I took a brisk walk on the Riverwalk this morning and stood in front of the Duval County School Board building. It’s a nice building, seems to be in great shape and the view is spectacular!
Year after year there are discussions about the School Board moving off that prime riverfront property and it is still there. The reason is simple: It’s paid for and they have no big rent payments to make. With the big news this week of crumbing schools, (read more here about that: Schools are crumbling), it would not make sense for the School Board to incur overhead costs to house their employees. It would send a messy signal and create a lot of political ill will towards the board and the leadership if they got a brand new building while the schools remain in disarray.
The employees at the School Board have a beautiful view. The Jag stadium is right outside their windows and the river walk is a great place for them to take a lunch break and a brisk walk. It’s a pretty good gig and a beautiful place to work.
It would seem that piece of property would be better served as river front condos or some other tax-paying entity. The School Board is tax-exempt which means we are losing a lot of money. And our city needs a lot of money!
Whoever decided to put that building on the river (and the jail on the other side of the river) should explain to us — “WHY?” What were they thinking? Where was their vision? Was a “deal” made and did someone benefit from the deal? We know there is a background story on these questions but alas it does not serve us well to dwell on the past. The future is here and we encourage the new leadership at the Duval County School Board to do what they can to fix it.
It’s time to stop kicking the can down the riverwalk and figure out how to move out of that space, get some good money for it, use the funds to find new office space and then fix our schools for our children. We encourage the leadership to Create a Vision for the best run school system in the South. They have a long way to go and our children are counting on them to make some good long term, strategic decisions.
Remember…a Vision is the key to a successful life, business and a city. And a school system!!