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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lame Duck School Board votes on

The school board met this past Monday night and voted 7-0 to approve four new charter schools, to extend the superintendants contract another 2 years and to approve new changes to the strategic plan. It’s not unusual for the school board to approve measures 7-0. They have been more of a rubber stamp for the district rather than an independent board concerned with the cities children, parents, teachers and stake holders. What was different however was its lame duck status. You see three members; Nancy Bronner, Brenda Priestly-Jackson and Vicki Drake will not be on the school board any longer come Wednesday. This however did not stop them from abstaining or passing on voting on measures that will affect the district for years to come.

These three ladies have been on the school board for the last eight years. Arguably the worse eight years for Jacksonville’s public education since generations of blatant racism ended in the sixties. Now there have been problems in the intervening forty years but nothing compared to the about face the district took from a school system filled with promise heading in a positive direction to one filled with have and have not schools, crushed teacher morale, and a student body pushed along without discipline and the skills they need to be successful. This and the lame duck decisions they made Monday night will be their legacy.

The citizens of Jacksonville must now sit back and hope the three newest members of the school board will discard the rubber stamps that had been standard issue to new school board members and decide to represent the whole city not just the superintendent and administrators at 1701 Prudential Drive.

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