Updated: Mar 19, 2019
March 17, 2019 - Over the past few months, Duval County Public Schools has shared information with the community about the challenging state of our school buildings.
These include various structural, mechanical, electrical and interior concerns that impact the learning environment for our staff and students.
While all schools are safe and operational, Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene has made it clear that we cannot ignore the impact the condition of our schools have on the success of our students and staff.
“When facilities are not in good working order, our administrators spend a number of hours focusing on the facilities instead of being instructional leaders and focused on the students,” said Dr. Greene. “They need to focus on teaching and learning, and by having facilities that are modern and in the 21st century – they can do just that.”
With the academic success of our students in mind, the district is moving forward with the next step in this process. In the next few weeks, we will share and discuss a series of draft recommendations that were developed by our consultants.
These draft recommendations involve almost every one of our schools and will be presented in a series of community meetings in each of the seven school board member’s sub district. These meetings will provide us not only an opportunity to discuss the draft plan in detail, but also answer questions and listen to feedback from our school community.
District-level highlights from the draft scenarios include:
Construction of 30 new schools as either replacements on-site or on new sites.
17 consolidations impacting 42 schools with children from those schools attending new or renovated school buildings. (Any buildings no longer in use as a result of the consolidations would be demolished and the land sold to prevent former schools from becoming future blight.)
Security upgrades at all schools and removal of the majority of portables from schools across the district.
Cutting more than 5,000 student seats from the district’s inventory and improving the district’s facility utilization rate.
The projected cost of the plan is $1.95 billion, including $1.03 billion in new construction expenditures and $922 million of expenditures in improvements, renovations and additions. The plan removes more than $1 billion in current backlogged repairs.
The community’s input on this draft plan is important as we seek to construct a shared vision of excellence for public education in Duval County.
“It’s very important that everyone is engaged in this process,” said Dr. Greene. "We need to hear not only from our constituents. We want to hear from the families that are going to be impacted.”
After each meeting, a YouTube presentation of the proposal for that area will be posted, and a link to a survey will enable all constituents to provide input of the proposed plan. The You Tube presentation and link will be available here.
Once we have received and incorporated input from the community, we will work to develop a final plan that will be presented to the Duval County School Board for their review and vote. Whatever the final plan looks like, our goal is to provide every one of our students with an exceptional learning environment.
Watch the video above to view Dr. Greene’s message about this process and why we need the community’s input.