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Duval School Board To Vote On $1.2M Contract To Recruit Students


With as many as 30,000 students attending charter schools and private schools or being home-schooled in Duval County, the local school board is considering hiring a contractor to help entice students back to traditional public schools. 

State funding for public schools depends heavily on the number of students who attend them.  The Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) district said it could gain as much as $14.8 million by attracting 2,000 students to public neighborhood schools from charters, private schools and homeschooling. 

A contract worth as much as $1.2 million has been drawn up with Tennessee-based firm Caissa Public Strategy, which says it specializes in targeted ad campaigns to recruiting students to public schools, including from charter schools and private schools. 

According to DCPS, as many as 30,000 of the district’s children don’t attend their neighborhood school. About half of them go to one of 35 charters, according to an analysis by WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union

The matter of recruiting and retaining students appeared in DCPS’ most recent financial report, which said, “Full-time equivalent (FTE) dollars flow to the charter schools based on the number of FTE students. Over the last five years, charter school FTE has grown from 10,834 in fiscal year 2014-15 to 17,445 in fiscal year 2019-20. The District is marketing public schools and programs to attract students back to District schools.”

A spokesperson for DCPS was not able to respond to specific questions about the contract by the time of this story’s publication. 

The DCPS School Board will vote on the contract at its 6 p.m. Monday, July 12, meeting at 1701 Prudential Drive. 

Contact Sydney Boles at, or on Twitter at@sydneyboles.

Sydney manages community engagement programs like WJCT News' Coronavirus Texting Service. Originally from the mountains of upstate New York, she relocated to Jacksonville from Kentucky, where she reported on Appalachia's coal industry.