in music, television, and film. And you better believe that school would be more reflective of Miami-Dade's diversity.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

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While you are at it find out who all the contracts to build these elaborate public and charter schools in Doral, Miramar and other communities have gone to. A LBA school to keep this type ofbusiness going on is such a far fetched idea, right?. Rudy Crew, the former superintendent was run out of town becuase he would not let the LBA swindle Dade County tax payers. Now they have carte blanche. (I bet Crew would never be featured on the front cover of their magazine). Oh by the way The Miami Herald who had a story every week practically on Crew has been pretty silent over the last few years. I wonder what the connection is there. Speak truth to power!


Several of these coments seemed aimed at shutting this discussion down. Mr. Campbell you are 100% correct. The LBA has been very strategic in getting the Miami Dade School District to advance its ageanda. Do you r research and find out how several of the charter school management companies are comprised of members of the LBA.


Suprisingly I keep getting an error message when I try to post my comment.

Exiliado topcommenter

Mr. Campbell, if you want to open a charter school, please do so. Who's trying to stop you?

But please, be careful and hire teachers with better math skills than you. Two percent of 40 is 0.8. I am having a hard time trying to understand how the number of African Americans AND non-Hispanic whites can add to 0.8. 

drakemallard topcommenter

welcome to the banana republic

nepotism that how you get a job in miami  just ask the city workers


I just love when morons play the race card.  It only proves how ignorant they really are.  Any organization can apply to build a charter school anywhere it damn pleases.  If the LBA built its school in Hialeah, it has every right to do so.  If you or one of your "associates" decide to build a charter school in a community with a predominately black population, be my guest.  Then again, also be prepared to hear complaints that you only put it there so white kids couldn't attend.  Of course, those complaints would be as stupid as yours are, but that would only further prove my point.  You should have stuck with making horribly offensive music since you were much better at that than your feeble and half-assed attempts at journalism.


"I'd certainly like to see Miami-Dade County Public Schools approach me"

Why don't you approach them Uncle Luke? Come on dude, you're saying a school was strategically opened in a place so that African Americans can't get to it? Think before you write this stuff. 

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