Five steps moving our school buildings forward
Duval County voters approved the half-penny for schools by 67 percent on Nov. 3. Now, work is beginning on the $1.9 billion plan to upgrade schools across the district. Here are five things happening now to move our school buildings forward:
- The citizens oversight committee is expected to begin meeting in January. The district will provide reports and detailed updates on plans, progress, and spending to ensure funds are used as promised. Membership of the group is set in School Board Policy 9.66, which you can find here. JPEF has a representative on the body and will be providing updates to the public via our blog, social media and e-newsletter, INSIGHTS.
- A project management firm will be selected to oversee the early projects as the school district ramps up its own personnel to manage the construction internally. The district’s facilities team has an open call for proposals now. After the proposals are evaluated, the district will make a recommendation for the board’s approval in early 2021.
- A prototype design for Rutledge Pearson Elementary is underway. Rutledge Pearson is scheduled for a new school on the same site as the current facility, located in Northwest Jacksonville. The new school will receive students from three separate schools that are being consolidated into a larger, brand new facility with an estimated cost of $28 million. The school is named for Rutledge Pearson, a civil rights activist in Jacksonville who was also an educator.
- Prototype designs are also underway for safety and security improvements. The design plans will include safety and security measures specifically designed for elementary, middle, and high schools. Within three years, safety and security upgrades will be made to every school building.
- The half-penny will take effect in January, bumping the sales tax to 7.5 percent. The first revenues will arrive in February or March. The district’s finance team is currently exploring the best timing for a bond issue, which will allow the district to borrow against the guaranteed revenue of the half-penny over 15 years. A bond issue will provide funds to allow the district to start building and improving schools at a faster pace.
The master facilities plan is the largest public infrastructure project in Duval County since the Great Fire of 1901. Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay informed on more exciting developments as the plan unfolds.