Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Reversal Came after Scott Meeting; Duval School Appeal, Now Supported, Up for Vote Today

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Reversal Came after Scott Meeting; Duval School Appeal, Now Supported, Up for Vote Today

Article excerpt

Byline: Topher Sanders

As Duval Partners for Excellent Education put off a decision on its future Monday, new light was shed on last week's stunning decision by the state education commissioner to reverse himself and recommend that Duval County Public Schools get another year to run its most struggling schools.

Interim Education Commissioner John Winn, who recommended July 12 that the State Board of Education reject appeals from Duval and Miami-Dade for more time to run their intervene schools, reversed himself days later after the superintendents of those school districts met Friday with Gov. Rick Scott and the incoming education commissioner, Gerard Robinson, in Miami.

Intervene schools are the lowest-performing schools in the state. Duval's four schools - Ribault, Raines and Andrew Jackson high schools and North Shore K-8 - face closure if they do not improve in the next three years.

When Duval Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals was asked Friday why he thought Winn changed his mind, he listed several reasons but failed to note that he and the superintendent of Miami-Dade's school district met with the governor.

At the time, Pratt-Dannals said Winn's reversal was because of concerns raised by the two superintendents as well as from School Board members, community members, politicians and business leaders.

"I think other people weighed in and talked to him and he listened," he said then. "I don't know, I wasn't there to know his process. I'm just thankful that he did it."

Pratt-Dannals could not be reached for comment on Monday, and Scott's office did not reply to inquiries from the Times-Union.

Here is what Scott told the Miami Herald, which first reported the meeting:

"There will be an announcement in the next couple of hours. I had a great meeting with these superintendents," Scott said Friday. "We care about kids and we want to make sure the right things are done for kids. ... We all want to do the right thing, and I'm sure the right thing has happened."

The state board votes on the issue today in Tampa.

On Monday, Duval Partners decided to wait and see what the state board does before determining the group's future. …

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