‘No other options:’ Falling traditional school enrollment forces DCPS to cut staff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hundreds of jobs are on the line as Duval County Public Schools faces serious financial concerns. The district said it will cut 706 positions due to financial challenges.


An email from Interim Superintendent Dr. Dana Kriznar went out Friday afternoon leaving some teachers concerned.

“How are people supposed to live their life thinking they may not have a job. It’s just a bad way of doing things,” Chris Guerrieri, a veteran DCPS teacher, said. “This is a discussion we should’ve been having all year long.”

Dr. Kriznar said, “In normal circumstances, the decision to budget for an increase in class sizes would be the last of my recommendations. However, the financial situation is so challenging, it really leaves no other option...”

The email blamed partly falling enrollment in traditional schools, which Guerrieri argued is not new.

“I think it’s the superintendent and school board’s responsibility to inform the community. Not sit back and wait for problems to happen and come up with knee-jerk solutions.”

Duval County’s total student population has grown over the past five years, from 130,000 students in 2019 to 142,000 projected in the next school year. But the number of traditional school students dropped from about 83% of the total student population down to 69% during that same period.

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The district explained tax dollars are following students to charter schools. It comes as state leaders and the Florida Department of Education pushed school choice.

Duval County experienced an approximate 9% drop in traditional school enrollment. That compares to about 9% during the same period in Broward County, 3% in Hillsborough County, and less than 1% in Palm Beach County.

“The state has definitely put DCPS in a hole. But instead of trying to get out of the hole — DCPS got a shovel and made the hole deeper. We need something better than that,” Guerrieri said.

Action News Jax asked FLDOE about the cuts on the heels of increased charter school enrollment, but we have not yet heard back.

“Through whatever adversity we face, I am confident that we will continue meeting the needs of our students and families. While we must make difficult decisions to operate with the funding we have, my pledge is to do all I can to support all of you, especially those of you personally impacted, to the best of my ability,” Kriznar said ending her statement released last week.

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