Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Forrest High or Not? Process to Decide Underway; There Will Be Meetings and Surveys before School Board Makes a Decision

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Forrest High or Not? Process to Decide Underway; There Will Be Meetings and Surveys before School Board Makes a Decision

Article excerpt

Byline: Denise Smith Amos

Duval schools officials plan to survey several Forrest High stakeholder groups about renaming the school in the first half of December and possibly present those results to the School Board before the winter break.

The plan also includes a public town hall meeting on Dec. 10 and a panel discussion for Forrest High students Dec. 11 that would not be open to the public or the media.

The groups likely to be surveyed are the residents who live within school boundaries, its alumni, its current students and staff, and members of its PTA and School Advisory Council.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti told School Board members Thursday morning that he wants to present survey results and his recommendation about whether to change the name before winter break, perhaps during a special board meeting Dec. 18.

What's not clear is when the School Board is likely to vote on the issue.

Board member Paula Wright said so many people in the community have out-of-town holiday plans that she doesn't want to be perceived as not giving them enough time to give their input.

"I am not interested in voting on this at a special meeting in December," she said.

Board Chairman Fel Lee said board members should have some time to discuss the results among themselves before voting.

Vitti said he'd like to present his findings and recommendation to the board soon after the survey results are tabulated, because the results would become public documents subject to public records requests.

Several board members said they have been urged by people in the community to not allow the issue to drag on.

Most of the adult polling will take place at set times at the high school. The surveys will be filled out online, but with restricted access, Vitti said, so district officials can be sure of who is taking the survey.

Out-of-town alumni will have to mail in their results with a copy of their photo ID. Students will be given written surveys, too, so their voting can be done all at once at the school, Vitti said.

The survey will likely ask if the person supports changing the school name and, if yes, what the new name should be. …

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