• Education commissioner claims kids don't need 'Taj Mahals' regarding DCPS need for new schools

    By: Jenna Bourne , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Story published 7/16/19:

    Wooden beams are holding up the ceiling inside one Duval County elementary school classroom.

    MORE: See the list: 40 local elementary schools considered low-performing, FDOE says

    That’s why district leaders want a referendum to raise the sales tax by half-a-cent, to fix its aging buildings. 

    Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran is skeptical.


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    “You can teach Plato under a tree. Building kids Taj Mahals is not going to change their educational outcome,” Corcoran said.

    Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene disagreed with Corcoran’s Taj Mahal comparison.

    “Well, we’re not looking at Taj Mahal structures. We have the oldest facilities in the state of Florida. We have facilities that are a century, a half century, decades old that need massive repairs,” Greene said.

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    A district spokesperson said DCPS budgeted to build new schools similarly to the way the St. Johns County School District budgeted with its half-cent sales tax revenue.

    Corcoran said attracting talented teachers would have a bigger impact on Duval County students’ learning.

    “Even if we built every single child a $100 million building, have we done anything to alter their educational outcome? The answer is no. What matters is getting that money in the pockets of great teachers,” Corcoran said.

    A DCPS spokesperson said that if the sales tax increase gets approved, it will cost the average Jacksonville family $6 a month.

    Related: DCPS suggests proposals for aging school improvements, replacementDuval County Public Schools outlines a solution for aging school | DCPS previews “Facilities Master Plan” for aging schools | Duval County Public Schools discusses how to fund nearly $2 billion to repair, replace schools | Duval County Public School Board to vote on half-cent sales tax to fund repairs, new schools | School board passes plan for half-cent sales tax to upgrade Duval County schools | DCPS proposes $1.9 billion master plan to fix aging schools | DCPS fires back about claim that its plan to improve buildings is ‘excessively expensive’ | Oversight committee proposed to monitor DCPS, $1.08 billion spending plan to improve schools

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