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Declining school enrollment could scale back Duval construction

Duval Schools.jpg
Claire Heddles

Dwindling enrollment in traditional public schools — prompted by environmental factors like birth rates and housing access, a growing number of local charter schools and the coronavirus pandemic — is leading Duval County Public Schools leaders to consider potentially downsizing some construction plans that were originally touted in the master plan campaign funded by a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2020.

At least 20 schools' plans, including at least six scheduled for new construction and 14 expecting maintenance and renovations, could be affected. But conversations are in preliminary stages and decisions likely won't be made for at least another year or more.

The news comes as Duval County has seen charter school enrollment grow in five years by 46 percent to 21,013 the 2021-22 school year and traditional enrollment decrease over five years by 6 percent to 107,059 this school year.

Read the rest of this story at WJCT News partner The Florida Times-Union.