Charter schools receive 17% of half-penny sales tax as DCPS considers closing more schools

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Dozens of Duval County Public Schools are at risk of being closed under a proposal now before the school board. It comes as the district blames inflation and a change in state law for an increased Master Facility Plan price tag.


Atlantic Beach Elementary is one of the schools a consultant group hired by the board suggests closing to cut overhead costs. While the district said it’s still early on in discussions, Atlantic Beach leaders and neighbors are already pushing back.

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

“To take it out when it’s highly performing and A-rated would just be a travesty that cannot be undone,” Atlantic Beach Mayor Curtis Ford said.

“We will soon provide all constituencies with the opportunity to voice their thoughts through a districtwide engagement process. No decisions have been made, and we look forward to upcoming discussion around the community,” a DCPS representative said.

The Master Facility Plan faces a funding gap of about $2 billion which DCPS said comes after inflation, decreasing enrollment, and new state laws. Lawmakers passed a bill that requires districts to share revenue with charter schools. It’s something the Florida Education Association stands against.

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

“Why would we divert those dollars away from our public schools. The schools we are required under the constitution to fund,” the organization’s president said.

The district said to date, its collected $363 million from the half-penny sales tax which voters approved in 2020. Charter schools received about 17% of those funds with $62 million. The other $301 million went to the district.

Spar said it comes as federal COVID dollars are also coming to an end.

“That’s making it very difficult for school districts to continue to operate and meet the needs of students like they used to,” he told Action News Jax’s Robert Grant.

A resolution introduced at Atlantic Beach’s city commission meeting Monday night asked the school board to remove Atlantic Beach Elementary from the proposed list of school closures.

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