City Bill Would Allow UNF Professor To Also Serve On Duval's School Board

Feb 8, 2018

A Jacksonville City Councilman wants to change the rules about who can serve on the School Board. This comes after a University of North Florida professor found out it’s illegal for him to hold both positions.

UNF Music Education Professor Timothy Groulx says he loves his career.

“I’m working with college students who want to become band directors, choir directors, elementary music teachers and so forth,” he said.

But also he wants to run for the school board. He used to teach in a school and says he follows the issues. He filed to run over the summer, but he may not be allowed to serve.

The city’s charter lays out the rules for members. “And of course it says you have to be a resident when you’re elected. That’s very normal,” Groulx  said.

But it also prohibits people who hold public employment from serving. City lawyers confirmed to Groulx that he wouldn’t be allowed to hold both jobs

“And that struck me as odd,” he said.

There are a few exceptions. Military service members can serve but state workers, like Groulx,  can’t.  

Councilman Bill Gulliford is sponsoring a change to exclude only local public employees.

“I know in other jurisdictions it’s certainly allowed,” Gulliford said. “I don’t have a problem with a college professor running for the school board but we’ll see what my colleagues think about it.”

Groulx said if the bill passes he hopes to qualify and be on the November ballot. The bill is set to be introduced February 13.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at@lindskilbride.