Open Enrollment proposal put on hold — what's next

3/31/2014

At a press conference this morning, Dr. Vitti announced that he is pulling the open enrollment proposal from consideration at tomorrow's school board meeting and putting it on indefinite hold.

The reason he cited is the feedback that the district has been receiving at their community budget meetings as well as in other forums, much of it from communities that have historically had underperforming and underenrolled schools. The superintendent said that listening to the community led him to realize that long-held mistrust about closing schools would be an obstacle and a distraction to the overall work to improve the quality of education in schools that need the most help - work that we know that the superintendent is deeply committed to.

Differing opinions within the community about the proposal is also evidenced in the survey that our research team put forward for you to contribute to, with a fairly even split in favorability for the policy ( see a summary of the survey results here). The superintendent said today that he still hopes to make the case to the community that an open enrollment policy would be beneficial, but over a much longer timeline and with ample opportunity for community conversation and trust-building. For now, he hopes to refocus the conversation on how to continue improving student achievement and how to recruit students back to public schools.

We want to thank all delegates and citizens who expressed their opinions both at the district's community meetings and our March 25 ONE by ONE Delegate meeting. Many of you spoke out on all sides of the issue. Building a movement where community members are informed, engaged and take action to strengthen public schools is one of our main goals here at the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. As this movement strengthens, your voice is being heard. It's great to see that the superintendent is prioritizing community feedback, and we're looking forward to seeing the conversation continue.

-- Trey Csar

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