Plans could change future for 'at-risk' schools in Duval County

"D" and "F" grades over the past few years instead of "C" grades could mean closing the doors for Lake Forrest Elementary, Matthew Gilbert and Northwestern Middle School.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ---The future of three schools in Duval County are up in the air. Receiving "D's" and "F's" instead of "C's" on state tests could mean closing the doors for Lake Forest Elementary, Matthew Gilbert Middle School and Northwestern Middle School.

The districts Interim Superintendent is expected to release plans for their future Friday.

If any of the schools fail to earn a 'C' grade on state report cards this summer, Duval County School Officials will have four possible options: Close the schools, turn them over to an outside operator, turn them over to a charter school or convert the schools into a 'district-run' charter school. The possible changes will impact over 1,300 students.

“We’re now dealing with a community concerned about where their school is going to be," Duval County school board member Scott Shine said.

If students at Lake Forest Elementary, Matthew Gilbert Middle School and Northwestern Middle School don't improve their scores in the next round of state testing, they could see their doors close, among other options.

“We could turn one of these schools into a district run charter school," Shine said.

Shine doesn't see this option likely or the option to have an existing charter school take over the buildings.

State law required a plan to be in place by Friday, but Shine said he's hearing officials will have more time to make a decision.

“The district has told me, the Board of Eduction is going to allow us and other districts around the state more time to finalize these plans," Shine said.

Parents refused to talk about the issue on camera, when asked about the potential plans, but many were surprised to hear the choices.

Susan Henderson teaches third grade at Lake Forrest Elementary and believes the community will come together and help lift student's scores to avoid changes.

“I believe the community is going to come out of the woodworks and get involved and wanting to see things change and I think this was a wake up call for the community,” Henderson said.

An important note to be made in terms of these plans, they’re simply that, they still have to go through a public comment phase and would have to be approved by the Board of Education before anything is final.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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