No ‘Taj Mahals’: School tax debate separates Richard Corcoran, Duval Superintendent

Diana Greene and Richard Corcoran
Superintendent Diana Greene rejected Corcoran's line of reasoning.

First Lady Casey DeSantis, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and Duval Schools Superintendent Diana Greene visited a Jacksonville public school Monday to spotlight mental health services.

The timing was interesting.

Right now, Duval County Schools are central to Jacksonville news, with the District and City Hall trying to hammer out the timing of a sales tax referendum.

The School Board wants a November 2019 vote. Two Jacksonville City Council committees will decide Tuesday whether to put the tax proposal on the ballot.

The half-cent sales tax would fund, in part, a 10-year, $1.9 billion capital program. Many counties have seen school boards approve taxes for capital needs, moving them to the ballot without incident.

With the scheduling of a vote (and if it will happen at all) still up in the air, Florida Politics asked Corcoran on Monday if he supported the referendum.

Corcoran is not sold on the performance of Duval County Schools in terms of certain turnaround schools. In that context, we asked Monday if Corcoran approved of the proposal.

The Commissioner does not seem to back the school tax as proposed.

“I’ve been on record: You can teach Plato under a tree,” Corcoran said. “That’s what I say all the time.”

Regarding the capital tax question, Corcoran suggested the money would be better spent on operating expenses.

“Every single resource that any local entity has should be going into the classroom. Quality teachers,” Corcoran said. “That’s what’s going to change the outcomes for these students.”

Regarding the referendum, “it’s not going to change” those outcomes, Corcoran predicted.

“You can put every single one of those kids in a ‘Taj Mahal’ and he’s not going to suddenly go from a poor student to a great student,” Corcoran said. “I’ve been very vocal in my opposition to two billion dollars to build new ‘Taj Mahals.’ That’s not a solution.”

Greene was unpersuaded by Corcoran’s dismissal of the tax push.

“We’re not looking at ‘Taj Mahal’ structures,” Greene said, noting that Duval has the oldest facilities in the state, some dating back a century “that need massive repairs.”

The Jacksonville City Council may move on this Tuesday, passing it out of both committees of reference and setting up a floor vote next week. But it won’t be with the Education Commissioner’s seal of approval.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Frankie M.

    July 15, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Wow Dick Corcoran sounds like a little bitch! Chronically underfunding public schools at the state level while pumping loads of $$ to his wife’s school. Can you spell hypocrite?

    I didn’t catch which publicly funded private school Dick & Casey were at today? Because 9 times out of 10 they do these pressers from a crony’s charter school. I wonder if Dick has ever been to the hood? I wonder if Dick has been to moldy portables with broken AC units being held up with wooden beams? You think Plato would wanna teach in that shit? That’s why Plato i.e., TFA(another measure Dick & his buddies love) leave in droves every year. Plato would rather teach outside if given the choice. Keep doublin down Dick.

    Cause bitches get stitches.

    • Michael Davis

      July 17, 2019 at 10:50 am

      I don’t know much or care much about this man. Nor do I know his history. I do agree that building new schools and refurbishing old ones isn’t going to make kids smarter. What they need to do is increase teacher salaries? This would potentially bring in better teachers which will help children learn. What they pay teachers is a joke. Especially considering the number of extra hours teachers work and the amount of their own money they use to provide for their students. My wife is a teacher and a highly effective one. Teachers get raises based on performance. The issue with that is no one can tell you the formula they use to calculate their pay. The other issue is Principals just about never give a teacher “highly effective”. To get highly effective you have to be involved in a load of extra activities that go above and beyond your contractual agreement. It’s a joke. Teachers in Duval should strike and sue the school board. So if you want to increase the sales tax……do it so teachers can get paid. What happened to all the lottery money that was supposed to go to schools? Where is that at State of Florida?

  • Frankie M.

    July 15, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Dick was at First Coast HS. Dude doesn’t even know where he is. Probably thought he was preaching to the choir at one of those 9 charter schools in Mandarin. Maybe he should be on that Alzheimer’s committee?

  • Hampshire

    July 16, 2019 at 8:35 am

    There are some underlying issues here that we cannot overlook or dismiss. The Commissioner of education is on a mission and it’s not to save Duval County schools or it’s superintendent. What a despicable, sad state of times we’re in right now.

  • Michael Addison

    July 16, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Why didn’t the commissioner go to one of the inner city schools instead of one of the most recently built schools. Those inner city schools are mostly attended by black students and the desire to improve their lot is not a concern by the commissioner. These efforts to deny funding is a continuation of the racist policies that have been so effective in Duval County.

    Let’s see how well the commissioner can run his office from under a tree. I was in one of those inner city schools for three years as teacher and had to put my feet up in a chair after the students left and the mice came out to play.

Comments are closed.


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