Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schools Proposal Gains Support

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Schools Proposal Gains Support

Article excerpt

A majority of the Duval County School Board appears to be moving

toward supporting a new desegregation proposal that is aimed at

ending years of bickering with the Jacksonville NAACP.

Chairwoman Cheryl Donelan and board members Billy Parker and

Susan Wilkinson said yesterday they plan to vote for the

proposal, which was released Tuesday after a closeddoor meeting

between the board and a federal judge.

Also, board member Stan Jordan indicated he could support it,

saying "there may be some room for acceptance." Board members

Gwen Gibson and Gwendola Jones declined to say how they would

vote; Linda Sparks couldn't be reached.

Wilkinson said the board needs to show "real leadership" and

pass the proposal.

"I think we'll see in the years to come that this is the

beginning of improving education across the board in this

system," she said.

The board is scheduled to vote on the proposal during a special

meeting Monday. But even if board members approve it, that

doesn't mean the issue is settled: The proposal still would have

to go to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored

People for approval by local and national officials.

NAACP attorney Michael Sussman, who helped draft the proposal,

has said he supports it. But branch President Anthony Rodgers

said yesterday that NAACP leaders will take their time reviewing

the proposal to make sure "it's something the entire community

can live with."

"I can guarantee you it's not going to be a rush thing,"said

Rodgers, who said the branch's executive committee might take up

the issue next week.

Attorneys for the School Board and NAACP, along with U.S.

District Judge Harvey Schlesinger, put together the proposal

last Thursday after court-ordered desegregation talks appeared

on the verge of collapse.

The proposal softens language in an earlier plan that some

board members feared could lead to students being involuntarily

bused. At the same time, however, it warns that the NAACP could

ask a federal judge to force board members to increase

desegregation efforts if the system doesn't reach

racial-balancing goals. …

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