Jacksonville, schools balk at suspension costs


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Duval County public school system and city of Jacksonville are facing off over who should pay for a program both agree has helped keep tens of thousands of kids off the city streets.

Since the program's 2009 launch, suspensions have dropped, and graduation rates have risen. Yet local leaders say they may not be able to keep paying for the $1 million program. Jacksonville pays most of the costs. Duval Public Schools shoulders a third.

The Florida Times Union on Sunday reported the city says suspended kids are the district's responsibility. The district says keeping kids out of trouble reduces stress on the city's law enforcement resources.

The program handles some 600 students a month, placing them in academic settings with teachers, social workers and a police officer or guard.