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Crowded classrooms concerning Duval County parents

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Updated: 9/24/2013 6:34 pm
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- Children may not be getting the attention the state of Florida requires in Duval County. The district is facing a major overcrowding issue in several school classrooms.

"It makes me consider home school," said mom Jessica O'Brian.

O'Brian isn't OK with the fact her son Jonah has been crammed into a crowded classroom at San Pablo Elementary. Local teachers told Action News they're overwhelmed. Many of their classes have doubled in size from last school year.

"I don't think the children, especially kindergarten and first grade, have the support they need, the attention they're used to getting," O'Brian said.

Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti admitted to Action News that the district wasn't ready for the influx in students.

"We have almost 2,000 more students in our school system than the year before. Overall, we were projecting declines because we have new charter schools that were entering the district," he said.

If Duval County doesn't get the count down by mid-October, it faces millions of dollars in fines. Last year, Duval County forked over $1.5 million for not complying with state guidelines.

"Last year we were 86 percent, right now we're at 75 percent and we still have about a month to go before those numbers are pulled," said Vitti.

O'Brian said, sadly, money isn't enough motivation to give her son the education he deserves.

"It's sad that it's a financial thing that it comes down to because it should just be about the children. It should be about the children," she said.

Vitti said right now the district is feverishly working to move teachers out of schools where enrollment dropped into schools in need. They are also hiring new teachers.

Duval Teachers United filed a grievance with the district for several issues. One of the big ones was classroom size.

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