Jacksonville City Council deadlocks on issue of electing schools superintendent
Jacksonville City Hall.

Jax City Hall
A win for Mayor Curry, Rep. Fischer.

On Tuesday, the Jacksonville City Council failed to pass a bill opposing a local bill carried by a state legislator that could lead to an elected Duval County School Superintendent.

The vote was 9-9 with one member absent.

This clears the way for potential major changes in how Jacksonville’s schools will be administered.

State Rep. Jason Fischer is pushing legislation that would begin a process that could lead to an elected Duval County School Superintendent.

If the local bill passes, Duval voters in November 2020 would be able to vote on whether they want an elected Superintendent, setting up a potential 2022 election to select a replacement for a position appointed for decades.

To that end, Councilman Matt Carlucci filed a resolution to oppose Fischer’s bill.

Carlucci’s bill, deferred previously, proved controversial, ahead of a Duval County Legislative Delegation vote on whether to advance the local bill.

In a conversation late last week in his office in Tallahassee, Fischer discussed the twists and turns of the local bill process, insisting that the Legislature alone has the power to make law on this issue.

And in that context, a City Council resolution to support or oppose his proposal would have made no difference.

“They have no force of law. That’s a statement by them,” Fischer said. “Their opinions are interesting.”

Council members, of course, had their opinions. Many of them agreed with Fischer, a reliable ally of Mayor Lenny Curry.

Councilman Rory Diamond made a failed push for withdrawal, saying there was no use for fighting “over something that is contentious.”

Diamond urged resolutions that were 19-0, honoring winning football teams and the such.

Councilwoman Randy DeFoor said the Fischer bill was “political,” designed to punish the Superintendent.

“It’s incumbent upon us to be the adults in the room and stand up and say this is not good for us,” DeFoor said.

Councilman Sam Newby shivved Fischer, noting that he was on the School Board for four years.

“This never came up,” Newby said, urging for an up or down vote.

Carlucci, sounding dismayed, noted his surprise with the push for withdrawal of his bill.

“I’ve been on Council for four terms, and this never happened,” Carlucci said. “I’ve been cut off at the knees.”

However, his knees were cut off not by withdrawal, but by the vote that leaves Council silent on a major change to the charter, with the first step poised to clear the House easily in 2020.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


4 comments

  • ANN G

    October 22, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    Where can I find the roll call of how each CM voted?

  • Frankie M.

    October 22, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    Interesting that all the stooges for Curry voted against the resolution and anybody with any sort of experience working in public education voted in its favor. I guess symbolic votes while meaningless are still important to Lenny. What a competitor!

    Do you know if Fischer will be at his fundraiser tomorrow? Or will he be sending proxies to collect charter school checks? I know Tallahassee is in another time zone and all but Henry Ford popularized this thing called the automobile. Jason should look into it. Dude was useless on the school board and he’s even more useless 2 hours down the road. The only constituents he reps are C&C…not the music factory curry & chartrand.

  • Seber Newsome III

    October 23, 2019 at 9:15 am

    The school superintendent should be elected by the voters of Jacksonville!!!! I understand that this will limit the number of candidates, but, with a population as large as Jacksonville, I think someone can be found. A local superintendent from our area is needed, because they would understand the feelings of the community. An example, is how the current superintendent suspended a teacher because he wanted his students to stand for the National Anthem. That teacher is still suspended and its been 2 months. This is a military town. When and if the half cent sales tax for the schools is on the ballot, it will not pass. You disrespect the military and you will lose. remember what happened the Shad Khan and. his Jaguars, after they took a knee. Attendance was way down. So, let the people vote for a local school superintendent, rather than importing someone.

  • Sonja Emily Fitch

    October 23, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    THE ISSUE IS THIS IS JUST ANOTHER PLOY BY LOTTING LENNY TO GET EVERY DAMN PUBLIC DOLLAR FOR HIS FRIENDS HE CAN….LOOTING LENNY IS A LOUSY MAYOR. INFRA STRUCTURE IS OLD AND WORN OUT…..BUT LOOTING LENNY GOT HIS PAWS IN JEA AND THE SCHOOLS. GET OUT LOOTING LENNY. YOUR MENTOR, EVIL MOSCOW BITCH TRUMP WILL WELCOME YOU.

Comments are closed.


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