Atlantic Beach commissioners ask Duval school board to keep elementary school open

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Atlantic Beach city commission has a new push to save the community’s only public elementary school after a proposal now before the school board suggests closing it.


The Mayor’s Office introduced a resolution Monday night in front of a packed-house meeting asking the Duval County School Board to keep the A-rated school open.

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

“It’s a community center. It’s the epicenter of Atlantic Beach,” Mike Kulik, an Atlantic Beach resident, said.

He moved to Atlantic Beach with the hope that one day his own kids would be enrolled at Atlantic Beach Elementary. Now a sign sits in his front yard that reads “Save Atlantic Beach Elementary”. The same sign you will see up and down Atlantic Beach.

“Let’s keep the school here. Let’s keep it public. Let’s keep kids walking and biking to school and keep it the center of the community,” Kulik said.

Atlantic Beach Elementary is one of thirty total schools district-wide that a plan suggests closing as the district looks to cut overhead costs. The district said it’s just a proposal and still in its very early stages of discussion. But, the City of Atlantic Beach is acting now.

“To take this school today would rip the heart out of our community. So we want this removed from the proposal,” Mayor Curtis Ford said.

RELATED: DCPS School Board votes to push elementary school merger back to 2025

“Our elementary school not only has historical, social and cultural significance, it’s a community cornerstone with immeasurable value,” the resolution states. Losing it “would be a tremendous detriment to the Atlantic Beach community.”

According to the resolution, the school also leads to increased property values and a stronger tax base.

The proposal being considered by the district comes as it faces a funding gap for its master facility plan of about $2 billion. The district blames increasing construction costs and decreasing enrollment.

“We understand the dilemma you face,” Mayor Ford said addressing school board members. “There are many imbalances in the system. This is not one of them,” he said referencing Atlantic Beach Elementary.

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan, an Atlantic Beach resident, was also expected to attend Monday night’s meeting. Action News Jax will have a crew at the meeting and provide updates.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.

Comments on this article