Budget conference: Senate not budging on Jacksonville Classical Academy gym money
Ron DeSantis. Image via Facebook.

A Ron DeSantis ally seeks $5M for a charter school gym.

Legislators are still trying to resolve a sticking point on a $5 million allocation for expansion of the Jacksonville Classical Academy, a priority of Rep. Sam Garrison.

The House PreK-12 Appropriations Committee wants to fully fund the project. At this time, the same isn’t true on the Senate Education side, where Clay Yarborough carried the ask for the school once associated with conservative Hillsdale College.

The money would go to creating a 33,000 square foot gymnasium on campus that will create a new facility for class and locker rooms, according to Yarborough’s budget request.

Garrison’s request adds that the money would “construct a facility for sports activities, assemblies, theatre productions, and offices for P.E. and coaching staff. The school currently has no facility to carry out these activities.”

“The gym will provide our students a place to gather and engage in sports: basketball, volleyball. It will provide them a place to put on theatrical performances and productions. It will provide locker rooms for athletes playing soccer and cross country,” the Garrison request adds.

The charter school in Mixon Town, which is chaired by the politically influential John Rood, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas, has been a frequent stopping point for Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis spoke at the school in 2020, saying that it being open was proof schools should hold in-person classes, and blasted teachers unions for wanting more mitigation for the virus than he thought necessary. In 2021, he offered an overview of the Fiscal Year 2022-23 education budget, promising to “keep the momentum going” with a “lot of wins for students, families, and teachers.”

Yet the school DeSantis spoke at has changed in recent years, amid attrition of students, as reported by Jacksonville Today. The Hillsdale association is no more, and at least one classroom features a picture of Malcolm X, which would provide an interesting backdrop in the event the Governor returned to Mixon Town sometime in the next three years.

A.G. Gancarski

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


  • Special treatment and double dipping for charter schools

    February 27, 2024 at 8:48 pm

    Duval county already implemented the .05% sales tax for public school infrastructure as well as the 1 mil increase in property taxes for Duval county public schools, which are not subject to homestead exemptions and both which bring in millions. The governor and legislature have sold charter schools as under the umbrella of state supported public education. That means they should be subject to the same budgetary process, considerations, and constraints as all other schools funded by taxpayers and the state. There is already local funding and a process in place if this were truly a need. This is special treatment and double dipping and it’s garbage. More grifter welfare.

  • MH/Duuuval

    February 27, 2024 at 9:03 pm

    KIPP got two line-item grants totaling $2 million from the Legislature. It’s a different day and JCA needs $5 million.

    As charter schools, they already get their fair share from the DCS budget, but the MAGA elite want them to have more — but nothing extra for traditional neighborhood schools.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say the MAGAs are attempting to rig the playing field.

Comments are closed.


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