Sarah Mannion

is a Jacksonville native and local attorney who knows our public schools. Sarah attended Duval County Public Schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade and is a proud graduate of Wolfson High School. She has three children - one who has graduated from Mandarin High; a rising third grader at Mandarin Oaks; and a 4-year-old who will start kindergarten in the 2025 school year. She has been invested in the success of our schools as a student and a parent. Sarah has dedicated her time to serving DCPS on PTAs and School Advisory Councils. In her legal practice, Sarah has over a decade of experience in bankruptcy law helping families make sound financial decisions, and will bring a critical eye to the improvement of our school system.
She has been civically engaged, serving and leading various Boards of Directors at different local nonprofits. Sarah is a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville (Class of 2023) and is a Fellow in the Jax Chamber Hightower Fellowship Program, Class VIII. She has also been recognized as a Woman of Influence and 40 Under 40 by the Jacksonville Business Journal. 

Sarah is committed to using her experience working with teachers, school administrators, and families to provide a top quality education for our students. Sarah will fight for our kids to feel safe, secure, and supported from kindergarten to graduation.

What are your priorities for Duval County Public Schools?

Retaining and supporting our highly qualified teachers; prioritizing student safety; maintain fiscal responsibility of our budget by reducing expenditures and maximizing revenue opportunities by increased student enrollment and retention.

Why did you choose these as priorities?

Teachers, new and more experienced, are leaving the profession for many reasons - whether they be the current cultural climate, increased cost of living and wages that do not rise with inflation or other pressures of the job. We need to retain and support the qualified teachers that we do have, in more ways than just salary increased (although they need those too)! Without supporting and retaining the teachers we have, newer teachers will not have mentors or anyone to provide them with the guidance they need as they navigate the experience of being a new teacher. We need experienced teachers who understand classroom culture and have the historical and institutional knowledge to be effective educators and leaders. 

Student safety is paramount. We need to be review existing protocols and also new technology in order to maximize our investments into student safety. This includes reviewing older facilities for technological or structural enhancements that will make our schools more secure. We also need students to feel safe in our schools - and this is not just about keeping bad actors out of schools. We need to address why some students feel insecure or unsafe in schools - whether it be by bullies, physical altercations, or fear. A student who does not feel safe and secure with themselves while in school cannot learn at their maximum potential. 

Revenues to the district budget are dropping for a variety of reasons - whether that be decreased funding due to state policies or lower enrollment due to an abundance of options in our area. We have to reevaluate our approach to expenditures. For example, bringing project management in house to the district rather than out-sourcing. Having more open, transparent bidding processes can save schools and the district funding. We need to have thorough audits of our current practices to ensure we are being efficient and transparent and also responsible stewards of taxpayer money. At the same time, we need to increase enrollment at our public schools in order to not only generate more revenue but also improve our system and outcomes for all students in our communities. We need to be creative and invest in the future of our schools and communities.

Although school board members are elected by district, they make decisions for the whole of Duval County, which occasionally leads to conflict. What is your approach and philosophy for making decisions in this situation?

While a school board member is elected by the constituents of a certain district and that member should advocate for their particular schools, a school board member has an obligation to follow and uphold the mission of the school district - to advocate for every child in every school. We need to be making decisions that improve the school district overall, no matter the zip code.

Over the last few years, the Florida Legislature has had a significant impact on local public education. What are your top issues at the state level, and how would you work with legislators in Tallahassee to represent the needs of our students?

Funding revenues is a huge issue at the state level that has greatly impacted our district. For example, the vouchers for private and home schooling; PECO funds only going to charter schools; and the charter share in the half-penny sales tax. The Duval County School Board, along with similarly situated public school systems in Florida (the remaining "Big 7"), should speak with a unified voice as it comes to public school funding. Legislators in Tallahassee should be aware of the accountability and transparency issues that have become concerns among taxpayers. Moreover, legislators in Tallahassee should recognize that student outcomes and achievement should not be political because these children are our future leaders, our future teachers and lawmakers and our future voters.

Please provide a description of how you would differentiate between the governance responsibility of the school board and the management role of the superintendent.

The school board is responsible for the "what." What are the big picture policies that a school board can adopt in furtherance of the mission of the school district? The superintendent is then responsible for the "how" - the implementation of those policies. He is the direct report to the school board and is responsible for the staff below them and also responsible for reporting back to the board on those implementations. The board is then responsible for the executive review of the superintendent and determining how well the policies were implemented.

The Duval County School Board recently heard a consultant’s proposal to redraw school boundaries, align feeder patterns, and consolidate many small or under-enrolled schools and has been collecting input from the community regarding the proposal. What will be your approach to adjusting the Master Facility Plan?

The existing Master Facility Plan should be completely re-done based on correct data on actual utilization of the buildings, not the capacity as the buildings were designed. The consultants also need to make site visits or have others make site visits to determine what work has already been done on the schools under the prior facility plan. There are recommendations in the existing proposal that do not reflect the accurate usage or utilization because the numbers do not factor in VPK or ESE or other usages. The plan also does not take into account the communities around these schools.

The focus groups focused solely on the boundary lines and it did not properly allow for each school's feeder patterns to bring forward all of their ideas and concerns regarding this process. The MFP should go back to the drawing board, perhaps with a different consultant, and have meaningful reviews of each school to account for true utilization figures and also engage in longer and more transparent focus groups with different stakeholders.

While Duval County has made great progress in education, there are still students who are falling behind. How would you maintain a focus on addressing inequities in student performance, including by supporting schools in low-income neighborhoods?

We can invest in partnerships with outside organizations to help eliminate boundaries to student attendance and achievement. For example, if a student has no access to a washer and dryer, we can partner with community groups to provide those facilities, or comparable services, to those schools. We can ensure that our students have access to internet and are food secure. For example, the district has a partnership with Children's Home Society in some of our schools and the outcomes are exceptional. We can also focus on family literacy in low-income neighborhoods. We know that reading at home and reading with parents is so integral to success with literacy in early learning. If we can partner with different community partners to provide family literacy programs and support systems around that (such as transportation to the schools/programs, child care for parents/caregivers, books to read at home that correspond with their reading level), then we can lift whole families and communities.






of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.