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Donations roll in following DCPS decision to rebrand six confederate-named schools

JPEF said roughly $200,000 in contributions still needed as of Wednesday

The effort to strip six Duval County Public School campuses of their confederate-inspired names was approved by the school board Tuesday night, which stoked a swell of donations, according to the Jacksonville Public Education Fund.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The effort to strip six Duval County Public School campuses of their confederate-inspired names was approved by the school board Tuesday night, which stoked a swell of donations, according to the Jacksonville Public Education Fund.

“We’ve seen, even today, a number of people just making contributions of various sizes on our website,” JPEF president Rachael Tutwiler Fortune told News4Jax Wednesday. “I’ve received a couple of text messages to be on the lookout for certain contributions in the mail. So, we’re really excited that people are just feeling really good that we have made this huge step forward as a community and I believe we’ll see continued support as a result.”

JPEF’s School Renaming Fund surpassed $80,000 Wednesday morning, including a $10,000 donation that is not listed on the fund’s digital donation tracker because it was sent directly to DCPS.

The majority of that $80,000 sum is a $50,000 donation marked “anonymous.” Fortune said that donation came from Delores Barr Weaver, a philanthropist who promised to contribute that amount if the community donates $100,000. Therefore, that money is technically conditional on JPEF collecting $100,000 from the public.

“The great news is that we’ve been able to confirm a couple of contributions, sizable in-kind contributions that total of about just over $300,000, to help pay for athletic uniforms,” Fortune said. “So that, in part, helps unlock that contribution from Mrs. Weaver, but we’re still working to get the community to contribute at least $100,000 in addition.”

The exact amount of in-kind donations so far, the district said, is $316,843.

In total, the district estimates the total cost of renaming all six schools to be $825,223, of which, $202,000 will come from DCPS’s sponsorship revenue from its beverage contract.

That costs include signage, the school’s letterhead and pricier items in the middle and high schools like gym floors, sports equipment, team uniforms and a new mascot for Lee High School.

According to the superintendent, some of those costs are already being covered.

“We’re very fortunate to have the [Jacksonville] Jaguars step up for our students through their foundation. They have agreed to pay for all-home uniforms for all the secondary schools, that would be three schools, Lee High School, J.E.B. Stuart and Jefferson Davis Middle School,” said Diana Greene, Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools.

The district confirmed Wednesday it will not utilize any district funds from general revenue, categorical funds, federal funds or sales surtax funds.

“All costs associated with the renaming requirements will be funded utilizing a combination of funds donated to the district for this purpose and allowable sponsorship funds from the current beverage agreement,” the district told News4Jax.


About the Author:

Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.