Duval County To Consider Legal Action Against New Education Law

Jul 18, 2017

Duval County School Board Chair said the district will discuss a possible lawsuit against a new state law that many districts say unfairly favors charter schools.
Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

The Duval County School Board is considering suing over a new state law that many districts say unfairly favors charter schools. The board is set to discuss the possibility of legal action Wednesday morning.

The controversial law allows state money to incentivize charters to open in place of failing traditional schools and requires local tax revenue for building and maintenance projects to be shared with privately run charters. Several members of Duval’s School Board raised serious concerns over both issues during this year’s state legislative session.

The law is putting two Duval middle schools in danger of closing if they don’t improve next year. Also, Jacksonville’s traditional public schools stand to lose nearly $17 million for capital projects over the next five years because the district has to share that funding with charters.

This month, the Broward County School Board voted to sue over the same law.

“Broward has outlined its five concerns, and it will be interesting to see if our major concerns line up,” Duval School Board Chair Paula Wright said. “Then (we’ll decide) if we want to take a holistic (approach) and begin to reach out to Broward or other counties (to) see about the possibility of coming together.”

Wednesday’s School Board meeting to discuss whether it wants to take legal action is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the DCPS administration building at 1701 Prudential Drive.

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