DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. – Duval County school leaders want to hear from parents and people in the community about possible consolidations to elementary schools based in the north and northwest neighborhoods of Jacksonville. The schools impacted include, but are not limited to Brentwood Elementary School, John Love Elementary School, and Carter G. Woodson Elementary School.
Thursday night, Duval County school board Chairman Warren Jones and board member Darryl Willie are hosting a virtual community meeting for families to share their thoughts about the district’s recommendations.
Willie says there are several reasons why changes need to happen.
"Based on our population of families, especially in the north and northwest side, we have a lot of schools," Willie said. "The population has not increased in a while. So, we have to figure out where students are moving to."
Thursday's meeting centers around three recommended consolidations.
For John Love Elementary, the district's recommendation is to combine it into Long Branch Elementary School.
Another recommendation is to merge Brentwood Elementary School with North Shore Elementary. Willie says Brentwood is one of Jacksonville’s oldest schools. With there being a lot of community support to keep it as is, Willie believes this scenario will be a big talker at the meeting.
"If you look into the future, I think we're going to have to make some decisions," Willie said. "Do we support it with more financial resources? Even if we do that, we're not going to be able to expand or grow that school."
The third has to do with Carter G. Woodson Elementary School. Willie tells News4jax the original plan was to merge Woodson and St. Clair Evans Academy into a brand new school, named Northwestern Elementary School. The new elementary school would be in the original Northwestern Middle School building, which closed at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Willie says the new recommendation now is to only merge St. Clair Evans into Northwestern Elementary School. The current proposed plan for Carter G. Woodson is for it to stay open for at least one more school year.
Willie says his hope is for parents and people in the community to weigh in and be honest.
“For me, it’s an opportunity to hear, so I can make the right decision when I vote,” Willie said. "Ultimately, that’s my decision and my other 6 board members’ decision when it comes to it.
The final vote for these recommended scenarios is set for Tuesday, June 16th. Thursday’s meeting will be broken up into 30-minute increments for each scenario. It begins at 6:00 p.m. and is scheduled to last until 8:00