Duval County School Board Member Calls For Another To Resign

Feb 15, 2016

Duval County School Board members met Monday for a board development meeting.
Credit Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

A Duval County School Board member is calling for another to resign over text messages she sent to the board’s staff auditor.

Jason Fischer is calling for the resignation of Connie Hall.

But Monday’s School Board meeting to discuss discord among members was rescheduled when Hall couldn’t attend.

Last week, WJCT published text messages from Hall to the board’s internal auditor, in which she said Vitti should be fired. This weekend School board Chair Ashley Smith Juarez called a Monday special board development meeting to address board relationships.

“This is something that we’ll have to address as a board,” Juarez said Monday. “Certainly student achievement and a focus on what’s best for students is what is most important to us as a board, but in order to focus on that, we have to be all encompassing in how we relate to one another in the relationships that we build and then how we relate to the public.”

Juarez said Hall emailed her Monday morning to say she was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict, so the board decided to postpone the meeting to a later date.  

Before the meeting was adjourned, Board ember Jason Fischer said Hall should resign over one text calling Vitti “special ed in action.” Vitti, who has dyslexia, said in an email to WJCT that the comment hurt, and the messages show the district’s hostile work environment.

But board member Paula Wright says she doesn’t agree with Vitti on that.

“I look forward to the opportunity to talk about whatever the superintendent defines as a 'hostile environment,' but I assure you, from my perspective, it’s untrue,” she says.

She also says a board member's calling for another to resign doesn't set a tone for collaboration.

Board member Scott Shine said the board’s internal auditor, Michelle Begley, should be discharged over the conversations. He also said board members' text conversations should automatically go into a database for increased transparency.

Many members of the public came to the meeting to in support of Hall. Community organizer Bradford Hall says the text conversation is a distraction from larger issues in the district.

“I want us as a community to focus on what’s more important, and that is student achievement,” he says.

The reschedule date of Monday’s meeting has not been set yet.