Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Duval Schools: No Delay on Boundary Vote; Obscure Rule Means Board Will Vote in January on Proposed Changes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Duval Schools: No Delay on Boundary Vote; Obscure Rule Means Board Will Vote in January on Proposed Changes

Article excerpt

Byline: Denise Smith Amos

The Duval School Board reversed itself again and decided against taking extra time to consider changes to 17 Duval school boundaries and academic programs.

The board Tuesday failed to muster enough votes to waive a board policy that set the deadline on the boundary change vote.

Board members last month discussed delaying by several months the process of changing boundaries, academic programs or grade configurations at the 17 Duval schools.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti proposed these changes:

- Making new magnet or specialized schools from Andrew Jackson High (computer science, robotics), Wolfson High (international studies), Ed White High (military), A. Philip Randolph Academies of Technology (vocational trades), Matthew Gilbert Middle (medical magnet), Joseph Stilwell Middle (performing arts) and Northwestern Middle (vocational trade or performing arts)

- Changing Oak Hill Elementary into an autism center and R.L. Brown into a gifted and talented school

- Creating primary schools - for preschool through second grades - at West Jacksonville, Long Branch, and Hyde Grove elementaries while converting Hyde Park to grades three to six

- Shrinking attendance boundaries at First Coast High and Oceanway Middle to relieve overcrowding

- Moving the Young Men's Leadership Academy from Eugene Butler Middle to Fort Caroline Middle

- Re-purposing John Love Elementary for the Parent Academy, a preschool training center or a Head Start hub.

The changes, if they're approved, would affect thousands of students and families beginning with the next school year.

Current board policy requires that Vitti set up community working groups representing each school affected and that he hold public hearings before the vote. That means the board must vote in January after a public hearing in December. …

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