Q: Can you tell us about the joint meeting between the Duval County School Board and the Jacksonville City Council that took place on April 16?
A: This was a great opportunity for the city council and the school board to have a conversation about how we can better work together. We discussed the half penny referendum and associated projects. In May the school board will launch a dashboard, accessible via the district’s website, that will keep track of the half penny budget and how the money is being distributed. It’s a great way for the public to keep up to date.
Q: What was another takeaway from the joint meeting?
A: Council President Tommy Hazouri discussed the fact that there are two high schools in the city that do not have a pool on site — First Coast High School and Atlantic Coast High School. He expressed an interest in the city council looking at how the city and the school board could work together to put a pool at each of these high schools. It’s important to note that all of our high schools’ pools are joint use — for the school’s swim team, and for public access during the summer — so it’s not the sole responsibility of either the school board or the city council to build a pool. The conversation about this subject is just starting, and I’m thrilled about the prospect.
Q: Do you have an update on the school district potentially moving from its riverfront office building?
A: Last December, I presented a resolution to the school board to move our office building off the river. The district is now hiring a consultant to review and appraise the district’s administration facilities, to include the riverfront building and others like the Schultz Center, to make a recommendation to the board. We are following a model used by JEA. Over the past four to five years, we’ve seen the appraised value of the riverfront building increase from about $8 million to about $12 million. By the beginning of 2022, we should see proposals for the relocation of the district office.
Q: Do you have anything else to share with District 7?
A: Yes! I’d like to congratulate the district’s School Related Employee of the Year, Cheryl Hartley, who works at Crown Point Elementary as a classroom reading paraprofessional.
Q: How can our readers contact you?
A: They can email me at HersheyL@duvalschools.org or call me at (904) 316-3609.