You don’t need the six degrees of Kevin Bacon to trace the connection between the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, the Jacksonville Civic Council, the Florida State Board of Education, and for that matter, the KIPP charter schools in the city.
That would be Gary Chartrand, the businessman who owns and operates Acosta, Inc. although the annual report only lists him as a director.
Mr. Chartand also chairs the Education Task Force for the Jacksonville Civic Council (JCC). Scroll down the webpage to see the listing.
Mr. Chartrand is also a former member of the State Board of Education, of which he was chair for a few years (2012 – 2015, to the best ability of GOT to piece together information from internet searches.)
Mr. Chartrand is also a founding member of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, whose purpose is to support and promote public education in Jacksonville, a category in which they include charter schools.
JPEF is also listed as a partner of the JCC. Again, you may need to scroll to see the listing.
A long preamble, but necessary. Let us turn to the half-cent sales tax proposed by the Duval County Public Schools to fund renovation, reconstruction, and consolidation of the public schools they operate.
After the consulting firm delivered the master plan to the school board, they began a series of community meetings to share it and floated the idea of an additional half-cent sales tax to fund it. Currently, the school board has a website to explain the plan and answer questions about it.
Push back began immediately. Jacksonville’s mayor, Lenny Curry, and his General Counsel’s office, who under the city charter adopted during the county-city consolidation years ago, is able to issue opinions by fiat that bind all city officers and agencies, including the school board, put up roadblocks.
Mayor Curry questioned the cost of a special election, a theme picked up by many councilman, including an influential councilman, Matt Schellenberg.
Then the JCC weighed in. They sent a letter to the school board, under the signature of the task force chair, that disputed the need for an additional tax. They criticized the school district’s plan to construct new schools to high building standards. They expressed the belief that schools should only be built to a lower standard, that of charter schools.
But those standards would be substandard and would not be suitable for schools to serve as emergency storm shelters. Pshaw, says the JCC to brush off the argument.
And everyone’s an atheist until they find themselves in a foxhole with bombs exploding around them.
JCC does not want an election and they do not want the additional half-cent sales tax.
Might this be the reason? That their partner, THE JACKSONVILLE PUBLIC EDCUATION FUND, found via its annual survey of the public, that 78.5% of the public would support a small tax increase to fund school facilities!
Oh yes, if a tax ever gets on the ballot, it will be overwhelmingly passed–something Jacksonville’s movers and shakers, the wealthy and elite, and those deriving power from them, cannot have.
Why, with decent facilities, public schools might deliver an outstanding experience so superior to the charters that the charters would tuck tail and get out of the city–something the elite is determined to prevent.