Politics

Duval County Public Schools Launches “Read it Forward Jax”

Duval County Public Schools Launches “Read it Forward Jax”

Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) is proud to announce a comprehensive reading initiative aimed at raising the literacy rate of every student inside Duval County public schools. The “Read it Forward Jax” campaign will partner city, business, faith based and non-profit leaders throughout the community to share in helping teach Jacksonville’s children about the importance of reading.

Residents, Lawmakers Sound Off About Bill Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

Residents, Lawmakers Sound Off About Bill Requiring Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Governor Rick Scott signed a bill Tuesday that will require people who receive government assistance to take a drug test in order to receive benefits.

"The goal of this is to make sure the taxpayers aren't paying for someone to take illegal drugs," Scott said.

The law requires every person who applies for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program to pay for the drug test. If the test comes back negative, then the state will pick up the cost. If it's positive, the person loses benefits for one year.

"In some ways I think it's a good thing," agreed 36-year-old Jacksonville resident Casandra Greene.

Greene depends on public assistance to feed her eight children. She said she understands some people abuse the system and she hopes the law will make them think twice.

But Greene thinks it's too bad those people have to hurt parents like her who are trying to do right by their kids.

Gaffney Responds to Shad's $660,000 Field of Dreams

Gaffney Responds to Shad's $660,000 Field of Dreams

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A council member took us on a tour of a couple of parks in his district to highlight some of the problems here.

"It makes me feel sad," Councilmember Johnny Gaffney said.

Gaffney is reacting to our investigation, that showed a new $660,000 synthetic soccer field going in at Losco Regional Park. 

Last night, we featured his colleague, Council Member Art Shad talking about the new field that he championed, and not apologizing for the price.

"We didn't make this investment with the idea that we were going to save money," Shad told First Coast News.

Shad said people who have a problem with it should bring their concerns to their own council members who didn't deliver projects like this to their districts.  But, council member Gaffney said it's not that easy.

Scott Approval Rate Hits New Low

Scott Approval Rate Hits New Low

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott's approval rating has dropped to a new low, although he's been on the job for less than five months.

A poll released Wednesday shows Florida voters disapproved of the way Scott's been doing that job by a 57 percent to 29 percent margin.

The Quinnipiac University poll, though, shows the Republican governor has plenty of company. Voters rated the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature about the same. They disapproved of lawmakers' work 56 percent to 27 percent.

Scott and the Legislature each are down from 35 percent approval ratings they got in a similar poll released April 6. Pollsters called 1,196 registered voters on cell and land lines May 17 through 23. The poll has an error rate of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

New Soccer Field "Not Meant to Save You Money"

New Soccer Field "Not Meant to Save You Money"

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The state of the art, synthetic soccer field the city is building at Losco Regional Park is one-of-a-kind for Jacksonville. 

The plan was pioneered by Jacksonville City Council member Art Shad who said he was not trying to save money by using synthetic material on the field built in Mandarin. "We didn't make this investment with the idea that we were going to save money."

But Shad, as a councilman for the last eight years, has been  constantly battling the city's deficit. 

When asked about the expenditure in the face of the city's $60 million debt, he said, "every decision we make for spending money we have to weigh the pros and cons, and keep the overall budget in mind."

"Once again, we did not ever declare or claim this was going to save money."

Support Children's Health in Duval County, Keep PE in Our Schools

Support Children's Health in Duval County, Keep PE in Our Schools

On Wednesday, May 18, 2011, the Duval County Public School Board began making recommendations to Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals for the 2011-2012 budget. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association understands the school board is working with the best intentions and is in an unfortunate financial situation.

However, the American Heart Association is concerned increasing the class size in art, music, and PE would greatly reduce the quality of instruction.  In addition, it is possible afterschool sports and activities might be reduced or even eliminated and without afterschool transportation many students with working parents would be unable to participate. Students in the lowest family income brackets would be disproportionately impacted and we know these families are often vulnerable to both high rates of obesity and high dropout rates.

Alvin Brown Supporters Celebrate Impending Victory

Alvin Brown Supporters Celebrate Impending Victory

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- After watching the votes tally up in Alvin Brown's favor for hours, supporters and campaign staff celebrated the Democrat's impending victory right inside the Supervisor of Elections center.

"I'm happy to be a part of history. I'm happy to be a part of African American history, this city's history. This is a momentous, momentous occasion right now," said one campaign worker.

Through tears, supporters who have been with Brown from the start talked about what his victory meant to them. "We have a vision now to work towards, a vision to make Jacksonville the greatest city in Florida," said Travis Bridges, Duval County Democratic Chair.

And for people in Alvin Brown's corner, that mission begins tonight. 

"We're going to follow, and he's going to lead. We're so proud of Alvin Brown," said Bridges