Parents, teachers, students to Duval school board: Keep Teach for America program

More than a hundred teachers, students and parents packed the Duval County school board meeting Monday night. They were urging the board to keep the $400,000 Teach for America program in the budget.

The program helps bring teachers to the district.

“Without Teach for America I wouldn’t be a teacher today,” a teacher said.

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The halls were packed as current and former Teach for America teachers, as well as students and parents, took to the podium and tried to sway the school board to continue to fund Teach for America.

“If you cut off TFA, those kids, once I graduate, won’t have the same impact that the teachers had on me,” a senior said.

As it stands right now, the majority of the school board wants to cut the program.

"There's no reason to cut this project. At this time, we don't have anything to replace it with and we don't have a budget to use this money for," school board member Scott Shine said.

Shine said with the large number of vacancies in the district, it would be hard to fill those spots without TFA.

"We're going to have to find and recruit at least 50 teachers to fill positions in the hardest schools to find teachers to work," Shine said.

And in within the next month, about 60 teachers are coming to the county for training with TFA and executive director for TFA Darryl Willie said it’s something the district needs.

"It's a pretty significant amount of teachers and to lose that and to not want that back, I think it would be a significant loss for our teachers and kids," Willie said.

The board is looking to cut the $400,000 program because of the cost.

"Programs like that help my daughter to flourish in her academics and if they take that away from her it's going to be bad for them in the long run," parent Shameka Glover said.

The school district has until August 1 to decide if they will keep Teach for America in the budget.

Shine said he has been getting a lot of support from the community to keep the program.

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