Friday marked the end of the qualifying period for candidates running for a slew of state and local offices, including the Duval County School Board. There is a full slate of candidates for school board, and all of the seats are competitive - meaning that the August 14 primary election is one of the most important in many years.
This year, four of seven districts are up for election. Three of the four seats are open; W.C. Gentry, Tommy Hazouri and Betty Burney are not running for re-election. In the fourth, incumbent Martha Barrett is running against competitor - and former school board member - Cheryl Grymes. (Full disclosure: Cheryl Grymes ran the Alliance for World Class Education, which was the precursor to JPEF.)
With a superintendent search under way, this election is vitally important. With the goal of informing as many people as possible and increasing voter turnout, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, the Duval County Council of PTAs, Save Duval Schools, the Jacksonville Urban League and the Jacksonville Kids Coalition have partnered on an outreach campaign.
This will include a slate of candidate forums, a candidate questionnaire and other information. Look for more information coming your way this week!
In the meantime, here's the rundown on who's running:
School Board, Dist. 1
School Board, Dist. 3
Ashley Smith Juarez
School Board, Dist. 5
Constance Connie" Sands Hall
School Board, Dist. 7
Lori Harrell Hershey
This fall, voters will have a chance to determine the direction of our public schools through four School Board elections and a referendum on a half-penny sales tax for Duval County Public Schools.