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School board announces dates for community meetings to discuss school closures and consolidation

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. — If attendance at Tuesday night’s Duval County School Board meeting is any indication, the seven community meetings the board has scheduled to discuss the district’s facilities master plan will be packed.

Nearly 80 people took to the podium Tuesday during a public comment session to share their concerns about looming teacher cuts and possible school closures.

The facilities master plan under consideration for Duval County Public Schools includes a proposal to close nearly 30 schools to close a $1.4 billion budget gap.

The changes would affect almost all DCPS students.

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But nothing has been decided yet and before making a decision, the school district wants to hear the public’s opinion.

Seven community meetings are planned in the district from May 21 to June 20 for the public to voice concerns about the proposal.

Here is the meeting schedule:

  • Tuesday, May 21 : District 2 meeting at Fletcher High School

  • Monday June 10: District 3 meeting at the main administration building

  • Tuesday June 11: District 4 meeting at Stanton College Preparatory School

  • Thursday June 13: District 6 meeting at Ed White High School

  • Monday June 17: District 7 meeting at Atlantic Coast High School

  • Tuesday June 18: District 5 meeting at Paxon School for Advanced Studies

  • Thursday June 20: Terry Parker High School District 1

School board President Darryl Willie said Tuesday the meetings show the school board’s commitment to hearing from the public on the issue.

“It just shows that people are really caring and caring about their school and their options, and I think it’s really important that – yes, we have to make difficult and critical decisions, but we we also want to listen and balance it out,” Willie said.

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At the start of Tuesday’s meeting, Willie noted that potential school closures and consolidations were still in their early stages.

Some at the meeting were also on hand to talk about the district’s recent announcement that it would cut 700 positions due to declining enrollment and the end of COVID-19 funding.

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