from the editor

We're in the Endgame Now

Are we too late to save Duval County Public Schools?


Six months ago, in a series of widely ignored New Year editorials, I predicted that 2019 would be make-or-break for public education in Duval County. And—lo!—it has come to pass. Now, I draw no satisfaction from this admittedly easy feat of clairvoyance. First, because I didn’t put money on it; second, because it’s tending toward “break,” and as a former union teacher—indeed, as a responsible citizen who values equality and accountability—I support the public schools that are suffering at the hands of a relentless state-sponsored charter-school lobby.

How did we get to this point? Mostly because a scandalously miniscule plurality voted to re-elect Lenny Curry in March. This “victory” validated the mayor’s cloying schoolyard Machiavellianism (his Twitter feed should be prescribed as an emetic) and empowered his corrupt crony administration. Blame the local Democrats, who didn’t field a mayoral candidate. Blame Curry’s opponent, Anna Lopez Brosche, who didn’t “play the game” (code-speak for hiring the necessary shills—I know, dumb game). Blame whoever you want, but we’re all about to lose our free, equal, accountable, secular and civic-minded school system.

Let me count the ways. City Hall is stonewalling the school board’s proposed infrastructure-tax referendum, using every rhetorical fallacy in the book to smear basic school building maintenance as tax-and-spend profligacy.

Then there’s the existential threat posed by the Charter Review Commission. City Council President Aaron Bowman has stacked the incoming advisory body with so-called “school choice” advocates—more commonly known as charter-school lobbyists. Enter Scott Shine. Again. The former school board member withdrew from his re-election campaign last year and openly criticized his erstwhile colleagues. It worked! His nomination to the CRC proves that it’s easier to be politically appointed than popularly elected. Now, in his new position, Shine will most certainly recommend school board “reform.” You see, his dream school board is all-appointed, all the time. Corrupt politicians hand-picking board members? What could go wrong?

In the meantime, for-profit education-industry mountebanks continue to siphon funds from the schools that need them the most. Teach For America is attempting to sell an army of young, untrained sightseers to address the next school year’s projected teacher shortfall. Whatever money such programs receive is disbursed at the expense of public schools statewide. And, without funds, the “failing” public schools cliché becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As Doctor Strange told his fellow Avengers in the final moments of Infinity War, “We’re in the endgame now.” (Aye, I like to think of myself as the Stephen Strange of the local media ecosystem. I was introduced in the storyline relatively recently. I came from another dimension: South Florida by way of Brussels and Detroit. And that collar ...) In the film, Strange delivered the line after metaphysically surveying some 14 million potential future scenarios and realizing that the good guys triumph in only one of them. Our villains are less powerful and less flashy. And the stakes are admittedly less dramatic. (Thanos dusted half of all the universe’s living things.) That said, a healthy public school system is important to any democratic society in general and, with its history of corruption and uneven development, consolidated Duval County in particular.


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The video link does NOT show who raised their hands.

I put the clip of the vote on YouTube.

Here is the link:

This was an important vote. Please ask the city council members how they voted on the vote to defer the vote on 2019-353, i.e. the appointment of Scott Shine to the CRC.

I was at the meeting and I thought I saw these people's hands go up to defer the vote on Scott Shine:

Boyer, Dennis, Hazouri, Anderson,White,Pittman,Gaffney, Cresimbeni.

That's 8. If that is accurate, then the vote on 2019-353 should have been deferred.

If I correctly saw the hands, then these people voted NOT to defer: Becton, Ferraro, Freeman, Love, Newby, Schellenberg, Wilson

Absent: Aaron Bowman, Bill Gulliford, Joyce Morgan, Anna Lopez Brosche

As the article notes, Scott Shine lost his last attempt to be a school board member. But he was a member previously. Someone sent me the below information.

Please let me know if it is accurate:

These were all of the meetings Scott Shine missed from April 2017 to when his term ended and the meetings that included missed votes.

He also collected his paycheck from the taxpayer during this time.

Scott Shine (All Pulled from the Public Records Online) at

From April 2017 --Missed meetings

April 27 budget meeting Vote

May 9 Budget meeting

May 10 Student Expulsion Hearing Vote

August 23 board development

Sept 6 Board development

Sept 6 Budget Board Meeting Vote

October 2 Strategic plan

October 11 Student Expulsion Hearing Vote

October 30 Board Development/ Superintendent Search

Nov. 8 Student Expulsion Hearing Vote

Nov 15 Policy sub committee

Nov. 21 Agenda review

Dec 12 Draft agenda review

Dec 13 Student Expulsion Hearing Vote


January 9 Workshop

Jan. 17 Policy Sub-committee

Feb 13 Superintendent Profile and Chapter 2 policy review

Feb 20 Superintendent Search Services Vote

Feb 28 Superintendent Search Firm Contract Vote

March 15 Draft agenda

April 11 Student expulsion Hearing Vote

April 23 budget meeting

April 26 litigation shade Vote

April 26 Focus group meetings Superintendent Search

May 8 Audit Committee / workshop School Safety

May 8 Superintendent Search Firm Contract Vote

May 9 Student Expulsion Hearing Vote

May 14 Final Order Vote

May 15 Agenda Review

May 16 Superintendent Candidate Interview

May 17 Superintendent Candidate Interview

May 18 Superintendent Candidate Interview

May 23 Policy Handbook Review

June 11 Joint Planning with City Planning Commission Members

June 12 Budget workshop

June 19 Draft agenda

July 10 Medical Marijuana Policy

July 24 Draft agenda and Internal Auditor

July 24 TRIM notice Hearing (State Statute required) Vote

July 31 Tentative Millage and Budget (State Statute required) Vote

*August 7 Regular Board Meeting Vote

August 14 Workshop School Security

August 15 Student Expulsion Hearing Vote

August 21 Draft agenda and select Civil Service Board Vote

*September 10 Regular Board Meeting Vote

September 11 Workshop financial dashboard

September 12 Student Expulsion Hearing Vote

September 18 Board Workshop agenda review

September 19 Policy Subcommittee

*October 2 Regular Board Meeting Vote

October 5 Strategic Plan / Board Retreat

October 16 Draft Agenda

November 13 Internal Auditor selection

November 14 Policy Subcommittee

November 19 Draft Agenda

Wednesday, June 19, 2019|Report this


Did any council member want the referendum on the November 2019 ballot?

I have heard that repairs are needed now. I wonder if parents will blame the city council for not putting the referendum on the November 2019 ballot. The people wanted to fund the repairs. Is there any salvation? Can the new city council vote in July to put it on a November 2019 ballot? I heard the city attorney Durden say early voting isn’t possible now that the city council deferred the vote from June to July but the city council can allow the November 2019 precinct election.

Is it the charter school lobbyists that are keeping the referendum off the November 2019 ballot? Money grabbing charter school lobbyists want to destroy the public schools?

Quote from article:

I support the public schools that are suffering at the hands of a relentless state-sponsored charter-school lobby.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019|Report this

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