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Election will makeover Duval County School Board

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With four of the seven seats on the Duval County School Board district on the Aug. 14 ballot and only one incumbent running for another term, its possible a majority of the board will be new faces next year.

VOTER'S GUIDE:  District 1 | District 3 | District 5 | District 7

Regardless of how the board takes shape, exiting member W.C. Gentry feels the candidates better be prepared for a challenge.

"The biggest issues, facing this school board, are financial. We have been borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, we have been deferring maintenance, our fiscal part of our budget, our capital side of our budget is almost a crisis situation. So they're going to be faced with difficult decisions regarding capital," said Gentry.

Gentry says it's also important to consider how a future member may mesh with the rest of the School Board.

"Collaboration is important in the education system, this isn't about competition among ourselves, so you have to have people who can work with the other board members, work with the superintendent, work with the staff and you need people who have think skin, because we're damned if we do, damned if we don't," said Gentry.

Advocacy groups, like the PTA, are hopeful voters make an educated decision before they cast a ballot. The group says, it's confident whoever is chosen will care about the kids.

"I don't think dynamics are going to change. Every person that I've worked with on the school board in the past, they have put children first and so I hope that the people we will be electing will continue to put our children first," said PTA President Gretchen Lynch.

Parents, like Lisa Gaines, are concerned about the races. She says, she knows what she's looking for in a candidate.

"Someone who is honest, someone who is going to back the school up in what they need and what resources are available to parents, students and teachers out there, because that's very important to all of us," Gaines said.

Even if you're not a parent, some in the community believe the School Board election could have an impact on Jacksonville's economy, because whoever is elected will help form the future of Duval County's education system.