On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed a charter school executive to the board of Florida State College Jacksonville.
Executive Director of KIPP Jacksonville Charter Schools Jennifer Brown will serve a four-year term. Brown, a veteran of the Iraq War, has a doctorate in educational leadership from Vanderbilt.
She also is politically-connected: She offered remarks at this month’s re-inauguration of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
KIPP’s Gary Chartrand and John Baker are among the most significant players in this part of the state in big-dollar GOP establishment politics.
The pick comes at a time when Jacksonville’s elected School Board has jousted with Curry, over a proposed referendum for a new tax for public school infrastructure.
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.
Curry, like KIPP’s Chartrand, does not want a 2019 election.
2. and does not negatively impact our county's debt worthiness. The Superintendent and Board Chair explained documents reflecting these concerns may be available in Sept or Oct. Any action for the 2020 ballot prior to then is not something I would support.
— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) July 15, 2019
Part of Curry’s discomfort with the proposed 2019 tax referendum has been that charter cut.
The appointment comes on the same day the First Lady was in Jacksonville with Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, no fan of the tax referendum himself.
“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.”
“I’ve been on record: You can teach Plato under a tree,” Corcoran said. “That’s what I say all the time.”
The Governor is passionate about charters also, saying that educating children through charter schools is actually less expensive per capita than the public school system, “sometimes by many thousands of dollars … doing a lot with less.”