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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Duval County School District, not running near student cpacity

The school districts closest to Jacksonville are all running near student capacity. St. Johns is at 92%, Clay County, 97%, Nassau, 94% and Baker County is even running over capacity (5,600 students from a population of 4700 children), which makes me wonder if a few families on the far Westside of town aren’t tweaking the rules just a bit.

The Duval County Public School System on the other hand is running at 85 percent. This means that nearly one in seven children who could get a free public education are not. Their families have decided to home school them, send them to private school or the children have decided that school just isn’t for them. Can you imagine one in seven of your friends turning down free electricity or phone service, what about free food? Because that’s about the equivalent of what families are doing when they turn away from Jacksonville’s public schools.

The worse part I believe is the Duval County Public School system seems okay with this. Despite the fact they take every opportunity to mention that we are a “B” school district something that you would think would attract families back. There was been no, return to your public schools, campaign. Perhaps it’s because they realize that the families that got their children out, probably know better than to look at the districts grade.

Furthermore all throughout the state private school enrollment is declining, except here in Jacksonville. Families are making the sacrifice to move their kids out of our public schools. Who can blame them? We should all want what’s best for our children.

Our school district is missing almost 22,000 children. Our administration and the city should both be concerned and make every effort to get them to return.

County Projected students Children between 6-18 AT capacity
St. Johns 29,334 31,676 92%
Clay County 35,918 37,164 97%
Duval County 123,040 144,839 85%
Nassau County 11,000* 11,654 94%
Baker County 5,600* 4,714 119%
* estimated

I took the amount of residents in each county between ages 6 and 18 and figured out how many there were by using 2009 censes data. I then compared the amount of students attending public schools as printed in the Times Union and the amount of students that could be attending public schools. Are the numbers completely accurate? No, but I believe they give a fairly realistic snap shot. I lost all the five year olds, kindergartners who are required to go to school but I was forced to factor in some 18 year olds that had undoubtedly graduated. Since I lost some and gained others I figured it was a wash. I then divided the number of students the districts had with the number they could have to figure out the capacity that area school districts are running at.

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