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

Q: Since school grades were recently released, can you give us an overview for District 7?
A: I’d like to congratulate all the public schools, both traditional and charter,  in District 7 for earning either an “A” or a “B.” Congratulations to new “A” schools, Mandarin Middle School and Greenland Pines Elementary. Congratulations also to Atlantic Coast High School for earning its second consecutive “A,” making it a School of Excellence in the state of Florida. Students in schools in District 7 continue to outperform students in St. Johns County.

Q: What grade did the Duval County School District earn overall?
A: I consider our district grade to be a “B+” since we are only four points away from being an “A” district. Last year we were 11 points away. 

Q: The new school year is upon us. Do you have anything to share with District 7 readers?
A: I’d like to remind everyone to check your child’s school’s website for orientation dates and times and make it a priority to attend. The first day of school will be Aug. 12.

Q: What is the latest news on the proposed half cent sales tax referendum, which appears to be stalled in City Council at this point?
A: We are continuing our conversations with the City Council. Meanwhile, the school board is continuing the work on the Master Plan — things that need to be in place for the referendum to go to the voters. We are drafting policy for the citizens advisory committee that will be set up to oversee revenue and the projects. We continue to work on details for equitable sharing of dollars with charter schools. (Recall that District 7 has the most charter schools in the city.) The board has also begun the process of some schools’ closures and consolidations.

Q: What about school safety?
A: School safety is of utmost importance and whether charter or traditional public school, we are committed that all students attend safe schools. Dr. Green has committed that the first dollars that come in will be used for school safety and security throughout the district. 

I would encourage anyone with questions about the referendum process or the Master Plan to contact me. I’m happy to address groups such as the PTA, SAC or other community organizations interested in learning more.

Q: How can our readers contact you?

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