State Cuts in Facility Funding: Impact on the Classroom
In 2009 and 2010, the State of Florida cut the funding school districts received for renovation, maintenance, and new building construction. Because Duval has the oldest schools of any large school district in the state, the impact of these cuts has been severe. The district has not been able to build a new school since 2010. Almost 500 portables are spread around the district to manage school crowding. Only the most urgent facility problems, such as safety systems and air conditioning failure, can be fixed. This has led to extensive backlogs of maintenance and repair needs. In this video, teachers speak of the effects of this on learning. A half-cent sales tax would enable the district to clear the backlog of maintenance issues and eliminate most, if not all, portables in the district.
See the Problems Facing Our Schools
The average age of our schools is 44 years old. Due to a decline in funding over the last several years, needed maintenance does not get completed. Here are a few examples of what students and teachers experience in many of the aging schools.
Elementary school in west Jacksonville
This elementary school in west Jacksonville has four consecutive classrooms with ceiling supports blocking off the back wall and windows to each room. The four classes were relocated as the supports were put into place as a temporary fix for the 2018-2019 school year, so the ceiling would not fall into the classrooms mid-year. Some teachers decorated the supports in the classroom, as they've become seen as a permanent addition.
Middle school in north Jacksonville
This stairwell at a middle school in north Jacksonville has been roped off to students for its excessive corrosion. The stairway, although being a vital pathway for students to go to their classes on-time, has been blocked off for its safety concerns.
Elementary school in the Urban Core
This elementary school's media center was flooded due to a rusted pin-hole in the school's sprinkler system pipe. The media center was off-limits to students for 5 days, and the cost of repair and a new carpet was nearly $20,000.
High school in Northwest Jacksonville
This high school in the urban core is known for not having windows in any of their classrooms. Studies done by the US Green Building Council have shown that natural light is conducive to productivity and learning. Without proper maintenance in the school, classrooms are missing floor tiles, electrical wiring is being held together by zip ties and inconsistent air conditioning in the classrooms calls for standing fans to be present in the event of a malfunction.
There are various schools in Duval County that house what the district calls a "portable city." These cities are clusters of 15 or more portable classrooms to accommodate for a growing school population with small or failing facilities. The schools above are spread across the district - from the Westside to the Beaches.
Elementary school at the Beaches
This elementary school by Jacksonville Beach has a sinking foundation. Latches in doors had to be drilled and tops of doors had to be cut down to compensate for the doors no longer fitting into the sinking frames. Full floors in classrooms are sloping, and buildings have had to be demolished for their instability.