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The difference between Duval and St. Johns Counties (rough draft)

There are a lot of demographic differences but what I am talking about is how they engage the community. In Duval we have relied on a small group of business people who created the QEA to fill the gap between our resources and our needs while in St. Johns they have asked the entire community to step up.

Being business people not only did they demand control of how the money was used, in effect creating policy, something they were not elected to do but they went with business solutions putting the lion's share into a merit pay scheme that evidence says is doomed to fail. Much of the rest of the money is being given to temporary teachers (TFA) instead of investing in putting professionals in our classrooms. The long and short of it is we seceded control of our schools and went with with measures that history says will not work.

St. Johns on the other hand when faced with a gap between their needs and resources has gone to the entire community and asked them to contribute through a sales ta referendum. By doing this the experts, those elected and appointed to do the job remain in control, something Duval cannot say with the growing influence of both the QEA and the JPEF.

I wrote about Duval trying for a half cent sales tax to support education eight years ago, that would mirror what several south Florida districts were doing.

I get taxes aren't popular and most people feel they are paying to much already and others think the district isn't properly using what resources they have and to some degree I can agree with that but with that being said we do have needs, needs that Tallahassee has shown no interest in addressing. The question becomes do we want to give control to a group of millionaires without any education experience and an agenda or do we want the community to take responsibility.

To learn what St. Johns is doing click the link:
http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2015-06-30/story/st-johns-county-school-board-sales-tax-measure-advances

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