Jags to help pay for athletic uniforms with new school names, worth $317k

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Several donors, including Jacksonville Jaguars, have stepped up to provide all the athletic uniforms involved in Duval County’s school renaming process.

These six schools in Duval County will be changing names by August 3:

  • Joseph Finegan Elementary School to Anchor Academy
  • Stonewall Jackson Elementary School to Hidden Oaks Elementary School
  • J.E.B. Stuart Middle School to Westside Middle School
  • Kirby-Smith Middle School to Springfield Middle School
  • Jefferson Davis Middle School to Charger Academy
  • Robert E. Lee High School to Riverside High School

Stepanie Garry Garfunkel, a spokesperson with the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, is crunching these numbers Duval County Public Schools. “Athletic uniforms are a big part of the expense,” she explained. “Both home and away uniforms.”

DCPS says the Jaguars and others are donating all the new athletic uniforms, valued at more than $300,000.

This will allow the fundraising efforts to focus on other aspects of the renaming process, like changing all the signage. “It’s good that somebody thinks that donating is good for the school, and paying for all this stuff,” said Greg Watson, a sophomore at Robert E. Lee High School.

While Watson, who also plays on the football team, supports the change, his friend Simeon Cummings is torn. “Yeah, it’s cool that we have reform going on and stuff like that and we’re bettering the lives of our fellow young black people,” Cummings, who graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 2020, explained. “As far as the history aspect, I feel like it’s not good because we’re losing that.”

Meanwhile, Garfunkel is here to make sure that taxpayers don’t lose. “We’re working really hard to make sure that no taxpayer dollars actually need to be used,” she said.

The total cost of the name change for the six schools is $867,000. So far, this is what the Jacksonville Public Education Fund has raised for Duval County Public Schools: Gift donations (athletic uniforms): $317,000 Cash donations: $79,000 Beverage funds (from a partnership between DCPS and Pepsi): $250,000 The fund still needs $221,000. Garfunkel is confident it will come together. “Community members have stepped forward, companies have stepped forward,” she said.