In this special Guest post by School Board Member District 6, Charlotte Austin Joyce shares her thoughts about changing the names of some selected schools in Duval County. We thought her comments were worthy to be posted and applaud her factual take on the matter.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Digg
  • Print Friendly
  • reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon

The proposal before us tonight regarding changing names of some schools first came to my attention during a conversation with Dr. Greene last week. Since that time I have spent a lot of time in prayer. I have prayed and I have pondered…

As I said to Dr. Greene, what Jacksonville really needs is a revival. The bible says God does not see as man sees; for MAN looks at the outward appearance but GOD looks at the heart. Again a change in the desperately wicked hearts of men is what is needed. But that is a work done by the Holy Spirit.

The work of this Board is education. And it is undeniable that there is an achievement gap with our black students and our white students. Bridging that gap with evidence based changes to our teaching, curriculum, and behavioral supports is how we can make a difference that matters. The amount of time it takes to get our students the academic and behavioral supports needed at the elementary level is frustrating for so many of our teachers and parents.

That is just a starting point.

There are many other tangible ways that we can identify and focus our resources to make a difference. Education is power and it is the tool that we have at our disposal that will allow our black students to have the opportunity to prosper. That is the hard work I want us to join hands and do together.

My concern with a hurried and reactive response is that by moving quickly to accomplish a surface change on the outside of schools, one that I fear will not move the needle in closing the achievement gap between our black students and white students, we run the risk of sending the message that “there, we did something” without delivering anything of substance to change what happens inside of schools.

We should also acknowledge and give some thought to unintended consequences that may result from a name change.

First, like what happened when the name of Forrest High school was changed, a name change runs the very real risk of hurting students by cutting off alumni support groups who disengage from schools that they no longer have a connection with.

Second, based on the costs associated with changing the name of Forrest, we can expect the suggested name changes to cost in the neighborhood of a few million dollars. The proponents of this fall’s sales tax referendum should expect voters to wonder how necessary a tax increase is if we are so quickly able to decide that we can afford to spend a few million dollars to put a band-aid on a wide open wound.

Having said all that, the Board has a process for considering proposed name changes and I am ready and willing to participate and certainly support starting a conversation. It is our duty to hear and respond to our constituents and if this proposal will allow the people who live in the communities where these schools are located to have a voice in the board’s decision, I am in favor of hearing all of those voices.

This is the board policy for changing the name of a school. Please refer to Section III, Renaming of Existing School.

NAMING OR RENAMING SCHOOLS 8.59
I. The School Board will name or rename schools. Community input is desired and highly valued; however, the School Board has final authority over the name of any school.

II. Naming a New School
A. The Superintendent (or his designee) shall initiate the naming of a new
school. The Superintendent shall establish procedures for naming a new
school, which include soliciting community input from the following:
1. SAC of the school;
2. PTA of the school;
3. Students of the school;
4. Community members within the school’s attendance zone; and
5. Members of the school’s faculty and staff.

B. The Superintendent shall offer a proposed name to the School Board for
its decision by a vote of the Board. The School Board may, after
considering the Superintendent’s recommendation, request another name
be proposed for its consideration, until the Board approves the name of the
school.

III. Renaming an Existing School
A. The Superintendent, any School Board member, or one of the initiating
entities named below, may submit a written request to the School Board
during a regular Board meeting, requesting the Board rename an existing
school. An “initiating entity” is defined as:
1. SAC of the school;
2. PTA of the school;
3. At least 75% of the school’s students;
4. Alumni of the school (the minimum number of which is at least 75%
of the school’s current student body population, as evidenced by a
signed petition indicating the graduate’s name and graduation year)*;
or
5. Community members within the school’s attendance zone (the
minimum number of which is at least 75% of the school’s current
student body population, as evidenced by a signed petition indicating
the community member’s name and address within the attendance
zone)*.

*Note: The district will have no obligation to verify the accuracy of the petitions presented.

B. Upon receipt of the written request described in subsection III.A. above, the School Board shall decide by a majority vote of the Board whether to accept the written request and refer the matter to the Superintendent for further review. If the School Board accepts the written request, then the
Superintendent shall establish procedures for renaming the school, which
include soliciting community input from the following:
1. SAC of the school;
2. PTA of the school;
3. Students of the school;
4. Community members within the school’s attendance zone;
5. Members of the school’s faculty and staff; and
6. Alumni of the school.

C. The Superintendent shall offer to the School Board for its decision by a vote of the Board, either a proposed new name to the Board or recommend no change to the school’s existing name. The School Board may, after
considering the submission of the Superintendent’s recommendation,
accept or reject the recommendation, or request another name be proposed for its consideration, until the Board makes a final determination of the petition to rename the school.

IV. Requirements applicable to naming or renaming a school:
A. The name of the school shall not be of a person (whether living or
deceased); and

B. The name shall not be in conflict with an existing name of a school.

V. Adjustment to the Name of a School
A. The School Board shall consider requests for the Adjustment of a School
Name that meets the requirements below. A request for a school name
change shall be considered an Adjustment to the School Name if the
following conditions are met:
1. The main portion of the name of the school shall not be changed;
2. The requested adjustment provides additional information about
the program at the school;
3. The requested adjustment will require only minimal changes to
school signage, school colors, team mascots, team uniforms,
school logos, and other impacted areas; and
4. The school support organizations will bear the costs of the
adjustment to the school name, with any district support outlined
and budgeted prior to the approval of the name adjustment.

B. The school principal will submit a request for a school name adjustment to the Superintendent, indicating the requested change. The school principal will include with the request the following documentation:
1. Rationale for the adjustment;
2. SAC approval for the name adjustment, including public notice of
meeting, SAC membership, agenda, and minutes of the meeting
where the recommendation was approved;
3. PTA approval for the name adjustment;
4. Approval from members of the school’s faculty and staff through the
school’s shared governance process;
5. Student approval for the name adjustment;
6. Listing of any necessary changes as a result of the adjustment, to
include by not limited to changes to signage, stationary, and team
uniforms; and
7. Budget for all costs, to include funding source(s).

C. The Superintendent shall review the request of the school for the name
adjustment and shall offer to the School Board for its decision by a vote of
the Board, either a proposed name adjustment to the Board or recommend
no change to the school’s existing name. The School Board may, after
considering the submission of the Superintendent’s recommendation,
accept or reject the recommendation, or request another name be
proposed for its consideration, until the Board makes a final determination
of the petition to adjust the name of the school.

D. Requirements applicable to adjusting the name of a school:
1. The adjustment to the name of the school shall not include the
addition of the name of a person (whether living or deceased);
2. The adjustment to the name shall not be in conflict with an existing
name of a school;
3. The adjustment to the name may not create an undue financial
hardship on the school community, either to support organizations
through changes to the school’s facilities or by requirements to
families to purchase new articles with the adjusted name, such as
school uniforms, jackets, planners, and extracurricular
expenditures solely on the basis of the name adjustment; and
4. The approval of the name adjustment is contingent upon sufficient
funds being raised in order to fully implement all aspects of the
name adjustment, and shall be effective upon the district’s
verification that all funds have been secured.


STATUTORY AUTHORITY: 1001.41, F.S.
LAW(S) IMPLEMENTED:
1001.41 F.S.
HISTORY:
ADOPTED: April 1, 1997
REVISION DATE(S): 11/10/08
03/05/2019
FORMERLY: FF

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts on this matter.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter?

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This