A message from Superintendent Greene: Historic School Board Agenda Item

The agenda for our May School Board meeting is now a public document. It contains an item that will change the course of history for our students and for our schools.

The quality of school facilities matters. Here’s why:

  • They provide light, acoustics, and air quality that directly impact learning.
  • They offer inviting spaces that emanate a sense of warmth and community that enhances student self-belief and desire to be in school.
  • They provide technology that optimizes instruction and prepares students for today’s workplace.
  • They communicate to children that their community values education.
  • They are built to maximize student security and safety in today’s unpredictable world.

Duval County public school buildings need substantial improvement. Next Tuesday, May 7, I am recommending that our School Board pass a resolution to ask Duval voters for a voluntary, half-penny sales tax with all of those resources going toward projects to vastly improve school buildings over the next 15 years.

If successful, we will become much more efficient with tax dollars and make neighborhoods more desirable for current and future residents. Property values will be positively impacted, and future employers will see Duval as a community willing to serve the needs of all of its children.

Prior to the vote scheduled for November, we will have completed the long-term facilities master plan, and voters will know how the dollars will be used. Accountability is built-in. If the resolution passes, a community oversight committee will be empaneled to ensure the funding is used appropriately.

Too many of Duval’s public school buildings were built for a different era. They are old, inefficient, deteriorating and inappropriate for today’s rigorous standards and expectations for student achievement. We need to move forward with urgency for our students and for our community.

Duval County Public Schools’ new history begins on May 7. Our students deserve this, and our community deserves this. I look forward to the coming months as we begin to write new chapters of success for public education in Duval County.

Sincerely,

Diana L. Greene, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools