JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Duval school board has voted 4-3 to establish an outside management agency to manage its four failing schools.
The Duval Public Schools Board vote followed a fiesty debate this afternoon over the futures of four failing schools at a special meeting. The fates of Andrew Jackson, Raines and Ribault high schools, and North Shore K-8 were hanging in the balance.
The approved plan is very similar to one from March where the board and Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals opted to create a board with community and professional leaders to manage the schools.
The board approved today, the Duval Partnership for Educational Excellence Board, would be responsible for turning around the failing schools.
The 3 Board Members who voted against the plan say they're not convinced it can work.
Board Member Betty Burney also questioned the cost of hiring and EMO.
"Not once has the Superintendent shared with us how much it will cost for an EMO. An EMO is not free. They're not coming in here saying yoohoo, here we are! An EMO costs money," said Burney.
Pratt-Dannals says the total cost will depend on the state's recommendations.
The state-mandated options were creating an emergency management organization to oversee the schools, creating charter schools or closing the schools.
More than 2,000 people in less than a day responded to an online survey provided by the district on how to handle the city's four failing schools.
The online survey on the district's website spelled out the three options.
More than half -- 1,112 votes, 55 percent -- chose to contract with an Educational Management Organization, the option also favored by Pratt-Dannals.
Twenty-six percent of the respondents, 529 votes, want to close the school and reassign the students.
The remaining 19 percent, 385 votes, want to convert the schools to charter schools.
Wednesday night, parents directly affected were reached by phone for their opinion.
The Duval Partnership for Educational Excellence Board:
John Baker: Chairman of the Board, KIPP Jacksonville; Chairman of the Board, Tiger Academy; Executive Chairman, Patriot Transportation; Former CEO, Florida Rock and Patriot Transportation
Pete Carpenter: Former CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board, CSX Railroad
Carrie Davis: Executive Director, Wealth Watchers
Hugh Greene: President/CEO, Baptist Health Systems; Chairman of the Board, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce
Adam Herbert: Former President, University of North Florida; Former Chancellor State University of Indiana
Ken Manuel: Associate State Director, SACS/CASI Advanced Education; Former Regional Superintendent, Duval County Public Schools
Estelle McKissick: Director, BEST Academy at Bethel Baptist Institutional Church; Former Principal, Duval County Public Schools
Roslyn Phillips: Chief Community Officer, City of Jacksonville
Dr. Roy Singleton: Retired Associate Professor of Education, University of North Florida; Acting Chairperson, Communications Department, Edward Waters College
Marcella Washington: Professor of Political Science, Florida State College of Jacksonville
Dr. Alvin White: Educational Field Consultant/Immediate Past Florida Chair, SACS/CASI Advanced Education; Former Chief of Staff, Duval County Public Schools
Reverend Marvin Zanders Pastor: St. Paul A.M.E. Church
First Coast News