Q & A with Duval County School Board Member, District 7, Lori Hershey

Q: Can you give us an update on the proposed facilities plan?

A: The School Board will vote on the facilities Master Plan at the July 2 meeting. This comprehensive plan addresses our immense backlog in repair needs, as well as calls for school consolidations and the building of two new schools. 

Q: What is the outlook for District 7 schools under the Master Plan?

A: One of the two new schools is slated to be a K-8 and will be somewhere between Nocatee and Atlantic Coast. I am hopeful that this project will be addressed within the first five years of the plan. The plan will also include removal of portables at Mandarin High School and the addition of a new wing. Atlantic Coast High School will also receive new classroom additions. Loretto Elementary will be able to retain the historical six-room schoolhouse and work will be done to consolidate the sprawling footprint currently onsite, as well as remove portables. All schools in the district will benefit from this plan through upgrades to security.

Q: Will charter schools benefit from funds in the proposed plan?

A: There has been conversation regarding use of dollars from the referendum for charter schools. We must remember that charter schools are public schools and District 7 has eight charter schools currently with a ninth one opening soon. School safety is an important issue for all students and the board will share dollars with charter schools for school safety. There will be a process for charter schools to submit request for additional funds to address infrastructure needs if the building is owned. There will be a separate process for charter schools that lease. 

Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 7?

A: Please check your school’s website in order to properly prepare for the new school year. It’s hard to believe that back to school is around the corner and that registration/orientation will begin soon at many of our schools.

Q: How can our readers contact you?

A: They can email me at HersheyL@duvalschools.org or call me at (904) 316-3609.