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Parents of Fishweir Elementary protest school consolidation
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Parents of Fishweir Elementary protest school consolidation

  • PublishedMay 26, 2024



The group of parents, students and teachers walked two miles on Saturday morning to shed light on how far children will have to travel if their school is closed.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Parents and teachers in Jacksonville’s Avondale area are taking a stand against school consolidation.

A group of parents whose children go to Fishweir Elementary School walked two miles from Fishweir Park to Murray Hill Park on Saturday morning to shed light on how far children will have to travel if their school is closed.

The walk stood as a demonstration against the proposed plan presented to the Duval County School Board to shutter several schools across Jacksonville, including Fishweir Elementary and nine other elementary schools.

If the proposed school consolidation were to go through, students at Fishweir Elementary would go to Ruth Upson Elementary in Murray Hill on the other side of Highway 17.

“We suspect that the children won’t be able to walk to their neighborhood school safely,” said Marcus Pickering, a teacher at Fishweir Elementary.

The proposal to consolidate schools comes as the district looks to fix its $1.4 billion budget gap; with that could also come job cuts and larger classroom sizes.

The pandemic, inflation and the rise of charter schools have flipped the district’s financial outlook.

One month ago, Interim Superintendent Dr. Dana Kriznar said Duval County Public Schools was estimating cutting hundreds of jobs and increasing classroom sizes in response to “extraordinary” financial challenges.

“Mostly, I think the children just want to feel safe and secure in their neighborhood schools and that’s what we have now,” said Pickering.

DCPS is hosting six more public forums where parents and the community can learn more about the proposal and ask questions about possible changes coming to the school district. 

The next meeting is set for June 10 at the school district headquarters on Jacksonville’s Southbank.

READ MORE: Here’s where you can give feedback on possible changes coming to DCPS



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