Mayor Curry: Keep elected school board; also wants elected superintendent

Jacksonville chief executive not backing move by state Rep. Jason Fischer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A week after a state lawmaker proposed changing Duval County School Board members from being elected by the people to being appointed by Jacksonville's mayor, that mayor said he is opposed to the idea.

Mayor Lenny Curry told News4Jax he not only wants to keep the School Board elected but also wants voters to elect the school superintendent -- currently appointed by the School Board -- and have the School Board chairperson elected countywide. All School Board members are currently elected in individual districts.

"The School Board would exist how it does now. The members would be elected by the constituents," Curry said Tuesday afternoon. "What you would change is you would have the board chair, which would be elected by the people of Jacksonville -- elected at large by the entire county. And you would have a superintendent that would be elected by the entire county. I would suggest this decision would be made by the people themselves. Let’s put it on the ballot and ask the people of Jacksonville: 'Would you like to see the superintendent elected? Would you like to see the board chair elected?'"

Curry's proposal comes on the heels of state Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville, introducing legislation that would change the School Board to appointed positions. It would be the only appointed School Board in the state.

This also comes amid tension between the School Board, and the mayor over a request to put a different question before voters: Would you support a half-cent sales tax pay for capital improvements to Duval County schools?

Current Superintendent Diana Greene did not want to comment about the mayor's suggestion, saying she has not heard this from the mayor and she’s dealing with other school issues, including preparing for a joint School Board, City Council meeting Wednesday morning to discuss the sales-tax referendum the board requested in May but has yet to be acted on by the council.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.