First we need to move the school board building. For a second year in a row Jackson high school which is in a neighborhood desperate for economic development has less than 500 students. They should be folded into Ribault, Raines, Paxon, Stanton, Darnell-Cookman or A. Phillip Randolph and the central offices should be moved there. The cost plus a nice piece of change could be made up by selling the current building which is a prime piece of real estate.
Next we should change the start time for high schools. All the research indicates we are starting our high school students behind the 8 ball with our early start times. Neighboring counties are starting later in the day as well. St. Johns starts at 9:15, and Nassau county starts at 9. Forgive my pun but its past time Duval got with the times.
Then we desperately need a one cent sales tax to address local education issues. There is no help coming from Tallahassee as they have abdicated their responsibility to properly fund public education. Our teachers are some of the lowest paid in the nation and our buildings are some of the oldest. We have to give the people of Jacksonville like so many other counties have the opportunity to support our public schools, even very conservative Clay county approved a half cent sales tax for education. I get it nobody likes taxes but I hope we dislike teachers working multiple jobs to make ends meet, schools that are crumbling and ill prepared for life students more.
Finally no more charter schools or charter school expansions unless they prove they fill a need or employ some unique innovation. We have dozens and dozens of public schools which are way below capacity, negatively impacted by charter schools that bring nothing new to the table. There should be more requirements to opening a charter school than one can fill out a form.
We have a lot of great things going on in the district, a dedicated staff and amazing children, but i don’t think anybody believes we are where we could or should be. Above will help us get there.