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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tommy Hazouri questions Jacksonville's magnet school programs


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tommy Hazouri, former Jacksonville mayor and current Duval County School Board member, got a strong response Thursday morning after saying the school system is "reviewing the entire magnet program as we know it."

Hazouri, speaking on WJCT-FM's First Coast Connect program, told host Melissa Ross that "what everybody wants is a school that provides high-quality education in their neighborhood."

Pressed by Ross, Hazouri said the school district is already reviewing the magnet school structure.

Tommy Hazouri

While praising the success of nationally recognized programs at Stanton College Preparatory, Paxon School for Advanced Studies and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, he said he favors putting similar programs in neighborhood schools.

"We want our magnet schools to be applicable to every school in Duval County," Hazouri said. "The intellectual ones ... I'd love for them to stay home and do their thing."

Ross said the telephones, emails and tweets to her call-in show took off after Hazouri made the comments. His comments come as busing was removed from seven magnet schools -- including Stanton and Paxon -- to save money for the budget-strapped district.

Meetings for parents to discuss alternative, parent-funded options for transportation are being held this week and next at each of the affected schools.

"I could leave here today, and (hear) 'Hazouri's saying we're going to get rid of Stanton.' That's not the case. I was at the graduation for Stanton this year. It felt like I was at the national spelling be ... so intellectual," he said during the radio broadcast.

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