Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Intervene Schools Decision Due Today; Management Group Is Ready but Some Board Members Still Object

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Intervene Schools Decision Due Today; Management Group Is Ready but Some Board Members Still Object

Article excerpt

Byline: Topher Sanders

The interim chairman of the Jacksonville nonprofit that could end up managing the Duval County Public Schools' most struggling schools said Wednesday the group is ready for the job if called upon.

The School Board will vote today at 3 p.m. on whether to hand the district's intervene schools over to the newly created Duval Partners for Excellent Education. That hand-off would only occur if the schools - Andrew Jackson, Raines and Ribault high schools and North Shore K-8 - fail to make enough gains on this year's Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

Today's meeting at the district's administration building is open to the public, and the board will take comments.

John Baker, interim chairman of the Duval Partners for Excellent Education, said the group is ready to manage the schools if the board makes that decision.

"I think we all knew that was a possibility," Baker said of the 12-member body. "If that's what the School Board wants us to do, we'll be happy to do it."

BOARD MEMBERS

School Board members Paula Wright and Betty Burney said Tuesday they respected the individual members of Duval Partners but did not want that group or any management organization to take over the schools. Wright and Burney represent the intervene schools.

"I have incredible respect for those two ladies and I know that they are so dedicated to that community that it has to make you take pause," Baker said. "But as I sift through the facts, I really don't see a viable option."

Marcella Washington, also a member of Duval Partners and a professor of political science at Florida State College at Jacksonville, said the entire School Board and Duval Partners should have a joint meeting.

But Washington specifically said Burney and Wright should meet with Duval Partners so the nonprofit's members can hear directly from the two board members who represent the schools.

"I don't think they've had a chance to even address the group," she said. …

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