1. What are the chances it will pass?
Sorry, can’t predict this. But please be aware it is one of the last items on the backside of the ballot. Please be sure to find it and cast your vote!
2. How will that money be used and will that cut into federal/state funding? --
The money will be used to fund the Master Facility Plan. You can see that here: https://www.ourduvalschools.org/see-the-plans . A citizen oversight committee will ensure the revenue is used as planned. If approved by voters, the new revenue would not impact any other state or federal revenue. This is a new revenue source, which voters in many other districts (such as St. Johns) have already approved.
3. After voted on if approved how long will it take to see improvements? –
Once approved, projects will move to implementation immediately. Initial steps are things like design and engineering. Then you will see the bulldozers and other equipment get started. If the voters approve, implementation will begin immediately.
4. How will this benefit schools during COVID-19?
The biggest benefit will be to the community. If approved, this local building program will be an incredible economic boost precisely when our community needs it. One person described this as Jacksonville’s largest building program since the Great Fire. Jobs and economic drivers will be positively impacted.
5. Will this be used to support schools with online school?
Not really. But technology infrastructure is a big part of the plan for schools that need it. If the pandemic were to stretch over a long period of time or return in the future, the investments in technology would have a positive impact.
6. How can I continue to advocate for the referendum?
See www.duvalcbs.com -- This is the website of a political action committee supporting the referendum. As an employee, I can only educate. The PAC can assist you with advocacy.
7. How would these funds benefit students with disabilites? And 8. How would this benefit families in need?
The Jacksonville Education Fund compiled a research brief on how school facility quality impacts learning. Quoting from that brief:
Quality school buildings have been found to contribute to student achievement in several ways:
• Provide light, acoustics and air quality that directly impact learning;
• Offer inviting spaces that enhance student self-belief and desire to be in school;
• Provide technology that optimizes instruction and prepares students for today’s workplace;
• Communicate to children that the community values education; and
• Provide reassurance to students that they are safe and secure in their learning environment.
Because the master facility plan addresses historic inequities in various parts of the city, a successful referendum will ensure that all students will be going to a safer, modern, more effective learning environment. Dollars from the referendum will flow to schools with demonstrated need based on an external engineering study. All schools will benefit, but that study showed some of the greatest needs were in very old schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Students with disabilities will also benefit from the improved learning environments that will become a reality with the a successful referendum.
THANK YOU to Dr. Tracy Pierce (Chief of Marketing and Public Relations, Duval Schools) for answering our 1/2 Penny Questions so thoroughly!