Canaveral Port Authority vote to fund Brevard schools delayed

Commissioners consider $5 million Canaveral Port Authority donation

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - The Canaveral Port Authority's vote to make a $5 million donation to save three Brevard County schools has been delayed.

Port commissioners have asked for a special workshop and for more research before making the donation, which would come in the form of a yearly grant. A special meeting will be held in mid-April to discuss the legality of Port Commissioner Bruce Deardoff's proposal, discuss its merits and meet with school board members to assess their interest in accepting certain conditions.

"It's the right thing to do for the community it's not about money and it shouldn't be about money," Deardoff said. "It should be about doing the right thing for the community that created this port."

Parents wanted the vote to save Gardendale Elementary on Merritt Island, South Lake Elementary in Titusville and Clearlake Middle in Cocoa for two more academic years. Without it, those schools will close at the end of this school year.

School Board members have indicated a willingness to work with port commissioners, but want to see details before making a decision to delay school closures.

School district leaders will continue to prepare for school closures until a decision has been made to the contrary.

School board members say they will weigh the port's proposed donation with other factors, such as the difficulty of reversing course and indirect savings that would come from closing schools.

School district leaders have said much will be decided by the success of a schools tax in the November 2014 election.

Deardoff 's proposal would serve as a stop-gap until then; if the tax fails, however, the three schools plus others could close.

The special meeting must be held after the school board meeting on April 9.

Meanwhile, Deardoff is reportedly resigning and the Port Canaveral CEO Stan Payne was fired after a vote on Wednesday.

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