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Duval County School Board Considers Boundary Changes, New Specialty, Magnet Schools

Lindsey Kilbride

Drastic changes could be coming to schools primarily in the Northwest districts in Jacksonville. Many schools would become specialties or magnets. A. Philip Randolph would become a vocational trade school, and Oak Hill Elementary an autistic center.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti is asking for community input on school-zone boundary changes he’s proposing for the 2016-2017 school year. He says first PTAs and School Advisory Councils should be engaged. Then working groups would be formed with members including parents, students and staff. They would hold meetings. The groups would then relay their findings to Vitti, who would hold public hearings.

School Board member Paula Wright’s district includes many schools potentially seeing changes. She says her worry is the public will feel like changes have already been decided before their input is allowed.

Vitti says he’s open to modifying or throwing out any of boundary changes if it comes to that. But Wright says she’s still uncomfortable moving forward without more information. The Board scheduled another workshop on the matter for next month.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.