Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Holzendorf: Board Plan `Dastardly'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Holzendorf: Board Plan `Dastardly'

Article excerpt

State Sen. Betty Holzendorf said yesterday she would support the

NAACP if it decides to go court to block the Duval County School

Board's new building plan.

Holzendorf, an NAACP member, said she is unhappy that the

School Board this month changed a building plan that it had

negotiated with NAACP leaders during desegregation talks.

Changes included dropping plans to replace two elementary

schools in predominantly black areas of Northwest Jacksonville.

"I think it was the most dastardly thing they have ever done,"

Holzendorf, D-Jacksonville, said.

NAACP members have long discussed seeking an injunction to

block schoolbuilding plans if they felt the plans would hurt

desegregation efforts.

School Board Chairwoman Cheryl Donelan said the board is aware

it could face a challenge to the building plan. But she said

attorneys have told the board they can back up the changes made

this month.

Donelan said the board decided not to replace Moncrief and

North Shore elementaries, in part, because a recently released

facilities study showed that the current buildings are in good

shape.

"The fact is, how can you justify tearing down a perfectly good

structure?" she said. "Taxpayers' dollars are so limited, and we

have to do the best that we can with what we have."

School Board members and NAACP leaders negotiated a seven-year,

$318.4 million building plan this spring as part of a proposed

desegregation agreement. The plan called for building 14

schools, most in predominantly white suburbs, and for renovating

schools in older areas.

NAACP members, however, rejected the proposed desegregation

agreement in May. With the proposal in limbo, School Board

members voted July 16 to change the building plan, boosting

construction in the suburbs and doing away with the new

Northwest Jacksonville schools. …

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