JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A fifth grader at Fishweir Elementary School wrote a letter to Mayor Lenny Curry and the Jacksonville City Council expressing support for a half-cent sales tax that would help crumbling schools in Duval County.
Audrey Parman, a 10-year-old, said she loves her school, but it's about to be 103 years old. Audrey said her school needs repairs.
Audrey sent a handwritten letter to Curry. A line toward the bottom of the note reads, "My parents taught me to leave things better than they were originally."
"We have those old kind of air conditioners that are like a box on the ground," Audrey said. "Unfortunately, they aren't working as well as they used to."
Audrey said the eighth-oldest school in the district could use some updating. She sent photos from inside a classroom that show wooden beams supporting the roof.
"I asked my mom why they have those beams on the wall. I asked if they were going to get repaired and the conversation went into that they were trying to add a half-cent tax to give funds to our school," Audrey said.
Audrey's letter to the mayor and City Council encourages them to allow voters to decide on the half-cent sales tax. The 10-year-old's mother, Joy Parman, fully supports her daughter's letter.
"What a great solution for all of our schools, for all of our students. We want to show them how valued they are and giving them an excellent place to spend five days a week for nine months out of the year, great," Parman said.
Curry emailed a response to Aubrey, which reads:
Dear Ms. Parman,
Thank you for sharing this letter from your daughter, Audrey. Citizen feedback is integral to my administration, especially those from our youngest citizens. I encourage Audrey to stay engaged and informed on issues she cares about in the future.
Like any local legislation, the sales tax proposal by the Duval County School Board will go before City Council for consideration. I look forward to learning more about the School Board’s proposal throughout this process and will evaluate any legislation as it comes to my desk. I will state that due to its financial impact on the city, I do not support a special election for one referendum.
As mayor and a father of three public school students, I want our schools to succeed. Every child in every neighborhood deserves access to the tools, resources and opportunities they need to prosper. Duval County Public Schools continues to be a great partner in these efforts and I appreciate their support.
Again, I thank you for contacting me.
Audrey said, as of Wednesday, Curry was the only one who had responded to her letter.