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### Potential Closure of Westside High as Replacement Costs Soar, Students Possibly Transferring to Ed White

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – A proposition is being discussed to shut down approximately 30 Duval County Public Schools.

The school board is evaluating a plan that suggests consolidating schools to maintain full classrooms and reduce the need for expensive building upgrades.

This could potentially lead to rezoning for numerous students in Duval County.

A financial shortfall of $1.4 billion for construction and maintenance projects, supported by the half-cent sales tax, has prompted school officials to reconsider the district’s long-term strategies.

One Duval County resident, who preferred not to disclose her last name due to her husband’s profession as a teacher, expressed skepticism about the proposal.

Elaine commented, “Whenever change occurs, there is a period of adjustment. Some students may adapt while others may struggle.”

Among the schools facing closure is Westside High, currently serving around 1,600 students.

As per the proposal, the majority of students currently attending Westside would be reassigned to Ed White High, situated approximately three and a half miles north of Westside.

Initially, the district had planned to replace the outdated Westside High building at an estimated cost of $65 million. However, due to inflation, the projected expenses more than doubled.

Based on the district’s assessment, closing down Westside High instead of rebuilding it could result in savings of about $154 million. These funds, sourced from the half-cent sales tax, could then be redirected to modernize other schools such as Ed White High.

Elaine emphasized, “The school board faces a challenging decision. Nevertheless, it is their duty to ensure that our children receive the highest quality education in the best possible school environments.”

It is important to note that these school closures are currently in the proposal stage.

A spokesperson for DCPS mentioned that a districtwide engagement initiative will be rolled out soon, providing an opportunity for the community to voice their opinions on this matter. However, a specific timeline for this process was not disclosed.