It's not just the schools on the North-side that are underutilized.
By Bradford Hall
We hear all the time about how the schools on the North side of town are underutilized and because of that radical changes have to be made.
However, if you look at the Master Planning File you will see that many of our schools are underutilized all throughout the city and many others are heading that way. Saying that we must do something in "neglected" neighborhoods are not inclusive of the entire problem we face in Duval County.
About 80% of the district's schools within three years will fall to less than 85% utilization. In fact, Atlantic Coast is set to hit 70% utilization by the 2018-19 school year. Ribault High School currently holds a 74% utilization, which has drastically improved from 52% over the past seven years. The enrollment at Ribault has continued to rise for seven consecutive years. Sure there are schools that struggle worse than others but the district constitutes safe enrollment as anywhere between 85% and 105% utilization.
Every area in this city within three years will face underutilization. Even with the district knowing this, they have concentrated all changes in one community. The federal government should be here stopping this travesty. Taking away black schools will not stop the mass exodus of students.
I have sat in rotary meetings where elite businessmen, judges and lawyers have told the Superintendent that St. John's County has become more attractive than Stanton and Paxon. Let's face the truth. The real reason Dr. Vitti is making changes is because he has failed to continue effectively managing the learning environment. If you don’t believe me call other large urban districts in Florida and listen to them tell you how nothing impressive is happening here in Duval County.
I think Vitti has done some great things but student achievement is struggling. I'm more worried about student achievement than anything else! We need to become better informed about what is really happening in our schools.