Duval County School Board votes to change the names of six schools named for Confederates
The vote on the six schools was 5-2 in favor of changing the names.
After a long process of community input, the Duval County School Board voted 5-2 to change the names of six schools honoring Confederates - Joseph Finegan Elementary, Stonewall Jackson Elementary, Kirby-Smith Middle, J.E.B. Stuart Middle, Jefferson Davis Middle and Robert E. Lee High.
Three other names up for consideration - Andrew Jackson High, Ribault Middle, and Ribault High - will remain.
The vote followed the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene.
"We made history," said School Board member Warren Jones, who originally put forward the request to consider renaming the six schools following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. "The students of color who attend those six schools – even the little ones who don’t yet understand the history – will appreciate what we’ve done tonight."
The board members' votes on changing the six Confederate schools were:
- Lori Hershey - NO
- Warren Jones - YES
- Charlotte Joyce - NO
- Elizabeth Andersen - YES
- Darryl Willie - YES
- Kelly Coker - YES
- Cindy Pearson - YES
The Board discussed whether to rename Andrew Jackson High, but in the end, there was not enough support to rename it.
The superintendent's recommendation - and the School Board's vote - also reflected the input of community stakeholders through a school-based balloting process. Students, faculty, PTA members, alumni and community members in the attendance zone were able to cast ballots on whether to change or keep the name and on which alternative name they preferred.
In the board meeting materials, district staff provided the breakdown of the community balloting process, including how students voted in comparison to the other groups. The new school names are listed below with the ballot analysis.
- Joseph Finegan Elementary - Anchor Academy - ballot analysis
- Stonewall Jackson Elementary - Hidden Oaks Elementary - ballot analysis
- Kirby-Smith Middle - Springfield Middle - ballot analysis
- J.E.B. Stuart Middle - Westside Middle - ballot analysis
- Jefferson Davis Middle - Charger Academy - ballot analysis
- Robert E. Lee High - Riverside High - ballot analysis
School Board members asked the community to step forward and help raise the funds to cover the costs of renaming. Here is an update on the School Renaming fundraising efforts.
- This week, the school district estimated the cost of renaming will be lower than previously stated, now estimated about $867,000 for all six schools.
- On Tuesday, the school district confirmed a significant in-kind contribution of athletic uniforms, which covers a significant part of the total expense for the six schools, about $317,000 in total value.
- In addition, about $78,000 has been raised in financial contributions through the School Renaming Fund as of Wednesday, June 2.
- Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene has committed up to $250,000 of beverage revenue from the district's partnership with Pepsi.
- That leaves about $220,000 that still needs to be raised.
Anyone who wishes to contribute to the School Renaming Fund to help cover the costs of the renaming can do so at jaxpef.org/renaming.