Parents and alumni gathered at Raines High School Wednesday, speaking out against proposed changes at several Jacksonville high schools.
To deal with its aging schools problem, the district presented draft proposals that included turning Ribault and Raines high schools into junior and senior highs.
Northwestern Middle School would be transformed into an elementary school, which would serve students from three current elementary schools.
“We do not want sixth graders mixed with 12th graders,” Gwendolyn Matthews-Smith said. “That just does not work.”
The changes would also include tearing down Raines and replacing it with a new building.
The Raines graduates told Action News Jax that they want children to be safe, but they also want to ensure Raines’ legacy isn’t erased.
Lashonda Holloway said countless athletes and leaders have come out of the school.
“This is very important to this community,” she said. “The schools are the center of this community.”
The district is now re-evaluating several of the draft proposals after concerns from parents.
• J. Allen Axson/Chets Creek elementary schools
• Venetia/Ortega elementary schools
• Ribault High School/Ribault Middle School
• Raines High School/Northwestern Middle School
• Jefferson Davis Middle School to Raines and Ribault along with several other scenarios.
The district is asking parents to come to two meetings to join the conversation.
One will be held May 6 at 6 p.m. at Raines and the second at Ribault on May 9 at 6 p.m.
One other concern the alumni shared – whether Raines would see a name change. The district confirmed to Action News Jax that Ribault and Raines would retain their names.
• The district will preserve the historic architecture of Kirby-Smith Middle and Loretto Elementary in the replacement process, and
• The district will meet the need for a middle school in fast developing southeastern Duval by making the proposed new K-5 into a K-8.
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