Duval County School Board votes to change 6 school names; downtown development proposals; Baptist Health’s new CEO
On this edition of “This Week in Jacksonville,” Duval County School Board member Warren Jones details changing six school names associated with the Confederacy. Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer talks about two downtown development proposals. And Baptist Health CEO Michael Mayo explains his new role.
Duval County school district leaders may soon be looking for a new home
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The main office of Duval County Public Schools is in a convenient, central location of Jacksonville. But during a workshop last week, Duval County School Board member Lori Hershey said it’s time to consider making a move. “I totally agree with Ms. Hershey that now is a good time to explore that,” said School Board member Warren Jones. School Board Vice Chairman Darryl Willie said: “Through the chair, I could definitely get behind this resolution. A proposal is expected to be brought up at the next School Board meeting in December.
Opponents of half-cent tax for Duval school improvement say it’s not needed quite yet
Opponents contend it’s not the time for such a tax yet and that institutional changes need to be made first. One of those opponents is Chris Oliver, father to a preschooler in the school district. “It’s not that this doesn’t need to be passed, but it doesn’t need to be passed quite yet," Oliver said. News4Jax constructed an interactive map showing where the district is planning to invest the tax revenue if the referendum passes. A similar ballot measure is being weighed by voters in Clay County’s school district.
Duval County School Board wants to hear from you
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools is seeking input from the community about how to improve its schools. The district is holding seven meetings this month to hear ideas and suggestions from parents and others. School Board Chairman Warren Jones said the feedback is important as the district develops its strategic plan for the next few years. “Our graduation rate is the highest it’s been but I think our goal should be (a) 90% graduation rate.”The first community meeting was Monday from 6-8 p.m. at Raines High School. “We presented our statistics on where we are, the many challenges we face as a school district," Jones said.
Organization continues push for half-cent tax to benefit crumbling Duval schools
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A virtual forum was held Tuesday night to discuss the proposed half-cent sales tax that would benefit Duval County Schools, which voters will make a decision on during the November election. Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene, School Board Chair Warren Jones and City Councilman Matt Carlucci each made presentations. The ongoing pitch to improve the district’s crumbling schools has been challenging in light of the pandemic, with many families struggling as parents have been out of work, needing assistance. Tuesday’s forum was held by Indivisible Mandarin, a grassroots organization eager to hear from experts about the proposed half-cent sales tax. The half-cent sales tax, Greene said, would supplement state revenue such that the district’s $1.91 billion master facility plan would be funded over the next 15 years.
3 more Duval County school names under review
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Duval County School Board voted to add three more schools to the list of those being considered for a name change. Board member Ashley Smith-Juarez introduced a bill that would add Andrew Jackson High School, Jean Ribault High School and Jean Ribault Middle School to the list, bringing the total to nine. The Duval County School Board previously voted unanimously to begin the renaming process for six public schools whose names honor Confederate leaders: Joseph Finegan Elementary, Stonewall Jackson Elementary, Jefferson Davis Middle, Kirby-Smith Middle, J.E.B. According to the Duval County School Board, The Jacksonville Public Education Fund created the fund to allow community members to support public school renamings through tax-deductible donations. The fund would help offset the costs of renaming the six schools if the Duval County School Board approves new names.
LIVE: DCPS holding news conference to discuss COVID-19 employee benefits
Duval County Public Schools is holding a 5 p.m. news conference to discuss COVID-19 related employee benefits. Speaking at the meeting will be DTU President Teri Brady, School Board Chair Warren Jones and Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene. Click below to watch live.
All-virtual start to school year ‘unfeasible,’ DCPS board chairman says
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In response to demonstrations by teachers and parents on Monday near downtown Jacksonville, school board chairman Warren Jones told News4Jax he was briefly considering an effort to move all classes to virtual instruction for at least the first nine weeks of the fall semester. The chairman told News4Jax on Tuesday that he will not be following through with the request, citing “so many moving parts” as the reason the full-virtual strategy is not feasible. The school district has submitted its current reopening plan to the state and it is pending approval. Teachers and parents have been protesting the school district’s decision to go back to face-to-face instruction for part of the school week during demonstrations and public comment of school board meetings. It shows that coronavirus cases among kids in Duval County are up 62% in the last two weeks.
Duval County School Board, District 5
Four of seven seats on the Duval County School Board are up for election this year. Incumbent Warren Jones is being challenged by Brenda Ann Jordan in District 5, which covers Northwest Jacksonville and most of the Westside. I would like the people to remember Brenda A. Jordan (Candidate) the New Vision of DCPS School Board District 5. Moreover, race relation should be part of a diverse sound curriculum in which teachers, students, parents are appropriately trained on how to learn to respect and embrace one another differences. Campaign website: .brendaajordan.comCampaign’s social media pages: Facebook | TwitterThe Jacksonville Public Education Fund hosted virtual candidate forums for each of the School Board races.
Duval schools could lose out on $70 million in funding if reopening plan isnt approved
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The head of Duval County Public Schools said $70 million dollars in funding is at stake if its back-to-school plan doesnt get approved by the state. The school board approved the districts hybrid learning plan Thursday to allow students to have the option to return to school a few days out of the week. Duval County is one of three Florida school districts to go against the states emergency order asking schools to reopen face-to-face five days a week, according to superintendent Dr. Diana Greene. Its unclear to the chairman of the school board what could happen if the state rejects the plan. The chairman of the school board said Duval schools arent ready to reopen based on the current COVID-19 conditions.
DCPS crowdfunding $1M needed to rename Confederate-named schools in Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A special fund has been created to help raise the money needed to rename six Duval County schools that are currently named after prominent Confederate leaders. According to the Duval County School Board, The Jacksonville Public Education Fund created the fund to allow community members to support public school renamings through tax-deductible donations. The alumni are pushing to keep the school’s name, saying the Lee High has too much history to change its name. It’s about Southern pride,” said Lee High School alumnus Joey Steves. Lee High alumnus Todd Thompson said: “I think Robert E. Lee is a great name for a high school.
Duval schools left scrambling to adjust after state mandate
The Duval County School Board is meeting Tuesday night to try to figure out the next steps. The Duval County plan, however, did not include every school re-opening its doors five days a week. Duval County was planning to release its final plans Tuesday, but the mandate is forcing them to adjust. Never before have we had to open schools during a pandemic, said Duval County School Board Chairman Warren Jones. I dont know any other way to put it, said Patrick Canan, St. Johns County School Board Member.
Duval school board chairman wants parents involved in reopening process
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Duval County School Board Chairman Warren Jones said Wednesday the school district wants to hear from the public as it figures out the best way to resume learning this fall. On Tuesday, the school board voted to approve a multi-million dollar plan to buy plexiglass partitions for classroom desks. That process to approve and change calendar dates is one made by a number of groups; parents, teachers, students who are involved, the administration that is involved in setting that calendar. The results were eye-opening for Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene who spoke about the survey during a school board workshop. That could mean more than 1,500 Duval County teachers might not come back, if the USA Today survey results come to fruition.
Sales tax referendum for aging schools; Republican National Convention in Jacksonville; Moving forward on race relations
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. News4Jax political analyst Rick Mullaney, director of the Public Policy Institute at Jacksonville University, is the guest host of this edition of This Week in Jacksonville.Duval County School Board Chairman Warren Jones weighs in on the upcoming vote for the half-cent sales tax referendum. Jacksonville Civic Council Chairman John Delaney, a former mayor of Jacksonville and a former president of the University of North Florida, discusses the upcoming Republican National Convention and race relations locally and nationally.
Board votes to explore removing Confederate names from Duval schools
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Amid renewed calls for the renaming of schools dedicated to Confederate civil war figures, the Duval County Public School Board voted Tuesday night to explore changing the names of six schools. The unanimous vote came after a letter from School Board Chairman Warren Jones recommending the board approve the renaming of J.E.B. Stuart Middle School, Stonewall Jackson Elementary School, Joseph Finegan Elementary School, Jefferson Davis Middle School, Edmund Kirby Smith Middle School and Robert E. Lee High School. In 2013, the Duval County school board voted unanimously to change the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School, later renaming it Westside High School. Demonstrators stood outside the Duval County School Board building before the meeting, holding signs, urging the district to take action.
Families can weigh in on proposed elementary school consolidations
The schools impacted include, but are not limited to Brentwood Elementary School, John Love Elementary School, and Carter G. Woodson Elementary School. For John Love Elementary, the district's recommendation is to combine it into Long Branch Elementary 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.
City Council approves school sales tax referendum for November ballot
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville City Council on Tuesday night voted 18-1 to add a referendum on a half-cent sales tax for Duval County schools to the ballot in November. Upset by the slow-moving process, and ultimately, the withdrawal of the bill last August, Duval County Public Schools sued the city the following month about the failure to bring the measure to voters. The half-cent sales tax would be in effect for 15 years and could net $1.2 billion. The Finance committee voted 7-0 in favor, while the Rules committee voted 6-1 in favor. We have a great opportunity to take care of kids, teachers, and Public schools while creating jobs!
School board chairman: Moving to elected superintendent would be a step backward
Jones also raised the point Tuesday night during a school board meeting, making his argument against an elected superintendent in a slideshow presentation. Jones also said superintendent appointments made by school board members draw from a larger pool of candidates, not just from people who live in Jacksonville. “This should be decided by voters, not by a small group of politicians,” Fischer, a former school board member, told News4Jax on Monday. The Duval County School Board voted unanimously in opposition. Currently, the district is led by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Diana Greene, who was appointed by the school board.
Duval County Public Schools welcomes new chairman
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Duval County school board is welcoming its newest chairman and vice chairwoman. The ceremony officially marked the start of Jones' tenure as school board chairman, replacing outgoing school board chair, Lori Hershey. HAPPENING NOW | Warren Jones sworn in tonight as School Board Chairman. #DuvalRising pic.twitter.com/e86a0Fid4w — DCPS (@DuvalSchools) November 19, 2019HAPPENING NOW | Elizabeth Andersen is sworn in as School Board Vice Chairman. There is currently a battle over whether the school board has the right to hire its own legal counsel.
Set back, victory for half-cent sales tax bill for schools
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The effort to put a half-cent sales tax that would benefit schools on a ballot for Duval County voters this year suffered a setback Tuesday but also claimed a victory. The City Council Finance Committee voted 5-2 to withdraw the bill. He said its up to the City Council to watch how tax dollars are being spent. We are doing exactly what we are supposed to do.Duval County School Board Vice Chairman Warren Jones disagreed. Both sides agree it's too late to put the issue on the ballot this November, but the School Board is still hoping December could be an option.
2 City Council committees vote to push back school sales tax decision
The Finance Committee voted unanimously in the morning to defer any vote on the sales tax referendum requested by the Duval County School Board. "I was disappointed in the fact that the school board administration and board members were here to answer questions and never got a chance to be asked questions." Warren Jones, vice-chairman of the Duval County School Board and a former member of City Council, was less diplomatic. On Monday, City Council President Scott Wilson joined the School Board for its workshop to discuss the issue. According to School Board Chair Lori Hershey, quite a lot -- especially when it comes to the bottom line.