DCPS advertising to attract families as district competes with private and charter schools

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — If you watch TV, you’ve probably seen an ad for Duval County Public Schools recently. While the district says its schools are doing better than they have before grade-wise, other types of schools are pulling students away. According to the district, the biggest threat is charter schools.

“Almost one out of every three charter schools is a D or an F school. So we wanted to take this opportunity to invite those charter school families back to traditional Duval County Public Schools, and that’s what’s behind the campaign,” district spokesperson Tracy Pierce said.


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In the 2017-2018 school year, DCPS’ enrollment was just shy of 115,000 students. Last school year, enrollment fell to a little over 107,000. Meanwhile, charter schools ballooned from around 14,000 students in the 2017-18 school year to over 21,000 last school year.

“We’ve seen overall student enrollment has grown significantly, but much of that enrollment is coming into the district to claim a taxpayer-funded private school voucher to go to a private school,” Pierce said.

He says DCPS hopes advertising will help retain and grow enrollment. It’s an endeavor that will cost $110,000 to $120,000.

The district has done similar campaigns before.

In late June, DCPS shared emotional teacher interviews on social media, discussing the impact of low wages.

Related: DCPS shares emotional interviews with teachers about impact of low pay

The district said the goal was to show voters how a property tax increase could raise teacher pay.

Pierce hopes the district’s latest campaign will also make an impact.

“Our teachers were amazing in the pandemic; our schools did an amazing job. And that quality education is available for all students who are ready to come back to free, traditional public education,” he said.

Pierce also shared some other positives to sending children to DCPS: Students get free lunch, a free computer and free telehealth care (with parental consent).

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