Open enrollment cancelled in Duval County

Update: March 31, 2014

This controversial topic will not be on the agenda during Tuesday's school board meeing. "Community is not comfortable with open enrollment", said Vitti.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Could Duval's open enrollment proposal shut down the district's lowest performing schools?

About 50 schools have grades of D or F. The new proposal would allow parents to move their kids out of those schools. Sadie Tillis Elementary is a neighborhood school placed in the failing category, yet it's over capacity.

For seven years, Mari-Anne Lee has served as a principal within Duval County Public Schools. She's been at Sadie Tillis for nearly one year and aims to turn things around.

"A letter grade does not determine what is happening with in this school," said Lee.

Many parents disagree. DCPS lost more than $50 million dollars in revenue last year because families opted out of local schools, choosing charter and private schools instead. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti is now proposing a controversial move to keep kids in the district, open enrollment.

Lee says she does not believe her school will suffer if students are given the choice to attend any school within DCPS.

"I don't think at this point with the transportation issue that it will necessarily be a mass exodus as some people may believe," said Lee.

According to our news partner The Florida Times-Union, charter schools and "schools of choice," such as magnet schools, get a break when it comes to limits on a classroom sizes. If open-enrollment is implemented, Duval, which has been fined for overcrowding in the past could gain some flexibility with class sizes.

"We are an "F" school here at Sadie Tillis but yet we're over capacity," said Lee.

Lee believes open enrollment would help to even things out, spreading students across the district and filling empty classrooms.

"Parents have bought into our school because we are a part of the community we're a part of their neighborhood," said Lee.

On Tuesday, the second of three meetings was held by the school board to answer questions about open enrollment and the district's budget.

Another meeting will be held Thursday night at Matthew Gilbert Middle at 6 pm.

The board is set to vote on open enrollment on April 1st.


Duval County students possibly given school choice

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