Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Johns Debate: To Build 1 or 2 New High Schools

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

St. Johns Debate: To Build 1 or 2 New High Schools

Article excerpt

As Duval County struggles just to get schools built, St. Johns

County is trying to decide how many high schools it needs.

Are two new high schools better than one? And, if they are, is

it worth the cost?

Those are two of the questions that a new committee will

address as the St. Johns County School District tries to decide

if two smaller high schools would offer a higher quality of

education than one large one. Complicating the issue, however,

is the cost factor. Not only would it be more expensive to have

to buy two tracts of land and build two separate schools, but

those schools would have less money available to them because

because decreasing student population means decreasing state


"These are factors we need to look at," said Nease High School

Principal Bill Mignon, a committee member.

The committee, which consists of school district staff and

principals, is examining two sizes of schools. The larger

version would house 2,000 students, while the smaller would have

a capacity of 1,500 students.

While two smaller schools housing 1,500 students each would

place the county in a better position to handle growth, that

wasn't the driving force behind the committee arriving at that

number, Mignon said.

Mignon said, so far, the committee has found that the smallest

viable high school size would be 1,500 students. Dropping below

that number requires giving up programs and faculty, Mignon


The committee will meet throughout the summer to study high

schools around the state to see which sizes have been

successful, said David Toner, associate superintendent of

facilities operations.

Where the school -- or schools -- will be built depends on

results of the study.

If two are built, both the northern and the southern ends of

the county will get new high schools, said St. …

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