Politics

Lawsuit Filed Over Police & Fire Pension Fund

Lawsuit Filed Over Police & Fire Pension Fund

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A lawsuit claims the City of Jacksonville is in violation of Florida's Sunshine laws.

The suit, filed by the Concerned Taxpayers of Duval County claims that both the city and the Police and Fire Pension Fund held collective bargaining talks in secret, negotiating retirement benefits on behalf of the Fund illegally for ten years.

City Attorney Steve Rohan responded, "It's a remarkable lawsuit.
We respect the concerned taxpayers and appreciate their interest in local government. As soon as we get a copy of the lawsuit we'll address it. We're sorry that we have to be in litigation with them."

TO VIEW THE LAWSUIT CLICK HERE

Transportation Cuts for 5,000 DCPS Students in the Works

Transportation Cuts for 5,000 DCPS Students in the Works

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Within four years, Duval County Public Schools are considering cutting transportation to all secondary Magnet schools.

Parents of the first 5,000 students affected say it's not fair to working parents.

One of those parents is single mom, Charlene West.

"He's a good student because I made sure he went to good schools that were going to teach him," West says of her son, A.J. Mitchell. "I, as a parent, did my part by making sure he did his homework and learned what he was supposed to learn."

Every day after school, Mitchell rides the bus home from Stanton.

While he waits for his single mother Charlene West to get home from work, he does the dishes and his homework.

Stanton is one of the seven Magnet schools potentially losing transportation.

According to a letter sent home with students, James Weldon Johnson, Landon, Darnell-Cookman, Kirby Smith, Lavilla, and Paxon are also on the list.

JPEF Releases Report on Reading Proficiency in Duval County

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund released a study on the reading proficiency of a cohort of more than 10,000 students over the past ten years Sunday, seeking to investigate the academic trajectories of students based on their third grade reading level.

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.

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.

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.