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Cheryl Grymes questions my teaching ability and says there is nothing wrong with voting to send money to JCC that sends money to her other employer. (rough draft)

This is my opinion, people at the upper echelon of the education ranks don't like to have their motives questioned. How dare we ask about what they do. I am reminded of the speech Jack Nicholson gave in A Few Good Men.

I have recently written a piece about how DCPS sends money to the Jacksonville Children's Commission and they in turn send money to Big Brother's and Big Sisters. That is irrefutable but it is also without nuance, I also wrote that Big Brothers and Big Sisters used the money to run a team up program, that was incorrect, they use the money to run mentoring programs.

In short DCPS sends money to JCC for team up programs and JCC pays BBBS for mentoring programs. Both Cheryl Grymes and JCC says the money that goes to Big Brothers and Big Sisters, where it does come from the JCC budget comes from a different pot of money.

I can put my mind around this, and at the same time I say it is a distinction without a difference,

The truth is I probably wouldn't care except for the again irrefutable facts that Cheryl Grymes took thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from charter school and school management interests. I probably wouldn't care if there weren't numerous examples of campaign contributors using their influence to enrich themselves. Three years ago a charter school that hadn't even been approved yet started construction because they were so sure their donations would lead to its approval, and you know what, they were right.

I am tired of politicians voting to enrich themselves or their donors. Cheryl Grymes could have said, you know what, JCC sends money to my other employer again an irrefutable fact, I am going to sit this one up for both an abundance of caution and to respect my constituents. She didn't and for some reason me pointing this out makes me the bad guy.

Look at the information I was given.

From the Jacksonville Children’s Commission

JCC Appropriation to Big Brothers Big Sisters
7/1/11 – 6/30/12 - $237,444.00
7/1/11 – 9/30/11 - $  47,155.00 (paid during contract period for 7/1/11 – 6/30/12)
7/1/12 – 6/30/13 - $284,597.99   
7/1/13 – 6/30/14 - $284,598.00
7/1/14 – 6/30/15 - $284,597.99

Funds collected from DCPS (on City’s fiscal year):
2011-12 - $294,300
2012-13 - $294,300
2013-14 - $294,300
2014-15 - $225,000   

Once again, it doesn't do me any good to get something wrong and I admit given the info I had what I published in July lacked nuance and if that confused people I apologize but in my defense sometimes its like pulling teeth to get information out of these people, when they choose not ignoring me, that is. Furthermore I would have written the exact same piece just changing, Big Brothers and Big Sisters uses the money for mentoring programs rather than Team Up.

Here is the note Grymes sent me, I will let you be the judge, if you think I am either on the grassy knoll or if I have legitimate concerns, please let me know.,

I find it interesting that this is the first time you have asked me about this issue even though you chose to write it in your blog. I also find it interesting that Folio would be interested in a reporter (part time or otherwise) who does not do his research. I am a big Folio fan, and have been for quite a while. They did a couple of articles when I was on the School Board the last time (1992-2000). They were fair and balanced and often provided a point of view that may have gotten lost in the rhetoric.

Please see the attached document that will give you the correct information regarding BBBS and our relationship with JCC and the district. When you requested the information from JCC, you failed to clarify information you received.  As an educator in Duval County, It makes me wonder what kind of education your students are getting.

I am happy to discuss this and other issues at any time.


Summary of allegations made by Chris Guerrier on his Blog, Education Matters 

Presented by Cheryl Grymes 

Accusation by Chris Guerrier: 
“Cheryl Grymes improperly uses her school board position to enrich her and her (other) employer.’ 

“The school board contracted with the Jacksonville Children’s Commission (JCC) to run an after school program and the Jacksonville Children’s Commission hired Big Brothers and Big Sisters (BB&BS) who Mrs. Grimes also works for and pays a hefty salary, to run it. Mrs. Grimes voted three times for this to happen.”  

BBBSNEFL is not a contractor for JCC’s afterschool programs and does not run Team Up or 21st Century Learning programs. BBBS is a one-to-one mentoring organization. Our programs include: School based mentoring where the mentor goes to the school to see his/her mentee, Community based mentoring where the mentor and mentee can see each other whenever they want and Beyond School Walls, which is a workplace mentoring program where students travel to a workplace to see their mentors. I did vote for the contract with JCC and did not declare a conflict because there wasn’t one. 

BBBS does contract with JCC for mentoring services in the schools. The funds received by BBBS are city funds voted on by the City Council and sent directly to BBBS from JCC. These funds are a completely different pot of dollars. My salary is not paid from these funds. 

Mr. Guerrier has acted in reckless disregard of the truth by writing false allocations about me in both my School Board role and my role as an employee of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida. These defamatory statements could harm my reputation and damage Big Brothers Big Sisters credibility with our board, donors, children and families we serve and the general community. If Mr. Guerrier would have simply visited the BBBSNEFL website, he would discover that we do not have after school programs. 


  1. Bottom line: This is a pass-through scheme. Her personal attack on you speaks volumes and is a tactic used by those who try to divert focus from the real issue. What makes this troubling is that she is being paid 80k a year by BBBS, but it is not reflected in their annual tax statements. If anything raises suspicion, it is this nondisclosure.
    Very bottom line: If the maligned blog entry of which she speaks reflects your teaching ability, this county and your students are fortunate to have someone with the ability to question and think. Wait... they don't like that, do they?

  2. Wow! Tomato(long a) tomato ( short a) either way she is on the take. The rich get richer. I can't believe she even brought it up. Her defensiveness just proves the point. She is paid for a job and votes in money for the same job on her position as a school board member. Just sit out on the vote and don't bully others into thinking it is okay for you to vote. I would put my child in Chris' class anytime and that is the highest compliment I can give a teacher. However, I would not allow my child to hang around Mrs. Grimes family afraid he would learn the lesson "just get yours to heck with everyone else."

  3. How is this even allowed? Anyone who benefits monetarily or has family and/or business that benefits should not be allowed to make these types of financial decisions. There is a huge conflict of interest. If she doesn't see that, then her logic and reasoning skills are clearly messed up. The fact is she does not want to see it, and I don't like that the fact that people on the school board don't see that this is an issue. She makes more than triple what I make as a teacher between this job above and her school board salary. Um, yeah, let's just say that money is always an issue, and it must be nice to have a reason to justify what is clearly questionable at best.

  4. I think she meant false "allegations" not "allocations". Freudian slip? She's so busted.