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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The new year for the Duval County School Board ushers in both new and unfinished business.

New business includes Superintendent Nikolai Vitti wanting board support to create four positions to round out his inner circle.

The positions include: Chief Officer, Public Relations and Marketing; Director, Public Relations and Marketing; Chief Officer, Intergovernmental Affairs and Community Involvement; Executive Director, Instructional Programs.

Staff says the positions will not represent new money since other positions are being eliminated.

The board also must wrestle with the class size reduction since the district was tagged with a $7 million penalty by the state for being outside the student-teacher ratio guidelines.

The district is appealing the fine and has detailed an action plan to correct the problem. Staff is confident the fine can be reduced to $1 million.

Vitti says part of the solution is better planning upfront at the beginning of the year.

"I think we have to think about master schedule at the district level earlier on, problem solving before the school year starts to know where our areas of concern are, " said Vitti.

Other options being offered to come into compliance include encouraging more students to take dual enrollment classes, hire associate teachers at less expense to cover classrooms and redrawing attendances zones to better utilize schools and classrooms.

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