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Duval School Board To Seek Outside Counsel

Cyd Hoskinson

After the Duval County School Board’s half-cent sales tax referendum faced a roadblock this week at Tuesday’s Finance and Rules committee meetings, members say they want to take action.

At a meeting Thursday afternoon, Chairwoman Lori Hershey announced to board members that she scheduled a meeting with Jacksonville’s General Counsel Jason Gabriel.

In addition, the board is sending a letter to the Office of General Counsel on Friday morning. In the letter and at the meeting, the board will request outside counsel to define the school board’s role and review the memorandum regarding the impending tax referendum.

“City Council has the ability to set the date, but they should work with the School Board,” Hershey said. “But our inability to sue, because we’re part of the same charter we can’t file a lawsuit.”

Back in May, Jacksonville’s General Counsel Office determined that the City Council could choose “whether and when” voters decide on a sales tax referendum for schools. City attorney Stephen Durden said that even though the state law says a referendum “shall” be placed on the ballot, “sometimes, ‘shall’ means ‘may,’ not guaranteeing an action.

The School Board hopes to specify what its role is — as well as City Council’s — according to state statute.

Read the rest of this story on The Florida Times-Union.