Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Potential Renaming of Schools
What is the School Board policy regarding the renaming of schools?
Board Policy 8.59 - Naming or Renaming Schools, authorizes the School Board to rename schools and outlines the requirements for renaming. To view the policy, please visit the link below.
Has the district decided to rename the nine (9) schools currently engaged in the potential school renaming process?
No decision has been made regarding the renaming of any of the nine (9) schools currently engaged in the potential renaming process. Once the potential school renaming process is initiated, the district must proceed with established procedures, which include soliciting community input, evaluating the input, a recommendation from the Superintendent, and finally a public vote by the School Board.
How did this process for potentially renaming schools begin?
Under the provisions of Board Policy 8.59 - Naming or Renaming Schools, the Superintendent, any School Board member, or an initiating entity may submit a written request to the School Board during a regular Board meeting, requesting the Board rename an existing school.
On June 16, 2020, Board Member Warren Jones submitted a written request to initiate the renaming process for the following schools:
- Joseph Finegan Elementary School
- Stonewall Jackson Elementary School
- Jefferson Davis Middle School
- Kirby-Smith Middle School
- J.E.B. Stuart Middle School
- Robert E. Lee High School
The item passed with a vote of 7-0 by the Duval County School Board in favor of initiating the process.
On August 4, 2020, Former Board Member Ashley-Smith-Juarez submitted a written request to initiate the renaming process for the following schools:
- Andrew Jackson High School
- Jean Ribault High School
- Jean Ribault Middle School
The item passed with a vote of 6-1 by the Duval County School Board in favor of initiating the process.
How can the community be involved in this process?
Community members are encouraged to attend public meetings where the school renaming process will be discussed. Any member of the public may comment or simply listen at community engagement sessions held by each school engaged in the potential school renaming process. Elementary and middle schools will hold a minimum of (3) three community engagement sessions. High schools will hold 3-5 community engagement sessions. Name suggestions may be submitted at the community engagement sessions.
Community members may also attend the regular meetings of the School Board and School Advisory Council (SAC) and provide comment during the Public Comment portion of the agenda.
Who is eligible to vote?
The following stakeholders of the school may vote in the school renaming process:
- Members of the school’s faculty and staff who are employed by DCPS
- School Advisory Council (SAC)
- Members of the Parent Teacher Association or Parent Teacher Student Association (PTA/PTSA)
- Community members within the school’s attendance zone, and former attendance zone for current Magnet schools
- Alumni of the school, regardless of graduation status
How do I verify my membership?
Stakeholders will be required to present photo identification and, in some cases, additional verification, to prove membership within the groups outlined above. In the event that the individual’s name does match records, proof of a name change is required.
Community members within the school’s attendance zone (or former attendance zone for Magnet schools) will be required to show a photo identification card with an eligible address on the card, or an accompanying piece of mail addressed to the name on the identification card.
Alumni will be required to present photo identification. In the event that the individual’s name does match records, proof of a name change is required.
What if I cannot prove my membership at the time of voting?
School and district staff will be able to assist stakeholders with membership verification. School staff will be able to verify membership for students, faculty/staff, PTA, and alumni from records provided to the school for this purpose. Alumni records prior to 1986 may require verification from district staff.
Additionally, alumni are permitted to prove verification through former school records such as yearbooks, diplomas, transcripts, report cards, etc. If any stakeholder is unable to provide verification of their membership at the time of voting or to have their verification validated by school staff, they will be able to complete a provisional ballot and have an opportunity to provide documentation to verify their membership within the ten (10) day voting period. If membership is verified within the ten (10) day voting period, the provisional ballot will be counted.
If you are an eligible stakeholder but cannot establish membership, we urge you to come to the school to cast a ballot and staff will work to verify membership. Please be aware that name change documentation will still be required to be presented by the voter.
When will stakeholders have the opportunity to vote?
Voters will be allowed to cast their ballots at each of the nine (9) schools for a period of ten (10) school days. The polls will be open between 10:00 am and 6:30 pm. A detailed schedule for each of the nine (9) schools can be found below. Ballots are specific to the school location in which you choose to vote.
Who is managing the voting process?
The District is collaborating with the Duval County Supervisor of Elections’ office in managing the voting process. The Supervisor of Elections office is providing poll workers at each of the schools to assist with voting, including being in charge of ballot security and tabulating the ballots.
Does the community voting process decide if the school’s name will be changed?
No. The voting process is part of the community input process. Your vote will be used to generate aggregated data from your stakeholder group(s). The formal results for each school will be submitted to the Superintendent for her review. The Superintendent will review and analyze all of the community input and submit her recommendation to the School Board for consideration.
Who makes the final decision on keeping or changing the name of the school?
The School Board will vote on the final decisions regarding school renaming. Based on the Superintendent’s recommendation, the Board, at a public meeting, may vote to keep the name of a school, change the name of a school, or request another name be proposed for consideration.
What is the total cost to the district to rename nine (9) schools?
The exact expense will vary based on factors included in the specific renaming. A reasonable estimate is $32,000 per elementary school and $287,000 per secondary school. Sales-surtax funding generated by the half-penny referendum will not be used to pay for any related costs if the Board decides to change the name of the school.